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A bowl of Burmese beef curry with potatoes

Burmese Beef Curry with Potatoes

This cozy and comforting recipe for Burmese Beef Curry with Potatoes hails from Burma Superstar restaurant in San Francisco. Chunks of beef are slow-cooked in a myriad of spices before finishing with hearty potatoes, and fresh cilantro.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Resting Time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Burmese, Southeast Asian
Servings 4 servings (6 as part of a larger meal)
Calories 1006 kcal


  • 2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (you can probably get away with using a bit less)
  • 1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced lengthwise into slabs
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup minced garlic
  • 1 to 3 thinly sliced Thai chiles or 2 small dried chiles (use 1 for a slightly milder curry--3 will be quite spicy)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes (about 4), cubed
  • Spoonful of plain whole milk or Greek yogurt (optional)
  • 1 cup cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • 1 lime or lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish


  • Trim away the sinew from the beef and cut the meat into 1/2-to-1-inch cubes. Transfer to a bowl and use your hands to mix with the paprika, turmeric, and salt. Let the beef marinate at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients, or refrigerate overnight.
  • In a 6-quart pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and cook until the edges become slightly browned, 2 minutes. Stir in the lemongrass and cook until slightly softened, 2 minutes.
  • Add the onions, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring often to keep the onions from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the garlic, chiles, and bay leaves. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until most of the water from the onions has been cooked out and a glossy layer of oil has risen to the surface, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the beef and fish sauce and stir to coat. Pour in the water. Increase the heat, bring to a boil, then lower to a gentle simmer (at this point I highly suggest taking a few minutes to skim the impurities and some of the excess oil from the surface–there was a lot of scum on mine). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is beginning to become tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Stir in the curry powder, garam masala, and potatoes. Pour in more water if the curry looks thick. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes more.
  • Ideally, let the curry sit for at least 20 minutes before serving to allow the beef to soak in the curry flavor as it cools. Bring to a simmer before serving, and taste, adding more salt or fish sauce if desired. Stir in the yogurt. Serve with bowls of cilantro and lime wedges at the table.

Notes & Nutrition

You may swap out the beef for lamb if you prefer to make a lamb curry instead.
Recipe from Burma Superstar
Servings 4.0 * calories 1006 * Total Fat 64 g * Saturated Fat 19 g * Monounsaturated Fat 11 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 6 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 188 mg * Sodium 2310 mg * Potassium 898 mg * Total Carbohydrate 57 g * Dietary Fiber 6 g * Sugars 7 g * Protein 59 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*