Beef Stew (Indian Style)

This beef stew is a Eid specialty and also often used to be a main item for daawats (events) at our home back in India.

This stew has a dry but rich consistency. It is heavy on onion, which gives it a subtle sweetness. The sweetness is balanced with spiciness from dried red chilies and green chilies. Ginger adds a zesty dimension, whereas spices like cardamom and garam masala flavors the meat deeply.

What’s special about this stew?

Beef stew has been a speciality item both at mine as well as my husband’s home. Our mothers used to make it in a similar way but had slight variations in their recipes. This recipe is a cross between my mother’s and mother-in-law’s recipes. So it’s safe to say that it has the best of both worlds.

It used to be one of the main items for Eid as well as any special events back at home. It pairs very well with naan as well as chapati. I always include it on my Eid menu to continue this tradition. It always brings back so many memories for me and for my husband.

Is this freezer safe?

Since the stew takes a long time to cook, it’s a great idea to make a bigger batch and freeze some of it. You can freeze this stew in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Can I cook it using a pressure cooker or Instant pot?

Yes, you can. It will reduce the meat cooking time by almost half. Check notes below the recipe to read instructions for pressure cooker and instant pot.

Ingredients at a glance

Please Note:

  • It is recommended to use bone in beef as the bones release juices which makes the stew more flavorful.
  • Use home made garam masala for best results, or buy a good quality one. It is an essential ingredient in the recipe and the taste could be altered depending on the kind of garam masala you are using.

Beef Stew (Indian Style)

A dry but rich, onion based stew with beef served at Eid and special events.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Pressure Cooker Cooking Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 persons


  • 6 big (600 grams) Onion
  • 1 piece (5 cm) fresh ginger
  • 2-5 spicy green chilies (adjust to preferred spice level)
  • ½ cup ghee (substitute: olive oil)
  • 1 kg beef (preferably with bones)
  • 3 tsp ginger-garlic paste (or 1½ tsp of each ginger and garlic paste)
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 3 dried red chilies (adjust to preferred spice level)
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri red chili powder (or red chili powder)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala (preferably homemade)
  • ½ cup greek yogurt (for paleo/Whole30 use non-dairy yogurt)
  • tsp salt


  • Peel the onions, and cut in half. Thinly slice all the onions.
    Tip: To avoid tears, keep the root intact while slicing the onion.
  • Peel the ginger by scratching it with a knife of a spoon. Cut in thin slices then make fine juliennes. Slice the green chilies.
  • Put a big pot on medium heat and add ghee/oil. Once the ghee/oil is hot, add the sliced onion. Stir and fry until the onion just starts to get brown. It will take around 7-8 minutes on medium heat.
  • Once the onion just start to brown, take out half of them from the pot and reserve for adding later. Fry the remaining half until it gets brown through. Keep stirring to ensure even heat.
  • Once the onion turns brown, add the beef, ginger-garlic paste, black cardamom, green cardamom, dried red chilies, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, yogurt and salt. Mix everything well to coat the meat evenly with the spices.
  • Turn the heat to medium low and cover with a good fitting lid. Let it cook for 1 hour or until the meat is tender. (Do not overcook)
  • Once the meat is tender, uncover and turn the heat to high. Add the reserved fried onion, ginger juliennes and chopped green chilies. Stir and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. (This will take about 8-10 minutes). Keep stirring from time to time to avoid burning. If the stew starts to stick at the bottom, reduce the heat and continue cooking.
  • The color of the stew will get darker with cooking. Once all the liquid has gone, turn off heat. Serve with naan or chapati.(For paleo/Whole30 serve with cauliflower rice).


If using pressure cooker: In step 6, seal the lid and cook on low heat for 35-40 minutes until the meat is tender. The other steps remain the same.
If using Instant pot: Follow steps 3-5 on saute mode (high). In step 6, put on lid and turn to pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. Quick release and check if the meat is tender. Otherwise cook for a few minutes longer. Follow the remaining steps on saute mode. It might take longer for the liquid to dry in the instant pot as the saute mode is comparatively milder than the stove heat.
Keyword Beef stew, beef stew recipe, Eid recipe, Eid speciality, Indian Beef Stew, Indian Stew

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