Asian recipes/ Beef/ Curry/ Dinner

Thai Penang Beef & Aubergine Curry

11 September 2020

This curry originates from Penang, and island just off the west coast of Malaysia. The population is a melting pot of Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and Indonesian and a few Thais and Vietnamese along the way as well. So the food is an amazing melting pot as well! I remember when we traveled to Georgetown, the capital of Penang, about a year ago I couldn’t wait to make some of the dishes myself when we got back. Hence this Thai / Malay curry: if we can’t travel anymore because of the pandemic, at least we can eat the food of the world. 

The recipe is from @rasamalaysia, she has some amazing Asian dishes on her site. I adjusted the recipe slightly by using less beef and replacing it with fried aubergine, great combination if I say so myself ;-).

I always love making my own curry pastes, tastes so much more authentic in the end and great to know exactly what you’re eating. Also by making your own curry pastes more often you start understanding flavours and recipes better. All you need is a few staple ingredients in your pantry, fridge or freezer.

Thai Penang Beef & Aubergine Curry

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
Dinner Asian, Thais
By Saffron & Rasa Malaysia Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes

An authentic Malaysian curry fried in luscious coconut cream sauce.


  • 300 g beef, sliced into about 1 cm thick cubes
  • 1 small aubergine
  • 5 tablespoons oil
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, thinly shredded
  • 1 can coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Salt or fish sauce to taste
  • Squeeze of lime juice (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cm galangal, chopped
  • 1 lemongrass, tough outer leaved removed, cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 1 tablespoon koriander stems or roots
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste/ Belacan



In a mixer blend all the spice ingredients into a smooth paste.


Cut the aubergine into large 3-4 cm cubes.


Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a large heavy based pan or wok and add the aubergines. Fry on all sides until nice and browned, ± 5-6 minutes total. Remove from the pan and set aside.


In the same pan heat up 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and add the lime leaves, stir-frying for 30 seconds.


Add the spice paste and continue to stir-fry on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.


Turn the heat down to medium and continue stir-frying until the oil slightly separates.


Add the beef to the spice mix in and cook for 2 minutes, browning on all sides.


Mix in the coconut cream and let it bubble for 1-2 minutes.


Add in the palm sugar, fish sauce, stir well. Add back the aubergines and cover the pan.


Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes until the meat is nice and tender and thoroughly cooked.


Taste the sauce and season with fish sauce and sugar to taste. To zing it up even more squeeze over some fresh lime juice.


If you prefer the curry a bit saucier add a dash of water until your desired texture.


Serve with hot steamed jasmine rice.

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  • Reply
    Jerry Mayle
    9 January 2021 at 08:06

    Good recipe Saffron. Though I simmered the meat for 2.5 hours on a very low heat and added the aubergine for the last hour and used ginger rather than galangal. . I will be trying more of your recipes (nice webpage, btw).

    100% with you on making your own curry pastes (and massalas).

    • Reply
      9 January 2021 at 09:48

      Hi Jerry, thanks for your message! Do you use a slowcooker then? Or just n a very low heat on the stove? I guess it also depends on the cut of meat, but I agree with you, slow cooking is always best! I’ll try that next time around for this dish as well!

  • Reply
    Di Dolby
    2 September 2022 at 15:58

    Hi I
    This looks amazing but where is the aubergine? It is missing from the ingredients list. Many thanks Di

    • Reply
      3 September 2022 at 12:06

      You’re totally right! I just added it into the recipe, thanks for pointing it out!

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