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Sri Lankan Beef Kottu

Cooking Method , ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 45 min Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Servings 3

Kottu is my absolute favorite Sri Lankan street food. And I love making it at home. Don't let the long list of ingredients overwhelm you! It's much easier to make and I'm going to guide you through all the steps. 

    Make the curry
  • 1 pound Beef cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green chili splitted in half
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced/grated or finely chopped ginger
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 1/3 of a pandan leaf broken into pieces
  • 3 cardomom pods (crushed to open the pod)
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 piece of cinnamon stick about 3 inches long
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon Sri Lankan unroasted curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (use a chili powder of your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil/canola oil/vegetable oil/avocado oil
  • 1 cup water
  • To make the kottu
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1/3 of a pandan leaf broken
  • 2/3 cups julianned carrot
  • 3 pinches salt
  • 1 cup shredded beef from the beef curry you're making now
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion
  • 2/3 cups sliced leeks (both tender green part and white park are okay)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 pound frozen ceylon parata (usually one box = 1 lb)
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce (my secret ingredient!)
  • 2/3 cups beef curry from the curry you're making now (just the liquid)* (adjust to your liking)
    Make the Beef Curry
  1. Into your pressure cooker (can use an instant pot) add all the curry ingredients listed, except water. Which are beef cubes, onion, green chili, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, pandan leaves, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, cumin powder, curry powder, paprika/chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and oil. Mix well with a spoon to coat all the beef pieces with spices and oil. 

  2. Turn on the stove and saute for about 5 mins until the onions turn translucent, and liquid starts to ooze out from the beef pieces. *

  3. Add 1 cup of water (add more if you like more gravy), mix everything and cover with the lid. Pressure cook on medium heat for 6 whistles in a traditional pressure cooker. Or 35mins in an instant pot on high pressure. 

  4. After 6 whistles, let the pressure goes down naturally. Take about a cup of meat pieces out(without any liquid), let them cool down a little bit, and shred them into pieces using two forks. In case your meat is not tender enough* to shred, add about 1/4 cup of water and pressure cook for another one-two whistle or 6-10 mins in the instant pot on high pressure.

  5. Prepping Roti/flatbread pieces
  6. Thaw frozen Ceylon parotta/Godamba roti according to package instructions. (I usually follow the microwave method). Unfold them to seperate the layers. Cut them into small square pieces, around 3/4 inch in length. Doesn't have to be uniform.

  7. Now heat the wok or a frying pan. Add roti pieces and stir-fry for about a minute until they are not sticky and wet, roti pieces have separated from each other and some pieces catch some golden brown color*. If you're using freshly made godamba roti or dry roti pieces, you can skip this step. 

  8. Making Kottu
  9. Cut your vegetables.  Ready your aromatics, spices, eggs, roti pieces, and shredded beef and curry in separate containers. The process goes quickly so have them all ready, prepped, and closer to your stove.

  10. Heat butter in a wok or a fry pan. Add garlic, curry leaves, pandan leaves. Give a quick toss. Mix in carrots. Stir-fry until carrots turn tender.

  11. Then add shredded beef and onions. Let the beef pieces fry in butter and catch some fried golden color on the edges. Some of the carrots will turn golden as well and that's good.

  12. Then add chili flakes, green chilies, and leeks. Saute for about 10 seconds. 

  13. Move them all to one side of the pan. Add about a tsp of butter to the other side. Add the eggs over butter and start scrambling them until they are halfway cooked. 

  14. When eggs are halfway cooked and half runny, add the roti pieces over the eggs and mix well. This way eggs stick to the roti pieces better since they're still runny. 

  15. Now add oyster sauce and saute really well. Taste and adjust the amount of oyster sauce to your likings.

  16. Add the beef curry about 1/2 cup at a time and mix well. Adjust the amount of curry to your need. I usually add a cup of curry for 450g of roti pieces. 

  17. Adjust salt if needed. Serve warm with the remaining beef curry.

  • some meat takes longer to become tender and some don't. It depends on the cut of the meat you're using, the size of your meat pieces, and the time you cook. So if the meat is not shreddable, add a little bit more liquid and pressure cook again for 1 - 2 whistles in the traditional pressure cooker or 6 - 10 mins high pressure in the instant pot.
  • I usually dry out my roti pieces after I cut them. I always find frozen godamba roti pieces are quite moist and easily breakable when I thaw them. Drying them on a pan helps them to mix with other ingredients without becoming lumpy and absorb more curry which makes them more flavorful. 
  • some people like the kottu wet and some like it dry and then served with curry. I like the kottu wet when I'm serving it right away. If I'm going to serve it later I keep it dry and serve it with some chicken or beef gravy to add on. If you make a wet kottu to serve later, what happens is, that the roti pieces will absorb all the liquid and will make it lumpy.
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