Lemon and Beef Burmese Curry

    1 hour

    This is an authentic and delicious Burmese beef curry, taught to me by a Burmese friend. It calls for balachaung, a Burmese condiment made from dried prawns. You can find this in some Oriental shops, or you can make your own.

    3 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 piece balachaung (prawn paste)
    • 200ml hot water
    • 3 onions, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1/2 tablespoon minced root ginger
    • 125ml sunflower oil
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
    • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
    • juice and zest of 1 lemon
    • 1 teaspoon flaked or fresh chilli
    • 400g diced beef
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 bunch fresh coriander, to garnish

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

    1. Soak balachaung in 200ml of hot water and set aside.
    2. Fry chopped onion, garlic and ginger in oil until onion is soft and transparent. Add paprika, turmeric, lemon zest and chilli. Take care not to scorch the spices; after a few seconds add a small amount of hot water and lemon juice to prevent burning of spices. Add balachaung and stir.
    3. Add beef to the pot, stirring to coat the meat in spices. Season with salt to taste towards the end of cooking time.
    4. Let simmer carefully for 30-45 minutes. Dish should not be dry, but it should not be too liquid. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice and garnish with fresh coriander.


    Use a high sided non-stick pot to cook this dish.


    Balachaung is a Burmese condiment made from dried prawns. It is essential to this dish and can be purchased at some Oriental grocers in block form. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge or freezer.

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    Reviews in English (2)


    Oh dear, you've made the fundemental error of confusing blachen with balachaung! The former is the paste, often sold in block form, the latter is the dried shrimp relish usually sold in jars. My late mother used to make balachaung at home and I know how she cooked it. I hope your readers don't soak their balachaung and add it to the curry, as it will make it unpalatable, not to say a terrific waste of ingredients!  -  19 Apr 2014


    Wow, such a simple recipe, such wonderful flavour! I slow cooked it using some extra water as I used gravy beef. The lemon is a star, could be fantastic with lamb or goat too. My partner reckons its great with a bit of extra balachan sprinkled on top  -  14 Apr 2013  (Review from Allrecipes AU | NZ)