Six-Ingredient Beef Curry is Just Like Push-Ups

Six-Ingredient Beef Curry

I’m not sure this Six-Ingredient Beef Curry counts as cooking, or has a place on this blog. It’s unclear to me why anyone interested in cooking would be interested in this delicious but utterly simple meal. You see, despite the travel stories and my interest in good wine, ultimately this is a cooking blog. Cooking is what interests me most and I assume it’s the reason you stop by. So I often seek out recipes that I think will challenge me and share the results here. It’s not always easy, but I enjoy it, even when it’s difficult. That’s because I like to compare cooking to push-ups – if it doesn’t hurt just a little bit there’s practically no point in the exercise.

Still, there’s nothing wrong with easy recipes or comfortable ingredient lists. Even though I know “the burn” is good for me, I don’t want to do push-ups every day. In fact after a long, hard day the last thing I want do is three sets of push-ups (or pull-ups or sit-ups for that matter). Cooking can be just the same. Sometimes the comfort of easy and delicious is more than enough exercise for my lazy butt.

There are a lot of reasons for choosing meals that are simple to prepare. Exhaustion, as I mentioned, is the main culprit. There are pocketbook issues as well. Long complicated ingredient lists can burn through your budget like a red hot poker on a popsicle. My excuse (and the reason for this Six-Ingredient Beef Curry) is that I’m a kitchen snob.

I was recently in Seattle staying with my partner’s mom. She’s getting older and needs some help with all sorts of day to day things. We’re happy to come up and pitch in until a more permanent solution can be worked out. However, once we arrived I realized that cooking was going to be a challenge. Not a “push-ups hurt so good” kind of challenge however. You see the kitchen, with its gleaming mid-sixties appliances, looks like something Betty Draper might have bragged about to her neighbors. The kitchen is still in perfect condition and it’s a lot of retro-chic fun, but the electric burners and limited counter space scared the competitive cook in me. We opted for dining out more than this cook would like to admit.

By the second week, I knew I’d have to conquer my fear and cook in that kitchen. The trick was choosing a meal that would be delicious and flavorful, but wouldn’t require special equipment or exotic ingredients (or even sharp knives for that matter).

Betty Draper Kitchen

Six-Ingredient Beef Curry

We can all appreciate the convenience of a quick recipe once in a while. When I’m in no mood to cook I often assemble a default list of ingredients I already have in our pantry. Things like dried pasta tossed with whatever veggies are on their very last day, or pizza made from frozen naan, spread with bottled BBQ sauce and leftover chicken. In the case of this Six-Ingredient Beef Curry the main convenience I was looking for was a meal that could be made on limited counter space and in just one skillet. Sharp knives weren’t an option. Seattle has a large Asian population so I easily found pre-sliced, stir-fry beef at the market. The other five ingredients seemed obvious once I had the beef in hand. It may seem like a simple meal that any cook can master, but I tell you when faced with an unfamiliar kitchen Six-Ingredient Beef Curry can be just as painful as three sets of push-ups after a long hard day. GREG

Shiitake MushroomsSix-Ingredient Beef Curry Six-Ingredient Beef Curry

Six-Ingredient Beef Curry 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–6Published

You can serve this curry over rice and garnished with mint or basil if you like.

Six-Ingredient Beef Curry


  • 1 pound boneless beef sirloin (thinly sliced into bite-sized strips)
  • salt and pepper (as needed for seasoning)
  • 12 ounce shiitake mushrooms (stems removed, halved if large)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup green curry paste (or to taste)
  • 1 (15 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 8 ounce fresh green bean (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 (8 oz) can sliced bamboo shoots


Season the beef generously with salt and pepper; set aside.

Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from heating element. Toss mushrooms with oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and spread in an even layer across a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until they begin to get brown. Turn the mushrooms and broil 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from broiler and set aside in a warm place.

Meanwhile in a 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat, cook curry paste stirring often, until it begins to get dry and crumbly. Whisk in coconut milk. Once smooth add green beans and let the liquid come to a simmer. Lower heat to medium and add the seasoned beef. Continue to simmer until the beef is cooked to your liking; about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in bamboo shoots and broiled mushrooms. Serve warm as suggested in notes.

Six-Ingredient Beef Curry