Craving Satisfied! Beef Kulma for Lunch/Dinner


I had roughly half a kilo of lean beef cubes in the freezer for a week now. I thought of turning them into caldereta but my craving for the Tausug beef kulma won me over.

Beef Kulma is a spicy version of the Tagalog karekare. It is made with coconut milk,  curry and a mix of other spices and vegetables. It’s one of my favorite comfort food, one that I won’t find in my home’s dinner table unless I go out of my way to either eat it from somewhere else or cook it myself. It has all the flavors I want in my plate- sweet, a bit tangy, creamy and oh so spicy! There is also a hint of peanut in it, making it “pleasantly complicated” for the palate.

It used to be tedious cooking this dish because of the preparation required. But nowadays when access to coconut milk is as easy as opening a can, one can enjoy this meal in no time.  The meat can either be tenderized by boiling ahead or  braised along with the coconut gravy for a much longer time. The latter is my preference because I think it allows the beef to absorb all the flavors as it cooks.


500 grams beef cubes

1 large potato, cut into 1 inch diagonal pieces

1 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch diagonal pieces

1/2 green bellpepper, cut into 1 inch diagonal pieces

1/2 red bellpepper, cut into 1 inch diagonal pieces

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium tomato chopped

Juice of half a lemon

2 tbsp julienned ginger

1 big can of coconut milk

1 cup of water

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp dried chili

1 tsp dried turmeric

1 tsp crushed black pepper

1 tbsp onion powder

2 pcs bay leaves

2 pcs star anise

1 small pc cinnamon bark

Patis or fish sauce to taste

1 tbsp peanut butter


 Marinate beef in lemon juice, salt, half of the curry powder, onion powder, black pepper and bay leaf. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

In a thick bottomed pan, fry potato pieces until half done. Set aside.

Fry onion until light Brown. Then add in garlic and half of the ginger strips. Continue sauteing for a minute until they are soft.

Add in beef cubes and fry until edges turn a bit brown then mix in marinating juice. Stir slightly.

Add in tomatoes and remaining spices (I forgot to include the cinnamon stick in this stage and added it a little later. Stir to combine ingredients and cover for 2-3 minutes.

Excuse the lone cinnamon bark in the middle… I forgot to put it earlier. Anyhow after 2-3  minutes simmering, the beef should start rendering its own fat and juices but not quite tender yet. At this point, you may add in the coconut milk, peanut butter and water. Season with fish sauce and a tiny bit of sugar. Cover and simmer for an hour or until the meat is tender.

Once the liquid has significantly reduced into gravy-like consistency and darker in color, throw in all the vegetables and continue simmering on low heat, covered.

The finish product should look like this. It is not as spicy as I expected most likely because of the coconut milk. You could always add chopped green chilies for garnishing and added kick. Please excuse the poor presentation;  pictured above is a portion for my lunch I packed for work. I paired it with boiled rice and cucumber salad. Yumyum!

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