Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin, Cauliflower & Goan Curry Sauce

This herb crusted beef tenderloin with cauliflower cigars & Goan curry sauce recipe is all about taking the beautiful, fiery flavours of a Goan beef curry and refining them with a modern approach to plating.

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Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Goan Curry Sauce & Cauliflower


One of my goals has been to better develop my ability to combine the flavours of my favourite foods with the more refined techniques used in modern foods.

It’s a difficult thing to do. In fact, it’s difficult to even know where to start.

As Greg Mehigan once said on Masterchef: Australia, a curry should be a curry.

And yes, I paraphrased that. A lot.


In simple terms, I take that to mean there is a time and place for refinement and modernization. It’s all well and good to utilise delicate ingredients and to employ complex techniques, but some things simply aren’t meant to be messed around with.

Continuing with the curry analogy, while curry flavours can be refined and presented very differently, a curry itself cannot be replicated in any other form. As much a part of the experience as the fragrant flavours and subtle spices are the big chunks of meat, the excess of sloppy sauce and the roughly torn and shredded popadoms.

And while we can refine that and can make it neater and tidier, more presentable, what we can’t do is compromise. It still has to be big. It still has to be bold. And it still has to come bursting with flavour.

About the dish

This dish is really all about the Goan curry sauce. It’s the same sauce I used here in my Goan Lamb Curry. The sauce is big and bold, with a tomato base and a generous smack of chilli and sourness.


Although we will be toning them down just a little this time. This dish works better with a little more subtlety. Because we’ll be using beef fillet, a far superior piece of meat, and we’ll be making the effort to create delicate textures and flavours like pastry and a puree, setting the whole dish on fire with an enormous blast of chilli only serves to take away from the subtle complexity we’ve achieved elsewhere.

So instead of taking away from the dish by stripping down the heat a little, we’re really just allowing the main ingredients to shine through.

I’ve used beef fillet because it’s what I had available. And because the addition of all the butter in the herb crust of this herb crusted beef tenderloin helps to baste the otherwise very lean beef as it cooks.

You could use any frying cut you like, but it’s always worth considering the fat content of the meat. Do you really, for example, need to add a butter, herby crust to, say, a ribeye steak? I’m not so sure.

Finally, we’ll also be roasting some cauliflower and making some (separate) cauliflower cigars, effectively, little cylinders of pastry stuffed with cauliflower puree.

They’re fun, they add a little texture and they help us to carry even more flavour through the dish. We’ll be making that cauliflower puree with lots of butter, heavily tempered with fennel and star anise, to enliven the puree with a wonderfully sweet aniseed flavour.

A few final things to remember

  • My original plan for this recipe was actually to use fish as the main protein. Fish is a common feature in Goan curry and goes wonderfully with all the other elements of the dish as well. So if you wanted to herb-crust some fish and serve it with a Goan curry sauce, you’d be just fine to do so.
  • Like I said above, I’ve stripped a little bit of the heat out of the sauce and sweetened it a little to make it easier on the palate. You don’t have to! If you want it sweeter, spicier, zingier, yellow-ier(?) or otherwise, it’s your dish, your meal and your palate.
  • We’ll be using a very simple pastry halfway between a filo and a puff. If you want to use one of those instead, go right ahead.
  • Don’t go crazy cooking the beef. Take your time and take care. Treat it with a little love and remember you’re going to be herb crusting it at the end and placing it under a grill (or broiler, if you’re American). As such, you want to err on the side of ever-so-slightly undercooking your meat, rather than the other way around. The grill will finish the job for you.

Similar Recipes & Useful Sides

Goan Lamb Curry – Another of Goa’s beautiful curries. This time a delicious vindaloo style lamb dish!

Goan Fish Curry – Another delicious Goan dish, this time with fish instead of beef or lamb. In many ways the archetypal Goan curry, so this might be your go to if you’re looking for authenticity!

Beef Madras – A beef curry, just like this one, but hailing from Chennai, or Madras as it was once known. Just like a Goan curry, it’s sour and spicy, so watch out!

Passanda Sauce Recipe – An Authentic Leftover Chicken Curry – The sexiest, creamiest, butteriest, chickeniest curry I’ve ever made and an absolute personal favourite.

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Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Goan Curry Sauce & Cauliflower

Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Cauliflower Cigars & Goan Curry Sauce

This herb crusted beef tenderloin with cauliflower cigars & Goan curry sauce recipe is all about taking the beautiful, fiery flavours of a Goan beef curry and refining them with a modern approach to plating.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, main, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2



  • 1/2 can Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Large Onion
  • 1/4 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/4 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1/4 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/4 Tsp Coriander Powder
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Ginger Paste
  • Tamarind Paste
  • Lime Juice
  • Caster Sugar
  • 1 Bay Leaf


  • 200 g Plain Flour
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Salt


  • 2 200g Beef Steaks fillet or otherwise
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Salt
  • 50 g Butter
  • 2 cloves Garlic


  • 1 Cauliflower
  • 2 Star Anise
  • Caster Sugar
  • 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • Fresh Coriander
  • 1/3 cup Almonds
  • 100 g Butter
  • Salt



  • Start by toasting 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds and 2 cloves in a dry, hot pan for just long enough that the scent starts to lift from the pan and they go brittle. Move them to a pestle and mortar and grind them into a fine powder, then combine them with 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp garam masala and 1/4 tsp coriander powder. Set them aside and wipe out the pestle and mortar.
  • Peel and crush 2 cloves garlic, then combine with the ginger paste and grind together in the pestle and mortar, then set that aside, peel an onion and finely dice half, discarding the other.
  • In a medium, oiled pan, add the finely diced onion and 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, along with a little salt. Once they've been caramelising for 5 – 10 minutes, add the dry spices and then the fresh paste after another minute or two, stirring them in as you add them.
  • Add the coconut milk and reduce it down gradually with a bay leaf, until it starts to split, then remove the bay leaf and add the tomatoes, reducing again and then blending everything together, seasoning as required and adding tamarind paste, lime juice and sugar as desired.

Cigars & Cauliflower

  • Trim 6 – 8 florets of cauliflower, large enough to provide a portion each for two people, then roast them for about 30 – 40 minutes at 180c with ample oil and salt, turning and basting halfway through.
  • In a large bowl, combine 200g flour, a little salt and enough water to create a firm, smooth dough. Bring the dough together and knead until smooth, then move to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Add 50g butter to a small pan and gently heat the star anise for 5 minutes or so at low-medium temperature, then add the fennel seeds and continue for a few minutes more, ensuring the temperature is just high enough for the oil to crackle without burning. Strain the butter into a cup and discard the spices.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly dusted surface with a dusted rolling pin. You want it really, really thin so it might be easier to cut it in half or even into quarters first.
  • Cut 16 equal circles from the dough. You're looking for about 8cm across, but if you have a mug or bowl around which to cut, a little extra or a little too little length won't matter too much.
  • Once they're all cut, brush one of the circles with oil and place another on top. You don't necessarily want the overlap too tidy. Repeat this two more times, so that you have 4 layers of dough, each separated with a layer of oil. Gently roll out the resulting dough and repeat the process until you have four separate "stacks" of pastry dough.
  • Brush the top surface of each unrolled cigar with oil, leaving a small area on one side. Wrap around a cylindrical, ovenproof mould – by which I mean ANYTHING you can find, I made a mould from tinfoil – and place in an oven at 180c until crispy and golden brown, increasing the temperature if necessary toward the end.
  • Trim the rest of the cauliflower, removing any leaves and the hard, thick skin around the base, preserving as much of the base as you can. Chop it up roughly and simmer until soft, add the anise butter, some salt and some caster sugar, then blend together and add to a squeezy bottle or piping bag.
  • Remove the mould from the pastries and use the piping bag or squeezy bottle to fill them with the puree.


  • Put the butter in a cup and bring it up to just below melting temperature, then add the breadcrumbs, a little salt and good amount of finely chopped coriander. Stir everything together and place in the fridge for about half an hour.
  • Season the beef with salt and add to a hot, oiled pan set to medium-high temperature. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side, adding 2 pierced cloves of garlic at and a little more butter for the last minute or so and basting the beef as you cook.
  • Press the breadcrumbs down over the top of both pieces of beef and place them under a medium grill for 60 seconds or so, until they brown and crisp up.


  • Quickly toast a handful of almonds until coloured.
  • Sauce the plate first and add the beef and the cauliflower, followed by the cigars and some fresh coriander.
Keyword Beef Tenderloin, Curry Sauce, goan curry, Goan Curry Sauce, Goan sauce, Herb Crusted Beef, Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin

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