Skip to main content

Homemade Strip-Loin Steak With Spicy Creamy Turmeric Sauce

Before pursuing his education, Nigel was a cook for two years in several restaurants specializing in Malaysian and international cuisine.

Malaysian curry sauce being incorporated into Steak.

Malaysian curry sauce being incorporated into Steak.

A Steak Dinner

Hello Foodies! it's been a while since i had a steak dinner that was done by myself and today, you and i have the chance to try out a whack creation i created. The last time i cooked a steak was in 2017, when i was still working at The Bulb Coffee, so it's been quite a while. I personally like Medium cooked steaks, but in this version, i kinda exceeded a little at Medium well, which is still good enough, the steak wasn't dry.

Here's a traditional way to check the doneness of a steak

The Sauce

In this dish, the sauce is a thickened version of a Malaysian favorite curry dish called "masak lemak cili api" which translates to "Rich curry with Bird's eye chili" so yes, this dish is going to get spicy! (jokes, you can adjust the spice however you want). This Malaysian curry dish is the favorite of the folks of Negeri Sembilan (a state in Malaysia) and it is one of the curry dishes served by the Malay community in Malaysia.

My Strip-loin steak after a dry brine and adding black pepper.

My Strip-loin steak after a dry brine and adding black pepper.

The Steak itself

In the steak family, there are a whole lot of cuts to choose from and my personal favorite would be a strip-loin steak as it has that layer of fat just shy off the meat where if you sear it long enough, it is a little crispy. Besides that, it's probably the juiciest steak cut i can find here in Malaysia other than Ribeye steak, which costs more.

Fusion as told by Dragon Ball

Fusion from the cartoon, Dragon Ball.

Fusion from the cartoon, Dragon Ball.

An inter-Marriage of flavors

A Bearnaise sauce has a high amount of richness, the "masak lemak" is quite a rich curry as well, the only difference is, one is packed with fragrant spices. In my head at the moment i decided to make this recipe was that, if Bearnaise sauce, a rich sauce, works so well with a steak, why wouldn't a curry sauce work? So here's this fusion recipe!

Dry Brine before (left) and after (right)

Dry Brine before (left) and after (right)

The Dry Brine Technique

Dry Brine is the opposite of the usual Wet brine where it's purpose is to remove excess moisture from the meat. Similar to one of my articles about Crispy Roast Pork, Dry brine serves as a way to dry the meat using salt which at the same time, flavoring the meat before cooking it. Check out the video below on how to do it.

Dry Brine on steaks technique

TIP: You may want to start the process a day or two earlier with the dry brine technique.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

30 min

1 hour

Serves 3


For Steaks:

  • 3 eight-ounce strip-loin steaks
  • 1 1/2 sticks rosemary/tarragon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt, for brine
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon oil

For the sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2-3 full green chili, de-seeded
  • 1 tablespoon shallots
  • 200 milliliters coconut milk
  • 30 milliliters water
  • 1 or 2 tamarind
  • 1 leaf turmeric leaf, julienne
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Dry brine the steaks with salt 1 day before cooking and leave it in the refrigerator.
  2. 2 hours before cooking, remove the steak from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature.
  3. While the steak is warming up, start to cut the turmeric leaves for the sauce and soak the tamarind in warm water.
  4. Once the steak is warmed up, pre-heat the pan using medium high heat for a minute and add 1 tablespoon of oil to prevent splattering.
  5. First, add the steak and sear it for 2-3 minutes depending on the size of your steak for a medium rare, a thicker steak will require 3-5 minutes. Add 1 minute if you want to cook it to medium.
  6. While waiting for the steak to sear on one side, get ready the butter, rosemary/tarragon and garlic.
  7. After flipping the steak, add the 3 aromatics into the pan, let the rosemary/tarragon pop a little before starting to baste the steak. Baste the steak for 1 minute.
  8. Once the steak is done, remove the essence of the aromatics and you can start the sauce with some shallots.
  9. Once the shallots are golden, add the coconut milk and turmeric powder.
  10. Mix it and then add the chili, tamarind and turmeric leaf, mix it well until you get a yellow creamy sauce.
  11. Let it simmer to thicken the sauce, add salt to taste at the end.
  12. Plate the steak with the sides of your choice and the sauce on another bowl. Voila!

How the sauce should look

The Color and texture of the sauce.

The Color and texture of the sauce.

Scroll to Continue

Cooking notes

- Give as much attention to the steaks, you do not want to overcook it, keep track of the time given per side.

- Only taste and season once the sauce is thickened, the coconut milk cuts the salt taste, which means, if you think it's salty, just add more coconut milk.

- Add water only if you feel that the sauce is too thick, water helps to loosen the sauce but you may need to add more coconut milk in case.

"The first time i had sushi, i hated it. The second time was no different, and then, i just started loving it. I actually crave for sushi. It's one of the healthiest meals. My experiments with food began when i was working in New York as an architect, be it Korean or Ethiopian food or fusion food".

— Riteish Deshmukh

For The Love Of Steaks!

There are many pairings with steaks, some are great, like Steak & Frites with Bearnaise sauce and some are common but good, like a steak with brown sauce, in fact, i have a friend who serves Masala spiced marinade steak in his restaurant and it is well received by the people of Malaysia and a number of expatriates from the states. His recipe inspired me to create what we have today, it's a weird combination but it surprisingly works. I personally love creamy sauces especially pan sauces but this sauce i made, reminds me of one of my favorite curries. Happy cooking!

© 2020 Nigel Koay


Nigel Koay (author) from Malaysia on December 30, 2020:

Hi Devika! something different for the day, can make it a special meal haha! thank you!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 27, 2020:

This sounds a new recipe idea for me. I like the ingredients used and will try it.

Nigel Koay (author) from Malaysia on December 22, 2020:

Yes, the flavors and tenderness of the steak was achieved during this dry brine process. I haven't thought to pair turmeric sauce for steak as well, it was one crazy idea that just popped up. Thanks Peggy!

Nigel Koay (author) from Malaysia on December 22, 2020:

Yes, it's kind of a crazy method i recently put together, nobody would imagine curry and steak hahaha. You should try dry brining with steak, it'll be really tender.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 22, 2020:

Dry brining steak is a good idea. Many chefs in restaurants do that to intensify the flavors. I would never have thought to create a spicy turmeric sauce for steak, but it sounds good. Thanks!

Cristina Vanthul from Florida on December 22, 2020:

That sauce looks really interesting! I have to try that as well as dry brining my steak. I've dry brined pork ribs but never thought to do so with steak.

Related Articles