Combine the ingredients for the spice mixture in a food processor. Pulse until you have a smooth paste, adding a little water if it looks too dry. Transfer to a small bowl.
Heat the groundnut oil in a large, heavy-based casserole dish over a moderate heat until hot. Fry the spice mixture for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it looks glossy and the oil starts to separate away from the spice mixture. Add the star anise, cinnamon and cardamom pods and stir well.
Add the beef, soft light brown sugar and a little salt and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the coconut milk and hot water into the dish, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 2 hours.
Remove from the heat after two hours and adjust the seasoning using salt, pepper and lime juice. Garnish the dish with the chopped coriander and sliced red chilli. Serve from the dish.
For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.