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Massaman Curry with Beef

Prep:

Cook:

Authentic Thai style beef curry that enlightens your winter nights.

  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 generous tablespoons Massaman Curry Paste (see below)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped or 5 very small onions, peeled and used whole
  • 300-400ml (14fl oz) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 200g (7oz) beef sirloin, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons beef or vegetable stock (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons roasted
  • cashew nuts
  • 5 pieces of pineapple chunks
  • Sea salt

Massaman Curry Paste makes 150ml (¼ pint)

  • 5 shallots, unpeeled
  • 2 heads of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons sliced galangal
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3 dried red spur chillies, deseeded and soaked until tender
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste

For the paste

  • In a wok or frying pan, dry-fry the whole shallots and garlic for 5-10 minutes until golden and soft. Set aside to cool, then peel off the skin.
  • Dry-fry the galangal and lemongrass over a medium heat until fragrant and slightly golden, about 2–3 minutes. Set aside.
  • Dry-fry the coriander seeds, cumin, cloves and peppercorns for 2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring continuously. Pound or grind to powder.
  • Finely pound or grind the chillies and salt. Add the roasted galangal and lemongrass and pound or grind well.
  • Add the shallots and garlic and continue to pound or grind, then add the ground roasted spices, the cardamom and the shrimp paste. Mix until smooth.

For the curry

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan or a wok over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add massaman paste and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until browned. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add coconut milk, stock, cinnamon, chilli, bay leaves, palm sugar, fish sauce, peanuts and potato to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the beef is very tender.
  • Divide the steamed jasmine rice among serving bowls. Top with the curry and serve with coriander and lime wedges if you prefer.


  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 generous tablespoons Massaman Curry Paste (see below)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped or 5 very small onions, peeled and used whole
  • 300-400ml (14fl oz) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 200g (7oz) beef sirloin, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons beef or vegetable stock (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons roasted
  • cashew nuts
  • 5 pieces of pineapple chunks
  • Sea salt

Massaman Curry Paste makes 150ml (¼ pint)

  • 5 shallots, unpeeled
  • 2 heads of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons sliced galangal
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3 dried red spur chillies, deseeded and soaked until tender
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste

For the paste

  • In a wok or frying pan, dry-fry the whole shallots and garlic for 5-10 minutes until golden and soft. Set aside to cool, then peel off the skin.
  • Dry-fry the galangal and lemongrass over a medium heat until fragrant and slightly golden, about 2–3 minutes. Set aside.
  • Dry-fry the coriander seeds, cumin, cloves and peppercorns for 2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring continuously. Pound or grind to powder.
  • Finely pound or grind the chillies and salt. Add the roasted galangal and lemongrass and pound or grind well.
  • Add the shallots and garlic and continue to pound or grind, then add the ground roasted spices, the cardamom and the shrimp paste. Mix until smooth.

For the curry

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan or a wok over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add massaman paste and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until browned. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add coconut milk, stock, cinnamon, chilli, bay leaves, palm sugar, fish sauce, peanuts and potato to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the beef is very tender.
  • Divide the steamed jasmine rice among serving bowls. Top with the curry and serve with coriander and lime wedges if you prefer.

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