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Beef Massaman Curry

I love curries, but I must confess to usually making Indian style curries at home – Jalfrezi, Rogan Josh, Tikka Masala… they’re all regular favourites in my house. But I so often overlook curries from other parts of Asia, and the Thai-originating Massaman Curry is one that I have oft overlooked. So I wanted to rectify that by making my take on that curry and using as many authentic ingredients as possible that I could. I’ve substituted a few here and there, and while Massaman Curry usually has potatoes in it I decided to forgo those and pack the curry out with more beef. But you could include potatoes if you like, or use chicken over beef. It’s really up to you. Either way, the result is a rich, creamy and flavourful curry that’s great any day of the week.

Beef Massaman Curry

Print Recipe
Serves: 3 - 4 Cooking Time: 1 hour+


  • 1kg Beef, Cubed
  • 400ml Coconut Milk
  • 1 Red Pepper, Sliced
  • 5 x Shallots
  • 30g Fresh Ginger
  • 6 x Cloves Garlic
  • 4 x Red Chillies
  • 3 x Tomatoes, Diced
  • 250ml Chicken Stock
  • 3 - 4 tbsp Lemongrass Paste
  • 3 x Kaffir Lime Leaves OR Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds (or Ground Cumin)
  • ½ tsp Cinammon Powder
  • A grating of Nutmeg
  • 3 - 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 100g Peanuts (preferably roasted but unsalted)
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable or Sunflower Oil



Peel two of the shallots, ginger and garlic, and roughly chop them along with the red chillies and pop them into a food processor.


Add the both the tomato and lemongrass pastes into the food processor and blitz everything into a smooth paste. Place to one side.


Place a large pan or pot (make sure it has a lid) onto a medium-high heat and allow to heat up.


In the dry pan, add in the cumin seeds and cardamom seeds and cook for a couple of minutes until you get the aroma of the seeds and they start to pop in the pan. Grind the seeds in a pestle and mortar into a fine powder.


Place the pan back onto the heat and add the oil to the pan and allow to heat to a fairly high heat.


Cut the beef into chunky pieces and then add to the hot pan and cook the beef pieces until they're just browned on all sides. Remove from the pan, leaving the juices, and place to one side.


Peel and slice the remaining shallots and, on a medium-low heat, fry into the same pan as the beef until the shallots become soft and translucent.


Turn the heat up to a medium high and add in the curry paste that you made earlier. Cook for a few minutes to cook out some of the raw flavours.


Add in the ground cumin and cardamom seeds, ground coriander, cinammon powder and grated nutmeg into the pan and cook for a few more minutes.


Add in the beef you cooked earlier to the shallots and make sure everything gets coated with all the curry paste.


Pour over the chicken stock and stir in the beef.


Add in the brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and oyster sauce and stir well into the stock until the sugar has dissolved.


Add the coconut milk into the sauce and mix together well.


Deseed the red pepper and slice into strips and mix into the curry.


Cut the tomatoes into quarters, remove and discard the seeds, and dice into 1cm pieces and stir into the curry.


Bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer, place a lid onto the pan and leave to simmer for half an hour.


Remove the lid and leave to simmer for a further fifteen minutes.


After these fifteen minutes, add in the roasted peanuts and allow to simmer for final 15 minutes.


Remove from the heat and serve with fragrant Jasmine Rice.

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