A while ago, I had a request for a beef curry. Sure I could have taken the easy road and bought a ready made curry paste – but that would defeat the whole purpose of why I’m doing this. So after a lot of reading and learning, here it is. This one’s for you Emma!

Massaman Beef Curry


This curry has to be my favourite Thai dish of all time. Y’know, that one dish that you would use to gauge how good a Thai restaurant is. So at the mention of beef curry, this was the one I had to make from scratch.


1kg chuck fillet, cut into 3cm cubes.
2 tbsp massaman curry paste
2 (500 ml) cups beef stock
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 star anise
2 cinammon quills
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp palm sugar, grated
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
500 g chat potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, roasted and coarsely chopped



20 dried red chillies
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground clove
5 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely
1 brown onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 stick lemon grass, using soft parts only, thinly sliced
knob of ginger (about 4cm), peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp peanut oil


First, make Massaman Curry Paste

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Place chillies in a jug or bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for 15 minutes then drain.
Dry fry cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and clove until fragrant. Remove from heat.
Place chillies, garlic, onion, lemon grass, ginger and shrimp paste in a small bowl. Add spices and peanut oil.
Mix well then tip into a small shallow baking dish.
Roast uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool a little.
Process in a food processor or crush in a mortar and pestle until smooth.
This makes about 1 cup of curry paste.

To make the curry

Place beef, 1 1/2 cup cups of stock, cardamom, clove, star anise, cinammon, bay leaves, sugar, fish sauce, 1 tbsp tamarind, and 1 can of coconut milk in a suacepan.  Bring to boil then immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours.  Strain beef, saving braising liquid, and discarding solids.
In the same saucepan, cook curry paste until fragrant – continually stirring.
Add remaining coconut milk, stock and tamarind then bring mixture to a boil. Cook, continually stirring for about a minute. Reduce to a simmer.  Return beef to pan with the potatoes along with 1 cup of braising liquid and simmer for about 30 minutes until potatoes and beef are tender. Remove from heat and stir in peanuts (if using), and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice.


Jason - September 26, 2011 - 3:55 pm

I have had the pleasure to try this recipe and I have to say, it’s superb. I highly recommend it.