Massaman beef curry. It is the last day of National Curry Week 2020. So I want to share one of my all-time favourite curries. Massaman curry is regularly voted in the world’s top dishes. It is a rather special mix of the typical flavours you will find in Thai food. Such as chillies, garlic, coriander, and shrimp paste. Alongside more Eastern aromatics cinnamon, cloves, star anise, bay leaves, nutmeg and mace among other ingredients.
A brief bit of Massaman History
Massaman curry is believed to originated with Muslim traders in Thailand mixing elements of their own culture and local ingredients. In fact, the name is thought to derive from the word Muslim. To this day it is mostly made with chicken and beef. But not pork which is forbidden in Islamic dietary laws.
Alternatively, the name is said to derive from the Malay word for sour. This could refer to the use of tamarind and sometimes of bitter oranges in the recipe. To make a Massaman curry you fry the curry paste with coconut cream. Then add meat, potatoes, onions, tamarind paste and peanuts and cook out. The finished curry is fairly mild, but well spiced, and is usually eaten with rice.
Massaman Curry Paste
You can buy very good curry pastes pastes from specialist Asian suppliers, good delis and larger supermarkets. But you can also make your own awesome version and store it in the freezer. Nothing beats toasting your own spices to release incredible flavour.
Massaman Beef Curry
- Oven-proof casserole with lid
- 600 gr Beef Braising Steak cut into large chunks
- 2 large White Onions peeled and sliced
- 400 gr waxy Potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
- 400 ml can Coconut milk
- 100 gr Creamed Coconut
- 100 gr Salted Peanuts roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons Massaman Curry paste
- 1 tablespoon Tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon soft Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
- 6 Kaffir Lime leaves
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 3 Star Anise pods
- Heat a large heavy-bottomed casserole dish over a medium flame and add 3 tablespoons of the coconut cream and the curry paste. Cook for a minute then add the beef and stir until well coated.
- Add the coconut milk with a cup of water to rinse out the tin, the potatoes, onion, lime leaves, cinnamon, star anise, tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and half of the peanuts.
- Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the preheated oven. Cook for approximately two hours until the beef and potatoes are cooked. Remove from the oven and stir in the remaining coconut cream. Remove the star anis, lime leaves and cinnamon stick.
- Serve with rice and garnish with the remaining peanuts, micro-coriander and black onion seeds.