Thai Massaman Beef Curry

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Thai Massaman Beef Curry is an exotic and delicious tasting curry, that derives from Muslim cultural influences from around the the 17th century. Massaman is a corruption of the word Mussilman, which meant Muslim. The spicing of the dish uses many of the normal Thai spices, but being of Muslim origin, it is traditionally made with beef, which was acceptable to Muslim dietary laws. Serves: 4


  • 85g unsalted peanuts
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp massaman curry paste
  • 500g shin of beef, cut into large chunks
  • 400g new potatoes, cut into 2½ cm chunks
  • 1 onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp palm or soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced, (and/or chopped coriander leaves) to serve
  • 200ml beef stock
  • oil for frying

Note: The dish is equally good made with duck or chicken, but will require, chicken stock and a shorter cooking time.


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C / 350°F.
  2. Heat a heavy sauté pan over a medium heat and gently toast the peanuts for about 5 minutes until golden brown.
  3. When cool, coarsely chop the peanuts.
  4. Now heat 1 tbsp oil in a large casserole dish with a lid. Add the curry paste and fry for 1 minute, then stir in the beef and fry until sealed and well covered in spices.
  5. Stir in the potatoes, onion, lime leaves, cinnamon, tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and the peanuts.
  6. Add in the coconut milk and 200ml of beef stock.
  7. Stirring, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 2½hrs in the oven until the beef is tender. Cook for a little longer if the beef is not tender enough.
  8. Serve by sprinkling with sliced chilli or chopped coriander leaves, then serve straight from the dish with jasmine rice.

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