Monday 7 October 2013

Massaman Curry Recipe

Massaman curry (also known as Matsaman curry), แกงมัสมั่น in Thai, is a classic aromatic Thai curry that shows the Persian influence on Thai cuisine. As well as all the classic Thai ingredients this curry also contains potatoes. It is intended for long, slow, cooking and it is most suited to the poorer cuts of beef, particularly those on the bone. Beef ribs are ideal, but stewing beef can be used at a pinch.

I'm adding this recipe to celebrated my new Thai recipes page on my main Celtnet Recipes site.

Massaman Curry Recipe

Serves: 8
Origin: Thailand
Thai Massaman curry of beef and potatoes in a lightly-spiced massaman curry spice base


1kg (2 lb) beef, cut into 3cm cubes (the tougher the cut the better the flavour of the curry)
400ml (1 2/3 cups) thick coconut milk (tinned is fine)
500g (1 lb) waxy potatoes (charlottes are ideal), cut into 3cm chunks (scrub them, but do not peel)
250g (1/2 lb) pearl (baby) onions, peeled
120g (1/2 cup) Massaman curry paste
2 tbsp tamarind paste
fish sauce (nam pla), to taste
palm sugar (or brown sugar), to taste
60g (2 oz) dry-roasted peanuts
8 white cardamom pods, lightly toasted
1 tsp lightly-toasted cumin seeds


Scoop about 150ml of the top, creamy, part of the coconut milk and place in a large, heavy-based pan along with the curry paste. Set over medium heat and fry the mixture until the coconut begins to bubble up and the oil separates out of the mixture.

Add the meat to the pan and stir to coat in the curry paste mixture. Now stir in the remaining coconut milk, with just enough water so that the liquid barely covers the meat.

Increase the heat slightly and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately lower to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the meat is almost tender. Stewing beef will take about 2 hours, beef shank or oxtail will take up to 4 hours.

During the cooking time, add more water as needed to ensure that the meat remains submerged in the liquid. When the meat is tender add the pearl onions and the potato pieces along with 2 tbsp fish sauce. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender.

About 5 minutes before the vegetables are due to be tender season the curry to taste with the tamarind paste (sour), sugar and the toasted cardamom and cumin. Add more fish sauce if desired (this adds salt and umami flavours). Adjust the seasonings until you have the balance of flavours that you like (personally I like the acid to dominate slightly, but that's just me).

Turn the curry into a warmed serving dish. Scatter over the roasted peanuts and serve on a bed of jasmine rice.

For a different taste you can substitute sweet potatoes or eddoes (taro) for the potatoes.

For hundreds more curry recipes from around the globe, why not visit the Celtnet Curry recipes page.

UPDATE! My Big Book of Curry Reicpes recipes book has just been published in a completely new and revised edition for Amazon Kindle!

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