Massaman Curry

4 servings


2 hours 30 minutes

total time


1 lemongrass (Note 1)

6 dried red Asian chillis (not Thai! Note 2)

4 eschallots (, peeled, Note 3)

5 cloves garlic (, unpeeled)

3 cm / 2.25" galangal piece (, peeled, cut into 3/4 cm / 1/2" slices, Note 4)

4 - 6 tbsp water

1/2 tsp ground cloves

3/4 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp cinnamon

700 g / 1.4lb beef chuck (, cut into 4cm / 2.5" cubes, Note 5)

500 ml / 2 cups beef broth (, low sodium)

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup / 65 ml vegetable oil

400 ml / 14 oz coconut milk (full fat, 1 can)

1 cinnamon quill

1 star anise

1 tsp tamarind paste/puree (Note 6)

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp white sugar

2 medium-small potatoes (, peeled and cut into 2.5cm / 1" pieces)

3 tbsp peanuts (, roughly chopped)

Finely sliced red chilli (optional)

Asian fried shallots (optional, Note 7)

Steamed jasmine rice


Lemongrass (see video):

Remove reedy outer layers and trim lemongrass per Note 1.

Reserve all the trimmings (for beef). Finely chop the white part (for paste.


Place Beef ingredients in a medium saucepan. Liquid should almost cover beef but not completely - if not, add water.

Add lemongrass trimmings.

Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 1.5 - 2 hours until beef is fork tender.

Remove beef. If there's much more than 1.5 cups liquid, simmer to reduce. Set liquid aside.

Char Aromatics (char = flavour!):

Place heavy based skillet over high heat until smoking (no oil).

Add eschalot, garlic and galangal in skillet. Get a nice char on them, then remove (~1.5 minutes).

Add dried chillies into skillet, char 10 seconds or so on each side until charred, then remove.

Once cool enough to handle: Grate galangal. Peel garlic. Break chillies in half, shake out seeds and discard.

Spice Paste Dried Spices:

Wipe the skillet used above or use a clean one. Heat on medium heat, add Spice Paste Dried Spices. Toast for 30 seconds or until they start to smell fragrant - do not let them burn. Immediately transfer into bowl.

Curry Paste:

Place chillies in food processor. (Note 8) Blitz until finely chopped.

Add galangal, finely chopped lemongrass, the toasted Spice Paste Dried Spices, and remaining Spice Paste ingredients, starting with 4 tbsp water. Blitz until smooth - add more water if required.

Curry Sauce:

Place oil in a pot or large skillet over medium high heat. Add curry paste and cook for 3 minutes until the liquid has cooked out and it's thick and fragrant.

Add coconut milk, stir to incorporate.

Add cinnamon, star anise and reserved beef braising liquid. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes.

Stir in fish sauce, tamarind and sugar, stir.

Add potatoes and cook for 7 minutes or until potatoes are tender, turning as required.

Add beef and simmer for 2 minutes or until sauce has reduced and thickened.

Adjust: saltiness with fish sauce, sour with tamarind and sweet with sugar. The taste should be sweet, salty and sour, with more emphasis on the sweet and sour notes. Top up with a little water if the curry seems too thick

Serve over jasmine rice, garnished with peanuts (essential!) plus optional crispy Asian shallots and fresh chillies.


Serving Size



747 kcal

Total Fat

56 g

Saturated Fat

28 g

Unsaturated Fat


Trans Fat



103 mg


951 mg

Total Carbohydrate

27 g

Dietary Fiber

4 g

Total Sugars

5 g


38 g

4 servings


2 hours 30 minutes

total time
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