Massaman Beef Curry

Thai food, curry and slow cooked beef are some of my favourite things and when combined you get a mighty Massaman Beef Curry. Packed full of fragrant herbs and spices this luxuriously creamy dish hits all right notes in being hot, sour, salty and slightly sweet. I used beef shin which cooks down to an extremely tender consistency that could be eaten with a spoon.



Serves 3/4

For the paste

  • Red Onion 3
  • Garlic 5 Cloves
  • Red Chilli 3
  • Cinnamon 3 sticks or 1 Tablespoon ground
  • Ginger Thumb Size Chunk
  • Coriander Stalks large bunch
  • Lemongrass Stalks 3

For the curry

  • Tamarind 2 Tablespoons
  • Nutmeg 1 Teaspoon
  • Cardamon Seeds 1 Teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder 2 Teaspoons 
  • Coconut Milk 2 Tins
  • Fish sauce 4 Tablespoons 
  • Palm Sugar 1 Tablespoon
  • Peanuts To garnish
  • Basil small bunch
  • Beef Shin 500g
  • Ghee 2 Tablespoons
  • Salt 1 Tablespoon
  • Cracked Black Pepper 2 Teaspoons



The first stage in making a Massaman as with many curries lays with the paste. Yes, it is possible to buy ready-made pastes, some of which are quite good, but for the sake of saving a few minutes why compromise. Making a fresh paste will provide a fresher and more vibrant result. It also couldn't be easier, simply a case of putting all the ingredients into a blender until smooth.

Once blended the paste should resemble something like the picture below. Empty into a sauce pan with a slug of oil and fry on low heat for 5 minutes.

While the paste is cooking it's time to sear the beef. This is probably the most important step in implementing flavour so try not to skip. I used the BBQ which I preheated to max temp and seared for one minute per side. This can also be done on a griddle pan or skillet.

Once the beef is seared remove and cut roughly into one inch cubes. Place into the pan and coat with the paste and continue to cook on low heat.

As the beef is cooking place another pot on the heat and add the ghee along with the dried coriander powder, nutmeg and cardamom seeds. Fry the spices on medium heat while constantly stirring. This step should only take 30 seconds as you don't want the spices to burn. Add the bones of the shin along with the beef and curry paste to the pot.

Once you reach this point all the hard work is done and it's simply a case of adding the remaining curry ingredients.

Give everything a stir and crank the heat up high. Once the curry starts to boil lower the heat to the lowest setting and let it blip away for around two hours.

There will be a significant amount of oil released mainly form the coconut milk so skim this before serving.

After two hours and once the excess oil has been skimmed the curry should resemble something like the image above. Serve with freshly cooked basmati rice and garnish with crushed peanuts and a few coriander leaves.

Hope you enjoy,