Massaman Curry

A bowl of Massaman curry on the left, and a photo of ingredients on the right. @intothesauce, Into the Sauce, Tori Falzon, #intothesauce

It’s getting hot in this pot with my Beef Massaman curry recipe. Lots of ingredients, but literally half of them get tossed into the blender to make a rich, toasty, delightful curry paste. Freezes well, tastes even better the next day (I know this because I’m not kidding, I tested this recipe 3 times last week), a great one to add to the repertoire!


For the curry paste:

  • 5 dried long red chillies, seeds removed, soaked in hot water, and drained
  • 4 shallots, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Medium knob ginger (approx 6cm long), peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, outer layer removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup peanuts, roasted
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • ½ tsp cardamon pods
  • ½ nutmeg, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup water

For the curry: 

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 750g flank/skirt steak or chuck steak (in that order of preference), cut into cubes around the size of an egg
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut cream
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 58g palm sugar (one half sphere of the Pandaroo brand)
  • 2.5 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • ½ cup peanuts, roasted
  • Jasmine rice, to serve
  • Fried shallots
  • 1 bunch coriander


  1. Add curry paste ingredients to a blender and purée until very smooth.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium high.
  3. Season beef with salt and pepper and cook 1-2 minutes on each side until sealed and golden.
  4. Remove beef to a plate.
  5. Add coconut cream to the pan and ‘crack’ (heat until the liquid has simmered out and separated from the fat. It will be bubbling and thickened, with the texture of yoghurt).
  6. Add curry paste, turn the heat down to low, and simmer, stirring often, until the colour has deepened and the paste is very fragrant (around 10 minutes).
  7. Add beef back to pan, along with coconut milk, cinnamon and bay leaf.
  8. Cook 3-4 hours, until meat is very tender. Top up with ½ cup of water at a time if the sauce is reducing to the point of not covering the beef.
  9. 30-40 minutes before you’re ready to eat, peel your potatoes and slice them into 3cm pieces.
  10. Add potato, palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind and peanuts to the curry and stir through.
  11. Simmer until the potatoes have softened.
  12. Taste, season and balance if necessary (add more palm sugar for sweetness, fish sauce for saltiness, and tamarind for sour).
  13. Serve over jasmine rice, topped with fried shallots and coriander.

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