A Massaman curry will always be one of my favourite dishes. Rich and creamy and ideal for a feast. My problem is that when I feel like a Massaman curry I often find myself unable to decide between Lamb Shank Massaman
, Chicken Massaman
or this Beef Massaman. Sometimes my decision might be influenced by the time available to me because a Beef Massaman should never be made with a lean quick cooking cut of steak. Instead, it benefits greatly by being cooked with a far tougher cut of beef that will require long slow cooking in the sauce to the point where it is just about to fall apart. For this reason, I use a cut such as beef shin or at least braising steak to make this dish. I’m often asked about using a slow cooker for Thai curries, any recipe using coconut milk in a slow cooker has to be adapted so please read this article here first. Slow cooker curry. Make sure you’re using the “right” type of coconut milk as it will make or break this or any other coconut based curry. Quick guide here, Coconut Milk Summary or if you would like to see the difference between different brands of coconut milk the full article is here, Cooking Thai Curry with Coconut Milk.
I’m using around 500 g of beef and about 200 g of small potatoes, a can of coconut milk and one pouch of Massaman paste. If you want to garnish it as in the photo above then you will also need an onion and some peanuts. The pastes are complete but it is always a good idea to have a little lime juice to hand to adjust sweetness, if needed, to your personal taste at the end of cooking. You also adjust saltiness by adding a little more fish sauce or salt if required.
Halve the potatoes and sauté in a little oil until quite brown. Don't peel the potatoes but cook them in their skins to stop them breaking down later in the sauce.
Sauté some thinly sliced onion (if using) until crisp and brown and leave to dry on kitchen paper.
Remove the potatoes from the pan and add the beef. Sauté until nicely browned.
Remove beef from pan and reserve.
Add the Massaman curry paste to the pan and heat for a couple of minutes. Add the can of coconut milk.
Bring coconut milk to the boil and then reduce heat.
Add meat to pan and stir through.
Add potatoes to pan and then cover. Cook on a very low heat until meat is tender stirring from time to time topping up liquid level with water if needed. You can also cook in the oven at 170C. Cooking time can take 2-3 hours depending on the cut of meat. When meat is tender enough turn off the heat and allow to sit for five minutes. Some oil will probably have separated from the coconut, if so you can use a spoon to skim off the excess, however you should leave some oil behind for an authentic Massaman.
Serve and enjoy!
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This is a totally delicious way to serve roast chicken as well as being very simple to prepare. Cooking a whole chicken this way is practised in various forms throughout Asia, sometimes pot roasted, sometimes over hot coals and with many different curry pastes. Often cooked in the home, rather than restaurants, which is probably the reason why many Westerners are not familiar with the dish. Well, now is the time to change that and I promise you that you won't regret it!
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