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How To Make Beef Massaman Curry

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It’s hard to beat a good Beef Massaman!

Beef Massaman curry is believed to have been brought to Thailand by Persian sea merchants and judging from the spices used, it most likely was.

You can see the Indian and Persian influences in the choice of spices like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves which aren’t seen in many Thai curries.

You don’t want to rush this one! The meat is cooked when it’s cooked. So low and slow is the rule.

Beef Massaman Curry

You have to try this authentic beef Massaman curry! So good and easy to make too.

Getting this Beef Massaman right…

The secret to perfection is making homemade Beef Massaman paste.

I make my own massaman curry paste which really adds an authentic and delicious flavour to the curry. Massaman curry paste is now readily available at most supermarkets so you could just buy some but the end result won’t be as good.


Still go for it though. There are some good quality massaman curry pastes out there. I like this one.

Working ahead…

You can cook the meat and potatoes ahead of time. 

This ensure you get a delicious stock to use in your curries and that the meat and potatoes are cooked to perfection.

This can be done a day or two ahead of serving.

You can also make your Massaman curry paste a couple of days in advance. 

Making Beef Massaman

Start by pre-cooking the meat. This will take a good 90 minutes or longer.

Ingredients for Beef Massaman curry

It’s always a good idea to get your ingredients together before cooking.

Step by step cooking…

Frying onions and peanuts

With the beef and potatoes cooked, saute the onions and peanuts in a little oil in a large wok or pan.

Adding Massaman paste to pan

Add the Massaman curry paste. You could make your own or purchase it at the shop. If using a commercial brand, don’t use as much. Add it to taste.

Adding coconut milk and beef to pan

Add the beef to the pan along with about 250ml (1 cup) of the cooking liquid, the coconut milk, and tamarind concentrate.

Simmering curry

Bring to a simmer and cook until happy with the consistency. Stir in the fish sauce.

Love Thai food? Try some of these delicious recipes!

Thai Green Curry
Thai Red Curry
Chicken Satay and peanut sauce
Steamed Sea Bass with Garlic and Lime Sauce
Tom Yum Gai
Tom Kha Gai
Hot and Sour Prawn Soup
Pad Thai

Beef Massaman curry

Serve with rice or on its own.

Beef Massaman curry

I think you’re going to love this.

Beef Massaman curry

Dig in!

Yield: 4

How To Make Beef Massaman Curry

Beef Massaman curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 700g (1lb 9oz) stewing beef
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into
  • bite-size pieces
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1⁄2 red onion, quartered
  • Handful of roasted peanuts
  • 1 batch of massaman curry paste
  • 400ml (13⁄4 cups) thick coconut
  • milk
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • Salt, to taste
  • Thai holy basil, to garnish


  1. Place the beef in a saucepan and pour 500ml (2 cups) of water over it. Bring to a simmer and cook for 11⁄2–2 hours until the meat is really tender. You will probably need to add more water but only add just enough to cover. You want the stock to be really flavourful from the beef.
  2. When the meat is almost tender enough to eat, stir in the potatoes and cook until fork tender.
  3. While the meat is cooking, you can start making the curry. In
    a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium–high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the onion and peanuts. Fry for about 3 minutes, then add the curry paste. Stir well to combine with the oil and onions.
  4. Now add the coconut milk, sugar and tamarind paste, followed by the beef, potatoes, about 250ml (1 cup) of the cooking liquid and the fish sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt to taste. Garnish with a few leaves of holy basil and serve.

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John Stephenson

Saturday 26th of December 2020

Hi could you please say how much massaman paste you put in if you buy it as there is a lot more when you buy it than your home made.



Dan Toombs

Monday 28th of December 2020

I would say add 2-3 generous tablespoons at first then more to taste. This is less than my home made one as that has a lot more in it. Thanks Dan

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