This complex, aromatic, beef Massaman curry recipe is an absolute show stopper! It truly is one of my “Trapped on an Island” meals, I could it eat forever.
Make it on a rainy weekend when you just wanna lounge around the house, watch football, and smell good smells. Just remember, like everything in life, the good stuff takes a little time and effort. I hope y’all enjoy!Jump to Recipe
“This curry makes me wanna take my clothes off.”– Neighbor (not allowed over anymore)
What is Massaman Curry
Beef massaman curry is a testament to the wonderful things that can happen when cultures come together.
Massaman Curry combines Persian flavors with traditional Thai flavors to create a one of a kind, intensely complex dish. Its middle eastern roots bring spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, and cardamon.
While the Thai side brings curry staples like lemongrass, peppercorns, garlic, and shallots, amongst others. Pork is forbidden in Islam and you won’t usually see it in a Massaman Curry. It is traditionally cooked with chicken.
BEEF MASSAMAN CURRY
Beef Massaman Curry Ingredients
Don’t listen to these jokers who make beef Massaman curry with Red Curry Paste and Peanut butter. It just isn’t the same, and they should all be ashamed of themselves for leading so many people away from the promise land.
If I’m coming of a little preachy, its because eating this curry is a religious experience.
So grab these items to make this beef Massaman curry recipe.
- Protein: So in addition to the Massaman Curry Paste, you’re gonna need to grab a couple other staples to get started. Massaman Curry, more often than not is served with Chicken, here we’re obviously using beef, but feel free to mix up the protein. Tofu and lamb are other popular options.
- Spices: Citrus, Spice, sweet, sour, nutty, aromatic, this beef Massaman curry has more flavors than Baskin Robbins.
- Curry Paste: Skip the store bought stuff and make your own! Try our recipe, Massaman Curry Paste.
- Potatoes: Don’t forget the starch! Potatoes are a must in this curry. They soak up all that beautiful sauce and just make the dish nice and hearty. I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes, but every now and then I’ll use a purple yam or a sweet potato. Just make sure to add the potato and onion during the last 15-20 minutes of the cook. Otherwise, they’ll just become mush. If you serve mush everyone will make fun of you, and you won’t have any friends.
- Coconut Cream or Coconut Milk: Personally I do cream and milk. I like a soupier curry to help drench the rice. But if you want a thicker curry leave out the milk or just use half.
- Stock: You can also use water, broth, or stock if you need to thin out the sauce or just cover all the ingredients being simmered.
Massaman Curry Paste?
Can I just use the store bought stuff?
Absolutely! In fact, most people in Thailand buy the pre made stuff. But most Americans go to McDonald’s for a burger.
Do you wanna cook? Or do you wanna be a basic B? Pour a glass of wine, turn off the tv, turn up the music, and enjoy creating something.
The smells emanating thorough-out your house will be worth it alone. So buy the store bought stuff if you’re pressed for time, otherwise try cooking Massaman Curry Paste from scratch! You can instagram it, people will like it! #hooray
Cilantro root is part of the holly trinity of Thai aromatics. Along with garlic and peppercorns they make up the basis of most traditional curry pastes. But, outside of a farmers market it can be hard to find cilantro root. So when I’m making curry paste, I use the stems and the leafs.
I should note, there is a cosmetic consequence to this substitutions. When you smash the cilantro leaf in a mortar or pestle, it oxidizes and turns a brownish hue.
Don’t worry, it tastes great and I would say its essential to the flavor. If you’re more vain than I, just try only using the stems.
If helpful, I recently shared my favorite Massaman curry paste recipe.
How to Cook Beef Massaman Curry
Step 1: Brown the Beef
Warm the vegetable oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven. Toss the beef chunks in the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Transfer to the dutch oven and sear until golden brown, 4-5 minutes
Step 2: Add the Aromatics
Add the Curry Paste and coat the browned meat, turn down heat and simmer for a minute. Add the coconut cream, milk, palm sugar, and cinnamon sticks. Mix, simmer, and cover for 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Step 3: Add the Onions & Potatoes
Cut the onions into 1/8ths, set aside. Dice potatoes into 2 inch cubes, set aside.
After the curry has been simmering for an hour and 40 minutes. Add the potatoes, onions, orange juice, zest and the peanuts. Stir and cover. Let simmer for another 15- 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Step 4: Garnish & Serve
Serve your beef massaman curry with jasmine or sticky rice. Garnish with more peanuts, cilantro, Thai chili’s, and more curry paste if desired.
How to Make Beef Massaman Curry Video
Massaman Curry Variations
Massaman Curry is traditionally a chicken curry. But feel free to use whatever protein you prefer, or try our Vegetarian Massaman Curry Recipe.
Frankie and I live in Portland, Oregon and Eem, is one of our favorite restaurants. They’re self described as Thai/Texas BBQ fusion. They serve a white curry with brisket burnt ends that will bring you to your knees. This recipe definitely isn’t that.
But, Texas BBQ isn’t usually fused with Thai cuisine and Massaman Curry isn’t traditionally served with Beef. So I guess what I’m saying is, break rules, break all the rules.
Beef Massaman Curry Slow Cooker
Can I use my slow cooker for this Beef Massaman Curry recipe? Short answer, yes. But I would ask you, why? I see a lot of people asking this question and I’m a little confused. Unless you don’t have a dutch oven or a stock pot, a slow cooker is just gonna… well, be slow.
Cooking Massaman curry the way I’ve laid out here is still gonna take at least 2 hours. It’s a bit of a commitment, but in the dutch oven, you can keep everything in one pot.
If you do it in the slow cooker you still need to brown your meat and onions in a skillet, mix everything up with the paste and the coconut milk, and THEN transfer to a slow cooker for upwards of 8 hours!
I suppose if you wanted to do the actual kitchen work in the morning; throw it in the slow cooker, go to work, and come home to a warm meal, that makes sense. Otherwise, this is one of the times the slow cooker does NOT make things easier.
Whatever vessel you ultimately decide to make this Beef Massaman Curry recipe in, it’s gonna make you happy.
Here are some frequently asked questions about beef massaman curry, along with their answers:
What is massaman curry?
Massaman curry is a Thai curry that is made with a blend of aromatic spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
It is typically made with beef or chicken, along with potatoes and other vegetables. The curry is simmered in a coconut milk-based sauce and is often served with rice.
Is massaman curry spicy?
Massaman curry is not typically as spicy as some other Thai curries, such as green curry or red curry.
However, the level of spiciness can vary depending on the type of curry paste used and the amount of chili peppers included.
If you are sensitive to spicy food, you can ask for a milder curry or omit the chili peppers altogether.
Can massaman curry be made with other proteins?
While massaman curry is typically made with beef, it can also be made with other proteins, such as chicken or lamb. It can also be made with tofu for a vegetarian option.
Can massaman curry be made in advance?
Yes, massaman curry can be made in advance and stored in the fridge or freezer. To store it in the fridge, place the cooked curry in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To store it in the freezer, wrap the curry in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in a freezer-safe bag. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat the curry, simply reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.
Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry Beef Massaman Curry