A rich, fragrant Massaman curry, cooked slowly with beef until meltingly tender.

Massaman Curry

April 4, 2020
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You will be AMAZED at the richness and fragrance of this Massaman Curry with Beef … and it’s not even made from scratch! The flavours are a delicate balance between the creaminess of the coconut milk and the spiciness of the curry sauce. Follow my short cut tip for a curry that’s cooked slowly until the beef is meltingly tender.

A rich, fragrant Massaman curry, cooked slowly with beef until meltingly tender.

Massaman Curry

Massaman curry is a rich, coconut milk-based Thai curry. Compared to other curries, Massaman is relatively mild. It uses an impressive list of spices which can vary slightly from recipe to recipe. Here’s what a Massaman curry paste can contain: cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cumin, bay leaves, nutmeg and mace. These are combined with flavours such chili peppers, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, Kaffir lime leaves, white pepper, shallots and garlic. I told you it was a long list!

Short Cut Tip

Massaman Curry is worth every bit of effort if you choose to make it from scratch. My short cut tip, a store bought curry paste, cuts down on prep time and the list of ingredients required. There are many brands of commercial curry pastes that you can choose from. My preferred brand for this curry is Maesri Massaman Curry Paste.

Optional Extras

As an optional step, l suggest adding lime juice, one cinnamon quill, brown sugar, star anise and fish sauce as a supplement to the store bought curry paste. These ingredients add freshness and further enhance that beautiful balance of sweet, salty and sour found in Asian cooking.

Massaman Curry is everything a curry should be. Rich, creamy and comforting.

Can’t argue with that!



Butter Chicken
Thai Green Curry
Red Lentil Dahl
Soft Roti

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 4


The Beef

  • 1 kg/2 lbs chuck steak cut into 4 cm/2.5 ” cubes (note 1)
  • 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch (note 2)

The Curry

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 tbsp Massaman curry paste (store bought) (note 3)
  • 400 ml/14 fl oz beef stock/broth
  • 400 ml/14 fl oz coconut milk
  • 8 white baby potatoes, washed and cut in half

Optional Extras

  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 Kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced
  • juice of 1 lime


  • Asian fried shallots (store bought) (note 4)
  • 1/2 cup of peanuts
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs of coriander


  1. Coat the beef with cornflour/cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pot over high heat.
  3. Add the beef and brown well. I brown until the beef is quite dark. You may need to cook in 2 batches to prevent beef from stewing.
  4. Turn down heat to moderate high. Add the curry paste. Stir until beef is well coated. Cook for 2 mins.
  5. Add the beef stock and coconut milk. Stir gently.
  6. Add the brown sugar, fish sauce, cinnamon quills, star anise and thinly sliced Kaffir lime leaves. Simmer covered for 1hr 45 mins.
  7. Place the potatoes in the pot. Simmer uncovered for 30 mins or until potatoes have cooked through.
  8. Add the lime juice. Stir.
  9. Serve with steamed rice. Garnishes are optional, but they do add colour to an otherwise very brown dish.


  1. Massaman curry is made with larger pieces of meat and cooked until tender. I have made the mistake of cutting the beef into bite size pieces. The result was that the meat basically dissolved into the curry sauce.
  2. Cornflour helps tenderise the meat. It’s often used in Asian cooking.
  3. There are many different brands of Massaman to choose from and most can be found in supermarkets. My preferred brand for this curry is Maesri which can be bought from Asian supermarkets.
  4. Asian Fried Shallots are a crisp, salty garnish that tastes divine. I have been known to eat them straight from the jar. They can been found in supermarkets in Australia and in Asian grocery stores.

You Might Also Like...


  • Avatar
    April 8, 2020 at 8:52 am

    This meal is such a delight! No longer dependant on the local Indian take away to get a curry fix.

    • Danielle
      April 8, 2020 at 10:28 am

      Thank you G&T. The short cut tip really makes it easier without sacrificing flavour.

Leave a Reply

Never Miss a Recipe!

Get our latest recipe delivered straight to your inbox!
Enter your email address below.