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Massaman Beef Curry

Massaman Beef Curry

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We had our first taste of Massaman Beef Curry during a trip to Thailand several years ago. The flavor completely took us by surprise and it has since become one of our favorite Thai dishes.

It’s use of cinnamon, star anise and cardamom gives it an unusual flavor that sets it apart from other Thai curries.

Although, when ordering it outside of Thailand I find that the use of these spices tends to be muted – when the they should be playing a starring role.

We’ve included our recipe for Homemade Massaman Curry Paste, which is easy to make and will give you more of an authentic Thai Massaman Curry Flavor.

Premade Massaman Curry Pastes are also available to make the recipe quick and easy.

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I chose beef for this recipe, but you can substitute with another protein such as chicken, duck or pork. I also suggest serving the curry over coconut rice. 

Coconut rice, as the name suggests, is made with coconut milk rather than just plain water. So the flavor is enhances and the overall dish it is served with is even better. 

Here are some additional Asian inspired recipes that you might enjoy:

Yield: 4 Servings

Homemade Massaman Curry Paste

Homemade Massaman Curry Paste

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 5 Dried Red Spur Chilies (without seeds) or 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Shallots
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemongrass with outer leaves removed
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Kaffir Lime Rind (grated)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon Shrimp Paste substitute 1 tablespoon Chinese Oyster Sauce if unable to locate


  1. Place the garlic, shallot, ginger, lemongrass into a tinfoil pouch. Roast for approximately 35 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven, until the ingredients are soft. Allow them to cool and then remove the skin from the garlic, ginger and shallot.
  2. In the mean time, place the cumin, coriander and cloves in a pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until they become aromatic.
  3. Place the dried chilies in a warm water and soak for 10 minutes.
  4. Place all of the ingredients in a mortar and mash with a pestle until they are fully combined. You can alternately use a food processor.
  5. The paste is ready to use. You can also store it in a glass container with a lid and some vegetable oil covering the surface and it will keep for up to 3 months.
Yield: 4 Servings

Massaman Beef Curry

Massaman Beef Curry

Massaman Beef Curry - A Thai Dish using more unusual ingredients such as star anise. Our recipe for Homemade Massaman Curry Paste is included

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 Pound (.45 kg) Sirloin Beef (or other protein such as chicken) Cut into 1" (2.5 cm) thin slices
  • 2 Medium Sized Potatoes, Peeled, Cut into 1" (2.5 cm) cubes
  • 1 Small White Onion, Cut into Quarters
  • 3 Tablespoons (42 g) Massaman Curry Paste*
  • 2 1/2 Cups (591 ml) Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 Cup (40 g )Whole Roasted Peanuts
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3 Cardamon Seeds
  • 3 Pods Star Anise
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup (50 g) Palm Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons (60 ml) Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)
  • 4 1/2 Teaspoons (21 g) Tamarind Paste (use white vinegar if unable to locate)
  • 1 Inch of Cinnamon Stick


  1. Add the potato cubes to a pan of salted water, making sure they are completely submerged by about 2 inches (5 cm).
  2. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Test for doneness after 12 minutes. When the potatoes are fork-tender, remove them from the heat, drain and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok over medium high heat. Add the curry paste, Star Anise and Cardamon Pods and cook until it becomes aromatic (about 2 - 3 minutes).
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring occasionally.
  6. Continue to cook until the beef is cooked through and the sauce has reduced (about 10 minutes).
  7. Adjust the seasoning.
  8. Remove from heat and allow the dish to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
  9. Serve over steamed rice (or coconut rice)


*If using a prepared curry, start with half of the recommended amount in the recipe as they can contain additional salt

Calories can be reduced by using low-fat coconut milk, but the texture will be less creamy and the flavor less intense.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 633Total Fat 32.4gSaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 102mgSodium 945mgCarbohydrates 46.4gFiber 6.9gSugar 24gProtein 40.4g



Saturday 12th of November 2016

Looks delish!

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