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Massaman Beef Curry

Loaded with tender beef, potatoes and peanuts, in a savory, spicey, sweet and tangy curry, Massaman is a Thai dish with Persian roots that perfectly melds Thai aromatics like lemongrass and galangal with Persian spices like cardamom, cloves and star anise.
Course Entree, Soups & Stews
Cuisine Best, Thai
Level Intermediate
Main Ingredient Beef
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 serving


Massaman Curry Paste

  • 25 grams dried guajillo chiles (4 chilies)
  • 1.5 grams allspice (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 18 grams lemongrass (1 stalk, finely chopped)
  • 18 grams galangal (1-inch piece, finely chopped)
  • 1.3 grams kaffir lime leaves (4 leaves, finely chopped)
  • 15 grams garlic (2 very large cloves, finely chopped)
  • 50 grams shallot (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 5 grams coriander roots (3 roots cleaned and finely chopped)

For curry

  • 25 grams tamarind pulp (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 pods star anise
  • 4 pods green cardamom
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 580 grams beef chuck (cut into 1.5-inch cubes)
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 ounce can)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 45 grams coconut sugar (~2 tablespoons)
  • 70 grams roasted peanuts (~1/2 cup)
  • 90 grams shallots
  • 400 grams small potatoes (scrubbed)


  1. Wipe and the chilies with a damp paper towel and then use scissors to open up the chiles and remove and discard the seeds and stems. Cut the chilies up into pieces and use a mortar and pestle to grind them into a powder along with the allspice. You can also use a spice grinder.
  2. To make the curry paste, add the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, shallot and coriander roots to the mortar and use a pestle to pound them into a paste. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, transfer the chili powder to a small food processor(if your food processor is too large there won't be enough mass to make this spin) and add the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, shallot and coriander roots along with 1/4 cup of water, and process until smooth.
  3. Put the tamarind pulp in a small bowl and cover with 1/3 cup boiling water. Let this soak for 5 minutes and then stir to separate the pulp from the seeds. Strain this mixture to get about 3 tablespoons of tamarind juice.
  4. Generously salt and pepper the beef. In a heavy bottomed pot such as a dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it's shimmering. Add the beef in a single layer. Let the beef brown undisturbed on one side (about 7 minutes) before flipping and browning the other side. Transfer the beef to a bowl.
  5. Add the cinnamon, star anise, cardamom and cloves and fry until fragrant (1-2 minutes)
  6. Add the curry paste to the pan and fry until it is caramelized and very fragrant (if you used a food processor and added water this will take a bit more time). Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock, fish sauce, coconut sugar and peanuts along with the tamarind juice and beef.
  7. Bring to a simmer, and then cover and turn down the heat to low. Cook for 1 hour and then add the shallots and potatoes. Continue cooking until the beef is very tender and the potatoes are cooked through (another 30-45 minutes). Adjust salt and sugar to taste with more fish sauce and coconut sugar.