Entertaining this year? Try our Slow Cooked Beef Massaman Curry

Added December 11, 2018 in ,

Hot traditional Thai beef massaman curry with peanuts and rice side dish close up. horizontal view from above

Slow Cooked Beef Massaman Curry by Hugh Junior.

When entertaining for Christmas, people tend to over think and over complicate. Whether its a big or small crowd however, a good curry recipe will never let you down. This recipe in particular is perfect if you are stuck for time between all the coming and goings around the festive period.

Why Slow Cooked Beef Massaman Curry?

With a thai curry the sweet/spicy/zesty/creamy combinations are endless.  I love a quick green thai chicken curry for a midweek meal, but a slow cooked curry with lovely juicy chunks of meat that fall apart and with the tastiest , saucy potatoes? Now that’s something else entirely!! I made the massaman curry paste for this meal from scratch.  It’s pretty simple to do, but shop bought curry paste works really well too.

In this recipe, I’ve used Massaman, Korma and Madras pastes (yes, I know the last two are Indian rather than Thai, it was what I had in at the time) and they all tasted great.

If you do go with a shop bought paste, I’d recommend you reduce the amount to about 4 tbsp, as shop bought it usually more concentrated.

Also, if you’re making this for kids or people who don’t like hot , spicy food, you can leave the chillies out of the paste, and just throw some chopped chillies in at the end, once you’ve dished out the non-chilli portions.  It doesn’t give quite the same depth of heat, but is a good compromise rather than making two pots of curry.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Serves 6

For the Massaman paste – makes about 6 tbsp

  •    1 chopped red onion 
  •     3 red chillies, roughly chopped
  •     2 tsp ground coriander
  •     2 tsp ground cumin
  •     ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  •     ½ tsp white pepper
  •     3 garlic cloves peeled
  •     2 sticks of lemongrass (smash slightly)
  •     5cm piece of ginger peeled and roughly chopped
  •     1 tsp shrimp paste (optional)
  •     3 tsp fish sauce, make sure it’s a gluten free brand if needed
  •     1 tsp brown sugar
  •     Small bunch fresh coriander, you’ll be using the leaves later to serve, so just wrap them in a bit of damp tissue to keep them fresh
  •   1/2 tsp salt

Other curry ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 kg chuck beef (rib steak) chopped into chunks
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 400 ml beef stock – 2 stock cubes with water is fine
  • 400 ml can coconut milk
  • 2 large red or white potatoes peeled and chopped into chunks
  • Juice of 1 lime

To Serve:

  • Boiled rice
  • Chopped fresh coriander
  • Chopped red chillies
  • Lime wedges


1.     Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms a paste. Set aside.


2.     Heat the oil in a large pan. Toss the chopped beef in the cornflour, salt and pepper. Fry the meat in the oil for about 5 mins on medium to high heat. The beef will probably stick a bit to the pan, so you might need to give it a little scrape with a spatula.


3.     Once the beef has cooked for 5 mins, turn down the heat a little and add in the spice paste you made earlier. Give it a stir to coat the beef and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Then add in the beef stock and coconut milk. Give everything a stir (make sure you give any bits stuck at the bottom of the pan a scrape), place the lid on and gently simmer on a low heat for 1 hour 45 mins (alternatively you can place in the oven at about 160C/320F). Give it a stir every so often. If it’s starting to look dry you can add in some more beef stock or water.


4.     After the 1 hour 45 mins, add in the potatoes, give it a stir and cook for a further 25 – 30 mins until the potatoes are tender (this is a good time to start cooking your rice too).


5.     Take out of the oven and mix in the lime juice. Serve the curry on a bed of rice with a sprinkling of coriander, fresh chillies and a wedge of lime.


We hope you enjoy,

Thanks Hugh Junior.

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