Thai Beef Massaman Curry

Total Time
1hr 45mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins

This recipe is from Brigitte Hafner. When I made it I found I had to add quite a bit of water in the last 15 minutes to stop it getting too dry, just keep an eye on it and stir frequently. I used rump steak as that was all I had, but I marinaded it for 24 hours in a tenderising marinade and it was absolutely amazing. I made this in a nonstick wok so you may like to use more oil if you don't have one of these. Also, I used pre-cooked potatoes to make it a little faster and just reheated them in the curry (but they would taste nicer cooked in).

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Trim meat of excess fat and sinew and cut into 2-3cm cubes.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pot and fry the onion until brown.
  3. Add the meat, season and continue to brown all over.
  4. From top of the coconut milk tin, scoop out the thick cream and add to the pot.
  5. Add curry paste, lower the heat and cook gently for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the water, remaining coconut milk, cinnamon and bay leaves and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
  7. Add the potatoes and cook for another 30 min or until the meat and potatoes are tender. You may need to add a little water as the curry is cooking.
  8. Season to taste with fish sauce, palm sugar (see TIP) and tamarind paste.
  9. Garnish with peanuts and coriander and serve with steamed basmati or jasmine rice.
  10. ---TIP---.
  11. Shaving palm sugar can be a pain, especially when the sugar is a little dried out. I buy it in discs, so now I just pop a disc in a cup with a little water (about 1 T) and microwave it on high for 30 seconds. Stir, and you will find it dissolves. You can then add this liquid to your curry to taste.
Most Helpful

Very mixed reactions to this where I really enjoyed though we thought it was a bit watery but then my coconut milk had no cream in it which may have effected that factor but I did use twice as much meat (gravy/shin beef) and simmered for 1 1/4 hours and then added the potatoes for the last 3/4 of an hour, the DH at first sight thought that potatoes would not be cooked but they were beautifully tender as was the meat, I think if making again I would do the last 3/4 hours with the lid off to give thickness to the sauce. Thank you Chickee, made for Aussie/Kiwi Swap #31 August 2009.

I'mPat August 08, 2009

This was so, so good. Made it for a thai-style dinner party and my friends loved it...there wasn't a scrap left. I had to add water during cooking. Will add lime leaves next time (thanks JustJanS) as it would give the super rich flavours a gentle lift.

OzLolly February 14, 2009

This was soooo good thanks Chickee. I planned to make my curry paste, but after a bad sleep last night couldn't get enthusiastic about it. I bought a Valcom brand one instead. The instructions on it said 4 tablespoons of paste to one can of milk, but I thought to myself, I'll go with Chickee's instructions and I'm so glad I did. It is a mild paste and I think less would have made the dish lack flavour (which it certainly did not!). The recipe for paste I planned to use had lime leaves in it, so I added two finely shredded to the curry-otherwise no alterations to your recipe. I had to remove the lid for about the last 15 minutes as it was too wet and runny-funny yours needed extra water! I had everything except the meat (I used gravy beef) and the paste on hand, so a good pantry meal for us.

JustJanS February 08, 2009