Thai Massaman Curry

Thai Massaman Curry

This is a Thai curry of Muslim origin. Typically made with beef, but works very well with pork too. Sometimes referred to as brown curry (as opposed to red, green and yellow). This is a rich delicious and very simple curry to prepare.

Serves4 Origin Far East
Preparation 10mins Heat rating (Medium)
Cooking 1-2hrs (depending on the meat used) Ease (Very easy)
Vegetarian No


2 Tsps Thai Massaman Curry
600-800g chuck steak, cut into 3/4cm chunks or pork shoulder cut into 3/4cm chunks
400ml coconut milk
3 tbsps cooking oil
1 small finely chopped onion
2 fat gloves of garlic finely chopped
200g of waxy new potatoes, such as Charlotte
8 shallots, peeled, halved
2 tbsp fish sauce
1-1 ½ tsp tamarind pulp or a generous squeeze of lime juice (only at the end of the cooking time).
40g peanuts, shells removed, roasted (optional)
1 handful fresh Thai sweet basil leaves and/or coriander leaves (optional), to garnish
Crushed birds eye chilli flakes optional to taste.


Blend the Massaman powder with 1 tbsp of cooking oil stir into a paste. Heat the remaining oil in a casserole over a medium high heat. Add the finely chopped onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium to gently sweat the onions and garlic. When the onions are softened and translucent add the Massaman paste. Fry for a further 2/3 mins over a medium to low heat. Next add the can of coconut milk and raise the heat, let the coconut milk and the spices simmer for at least five minutes.

Add the beef or pork, and the fish sauce. Stir cover and cook. If using beef it will take at least 1 ½ hrs cooking time for the pork approximately 45mins. Add the potatoes and the shallots 25/30 mins before the end of the cooking time. If the sauce is too thick add a little water to lossen it. Taste to check the seasoning add more fish sauce if not salty enough. Add some chilli flakes if you prefer it hotter, remember a touch of sugar may be necessary if increasing the heat to balance the final flavours. Add the tamarind pulp for a touch of sharpness, if you are using lime juice only add this at the very end of the cooking time otherwise it could cause a little bitterness to the curry. Finally add fresh Thai basil and or coriander leaves.

Serve with Thai Jasmine rice or basmati rice.

Try using the Massaman blend to make the wonderful Duck Curry with lychees (on the recipe page)

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