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Beef massaman curry

(Massaman nuar)


30 mins

Super Easy

When I was living in Hong Kong, my friend suggested we cook a Massaman curry for our dinner party. Because I was from the north of Thailand, we didn’t grow up with this dish that’s more popular in the south. Over the years, we helped each other perfected the recipe and I have been using it ever since! Follow this recipe and it’s guaranteed that it will be a crowd-pleaser.

Swap beef with firm tofu, cut into 1-inch chunks for a veggie-friendly, but equally good, alternative!

Make your own massaman curry paste with our homemade recipe.





  • ½ teaspoon cumin

  • 5 cardamom pods

  • 5 cloves

  • 1 small cinnamon stick (or ½ a teaspoon ground cinnamon)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 generous tablespoons Massaman Curry Paste

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (or 5 very small onions, peeled and used whole)

  • 400ml (14fl oz) coconut milk, plus extra to serve

  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar

  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar

  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (use 2 teaspoons of salt instead for a vegetarian version)

  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste

  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 200g (7oz) beef sirloin, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 2 tablespoons beef or vegetable stock (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons roasted cashew nuts

  • 5 pieces of chopped pineapple

  • 5 pieces of chopped pineapple

  • 5 pieces of chopped pineappleSteamed rice, to serve


  1. Roast the cumin, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in a dry frying pan set over a medium heat, stirring continuously for a few minutes, until their aroma fills the air. Crush the spices using a pestle and mortar and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir in the curry paste, crushed roasted spices, bay leaves and onion and cook until it is fragrant and the oil separates and rises to the surface.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Add half the coconut milk and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add the palm sugar, caster sugar, fish sauce and a pinch of salt. Cook for a minute, then stir in the tamarind sauce.
  6. Add the potato and the beef. Simmer for 10–15 minutes until the beef is tender.
  7. Add the rest of the coconut milk. If the sauce still seems too dry, add a little stock.
  8. Cook for another minute until everything is mixed well, then add the nuts and pineapple.
  9. Season to taste. The curry should have a perfect balance of salty, sweet and sour.
  10. Ladle into a serving bowl and drizzle over a little coconut milk. Serve with steamed rice.



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