Beef Massaman

, from Issue #92. August, 2020
Photography by Sarah Tuck.
Beef Massaman

Massaman is such a pleasingly mild and warming curry – like a hug in a bowl…

Serves: 6


1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
4 whole cloves

2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 red chillies, roughly chopped
½ cup roasted peanuts

2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
½ cup water
2 stalks lemongrass, hard outer leaves removed, bruised
4 whole star anise
1 bay leaf
1.5 kilograms beef cheeks, shin or stewing steak,
cut into 5cm pieces
350 grams baby potatoes (I used coloured gourmet ones)

To serve
¼ cup fried shallots
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
⅓ cup fresh coriander


Spices: Add all the spices to a dry frying pan and toast for
a few minutes until fragrant. Place in a small food processor and whizz or grind in a mortar and pestle.

Paste: Add the paste ingredients to the food processor and whizz together.

Curry: Bring the coconut milk to a boil in a large heavy-based pot, then simmer until the oil has separated and is floating on the top. Add the curry paste and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the shrimp paste, water, lemongrass, star anise and bay leaf. Add the beef, cover and simmer gently for 3½ hours. Remove the lid and simmer for a further ¾ hour. Add the potatoes and simmer for a final 20 minutes until they are cooked through.

To serve: Garnish with fried shallots, roasted peanuts and fresh coriander before serving.