Massaman curry is a Southern Thai curry that is mild yet full of creamy flavors from the Massaman curry paste. This easy and quick beef Massaman curry recipe uses only four spices: cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom, and bay leaf. The simplicity makes this recipe a perfect dinner that you can put together in less than 30 minutes!
What kind of curry is Massaman?
Massaman curry is a mildly spicy and sweet Thai curry dish. It originates from the South of Thailand where Malaysian, Indian, and Muslim influences combine for a unique culture. The word “Massaman” actually derives from the word Muslim, thus giving the curry it’s well-known name. Though the curry originated from the South, it is made and enjoyed throughout the whole of Thailand and around the world too!
What makes Massaman curry different?
As I’m sure you are aware, there are countless curries in Thai cuisine. Massaman curry paste, used for making massaman curry, is a little different than the rest because it uses several spices that most other curries do not include. Massaman curry is also one of the least spicy curries compared to the other fiery Thai curries. Massaman curry also is very rich and creamy from all the aromatic fresh herbs and coconut milk.
What is Massaman curry paste made of?
Massaman curry paste is usually made from several spices and herbs that make the curry extra flavorful. Those spices are coriander seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, chilis, cumin seeds, white or black peppercorns, shallots, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, and shrimp paste. The process of toasting the dry spices to extract the oil, then combining those with fresh herbs to make a thick fine paste, makes Massaman curry one of the most fragrant curry pastes in Thai cooking. My easy beef Massaman curry recipe calls for store-bought Massaman curry paste to help you make a quick and easy curry for when you don't have time to make your own paste.
What do you eat with Massaman curry?
Massaman curry is typically eaten with cooked Jasmine rice. This beef massaman curry recipe uses potatoes which makes it a hearty and rich meal on its own. Sometimes it’s best eaten without rice. That’s how I enjoy it! It’s a lot lighter on my belly when I skip the rice. Try it some time!
What does Massaman curry taste like?
Thai Massaman curry typically uses some sort of potatoes with meat, coconut milk, and coconut cream, making the curry very creamy and lightly flavored. The additional use of herbs and spices, in addition to the Massaman curry paste, gives the curry a rich flavor that is still mild enough for those new to curry dishes. The salty and sweet taste comes from the sugar and salt added to the paste and the actual dish itself during the cooking process.
Is Massaman curry healthy?
This beef massaman curry recipe is relatively healthy depending on your definition of what healthy is. (: Thai cuisine is generally healthier than most western food due to the added spices, herbs, vegetables, and minimal sugar. Massman curry calls for coconut milk and sugar for the added creamy sweetness to balance out the salty and spicy taste. Those ingredients are essential in Thai cooking but it's never excessive. Everything in moderation is key! You will find that my recipes call for less sugar than most Thai restaurants in the U.S. but also a bit spicier too! Adjust the spiciness as needed of course! (:
What are the ingredients I need for this Beef Massaman curry recipe?
Well there you go, a photo al all the ingredients to make my Thai beef Massaman curry recipe! Feel free to screenshot or take a photo of this image to take with you when you to the Asian market to grab your ingredients.
How to make Thai beef massaman curry
Below is the step by step instructions, in photos, on how to make this easy Thai beef massaman curry recipe.
- Dry roast the spices, (cinnamon, cardamom, star anise) until fragrant, 2 mins or less
- Heat on medium-high a Dutch oven or medium-sized soup pot until warm, add oil and the Massaman curry paste. Stir the oil and the curry paste together to break up the clumps for 1 minute or less.
- Add the coconut cream and cook until the cream starts to separate, 2-3 minutes. Stir a couple of times, but keep a close watch on the paste to not let it burn.
- Add beef and turn the heat down to medium, cook for 3 minutes or until beef is barely cooked through.
- Add the coconut milk, potatoes and onion, and spices including bay leaf. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Stir well.
- Add the peanuts, sugar, and fish sauce. Stir well. Also, check to see if the potatoes are tender with a fork. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add tamarind sauce last, stir well together, give it a taste to adjust as desired using fish sauce, sugar, and/or tamarind sauce. Add a small amount first, stir and sample until your taste buds are happy. Enjoy.