Thai Massaman Beef Curry Recipe

Thai Massaman Beef Curry Recipe
This Thai Massaman Beef Curry Recipe is sumptuous and very flavorful! It's a homemade recipe with no need for any store-bought curry paste or powder. The ingredients list may seem long, but the sauce is quite easy to make - you don't even need a food processor. Just toss all sauce ingredients into the curry pot as you prepare them, and simmer together with the meat. Note that lamb and chicken are often traditionally substituted for beef, and that both meats make for a delicious massaman curry. Also note that bay leaves are normally used in massaman curry rather than the harder-to-find kaffir lime leaves. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: SERVES 4-6


  • 1-2 pounds beef (lamb or chicken can also be used), cut into cubes or thin pieces
  • 2+1/2 cups good-tasting chicken or beef stock
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1-2 potatoes, sliced into chunks
  • handful fresh coriander or basil
  • 1 thumb-piece ginger, grated
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk lemongrass , minced - see link for instructions, OR 2-3 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass
  • 1 red chili, sliced, OR 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. chili flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts or cashews
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. cardamon
  • 1 tsp. tamarind, or substitute 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian stores)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 14 ounce (400 ml) can coconut milk (not lite)


  1. Place stock in a large pot over high heat. Add the meat, onion and bay leaves. If using fresh lemongrass, also add the upper leftover stalk pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, until you get a nice simmer. Cover or partially-cover with a lid and simmer 40 to 80 minutes, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender or near-tender (Note: you can also choose to skip this step - see note below recipe).
  2. Add all 'curry sauce' ingredients, stirring with each addition. If desired, hold back a few tablespoons of the coconut milk for serving. Also add the potatoes. Return to a boil, then continue simmering 30 more minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Taste-test the curry, adding more fish sauce for increased flavor/saltiness, or more chili if you want it spicier. If too sour, add a little more sugar. If too salty or sweet for your taste, add a touch more tamarind or lime juice. If too spicy, add more coconut milk (regular dairy cream or homo milk will work too).
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl, or plate up on individual plates or bowls. Top with fresh coriander or basil plus some additional nuts if desired. Drizzle over reserved coconut milk (if desired), and serve with Thai jasmine rice. ENJOY!
Time-Saving Tip: In this recipe I have chosen to pre-boil the meat for more tenderness - it takes longer, but I find the resulting taste worth it. However, if you're in a hurry, you can easily cut back on this step (if simmering meat 30 minutes or less, leave off lid or reduce stock to 2 cups).
Other Vegetables: Other vegetables that are good in this curry include eggplant, green beans, and tomato.