Beef Curry: Massaman Style

Beef Curry – Massaman Style


The curry adventure continues …

Before we shift gears and start thinking about roasted turkeys and holiday baking next week, it seemed only fitting to follow-up curried fowl with a little curried cow. It was a lot of fun sharing the Basic Chicken Curry recipe and my notes from the curry class with you last week. For someone raised on a farm in Missouri making curry in my own kitchen still doesn’t feel natural or instinctive, but I’m learning to trust it.



Massaman was the flavor profile I was eager to replicate at home. While doing research I struggled to find a consensus on massaman, including brand of spice paste, and I was reluctant to scour specialty markets for obscure ingredients. After all, I wanted a recipe I could share—something anyone could put together from their local grocery store.

I call this massaman style because it closely resembles massaman, but includes adjustments for convenience.  As much as I think you’ll like this recipe just as it is, don’t be shy about customizing the spice as you see fit—spicier, sweeter, earthier, you get the idea. The mix of vegetables is only limited by your imagination, or whatever might be in your crisper. I suggest keeping the amount of vegetable add-ins to around five cups in total so there will be plenty of sauce to cover everything.

In this spice mix, the clove and cinnamon are a little more forward, yet still well grounded with cumin and coriander. Chuck tender roast, also known as beef chuck mock tender roast, is an ideal cut for this low and slow method with its deep, beefy flavor and meltingly tender finish. If you cannot find a chuck tender roast, regular boneless chuck roast works as well—just cut away excess fat from the meat to create lean, bite-sized pieces. Serve with cilantro rice to soak up every last drop of curried sauce and enjoy!

Beef Curry: Massaman Style
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2½ pounds chuck tender roast -- (a.k.a. mock tender roast) cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon clove
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 medium onion -- chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic -- minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger -- minced
  • 1 tablespoon palm coconut sugar
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 whole lime leaves -- optional
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 5 cups (in total) fresh green chilies, sweet potato, red potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, peas, parsnips, celery, grape tomatoes, etc. (any combination) -- cut into manageable, bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cut meat into 2 inch pieces and lay out on a paper towel lined baking sheet to blot any excess moisture and season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and brown pieces of beef on all sides, in batches to avoid crowding the pan. While the beef is browning, mix the dry spices and sugar together in a small bowl.
  2. Once the meat is browned, transfer to a crock pot. Cook onion in the same skillet the beef was cooked in over medium heat until edges begin to brown. Add garlic and ginger to the onion and continue to cook until fragrant. Sprinkle spice mix over onion and stir for about 2 minutes, or until the aroma from the spices is noticeable.
  3. Add beef stock to the skillet and stir, loosening any browned bits from the pan. Once the mixture is hot, carefully transfer to the crock pot with the beef. Add coconut milk, fish sauce, lime leaves, and bay leaf, and stir to combine the beef, onions, and spices. Cook on high for about 2½ hours.
  4. Stir-in prepared vegetables and cook for another hour or until beef is fork tender. Salt and pepper as desired.
Notes & Suggestions
This can also be cooked in a Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid at 325° in the oven for the same length of time.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 6

Beef Curry – Massaman Style with cilantro rice.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday
Hearth & Soul Hop


    • says

      Hi Joyce, glad you asked! They are ground spices. I wanted to stick with something most folks might already have in their cupboard. 🙂

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