This Massaman style Beef Coconut Curry contains tender cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes along with melt-in-your-mouth beef. It’s made with warming spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, and star anise slowly simmered a creamy coconut base. The finished dish is a curry so satisfying, your family will think you ordered delivery.
Disclosure: This post was made possible through Alberta Beef. Their sponsorship has helped me create this wonderful recipe for Massaman Beef Curry. I hope you enjoy it.
Massaman Beef Coconut Curry
It’s been ages since I’ve worked on a curry recipe. I’ve always loved the flavours of Thai food; hot, salty, sweet, sour. When combined together in balanced proportions, something magical happens. Massaman Curry has always been the standout Thai curry style for me. The curry’s rich, slightly sweet sauce is packed with warm flavours and a mild heat. There’s something so satisfying about the tender beef falling apart with just the slightest pressure from your fork.
More Dine in, Less Take Out
2019 has been a busy year here at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen. Like many busy moms, I find that the busier I get the more I fall back on take out. As a food blogger, I’m not immune to ‘dinner fatigue’ and often find myself reaching for the phone once five o’clock rolls around. As the year draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about making a few changes in the way I feed my family.
Planning Makes Perfect
A huge part of those changes begin with meal planning. Meal planning not only ensures that our meals are nutritionally balanced, but also saves us money by using groceries more efficiently. There is less food waste, and no delivery fee when you cook at home! My aim for the new year is to use the food we already have in our freezer while also spending less money on takeout.
The Lost Art of Cooking with Beef
In an effort to simplify and streamline mealtimes, many home cooks reach for more familiar, quick cooking cuts of beef. Stir fries and Bolognese are a tasty go-to meals but inexpensive cuts that require longer cooking times (chuck, brisket, round, short ribs, shanks, etc.) will reward you with so much more flavour. Roasting a beef roast, braising short ribs or shanks, and stewing are sometimes considered more ‘difficult’ ways to cook beef but nothing could be further from the truth. All it takes is a little time and planning.
What Type of Beef Should I Use in Beef Coconut Curry?
The primary cooking method used for cooking curries is stewing. Stewing is a slow cooking method which simmers tough, inexpensive cuts of beef and turns them into tender, delicious morsels. In curries, it’s best to use either chuck roast, chuck shoulder, or round. For more even cooking, trim into similar sized pieces and remove any stray connective tissue or large pieces of fat.
How to Cook a Great Beef Coconut Curry
The best way to cook any beef stew or curry is to begin by browning the beef in batches, then add in the aromatics and liquids. Browning the beef unlocks a whole other level of flavour potential by creating a reaction between sugars and amino acids. You may have heard of the Maillard Reaction before, it’s a huge part of why browning or caramelizing food makes it so darn tasty.
What Are the Flavours of Massaman Beef Coconut Curry?
Once the beef has been browned, it’s time to release the aromatics. This is the fun part and most important step when making a great curry. Onions, ginger, and garlic are sautéed to start the flavour base. Next, Thai red curry paste, then turmeric and coriander are added. Finally, nothing can replace the flavours fresh lemongrass, cinnamon sticks, and whole star anise bring to Massaman Curry. They are the perfect way to boost the flavour of packaged curry paste.
How Do I know When the Beef Coconut Curry is Ready?
After the curry has been simmering for an hour, test the beef by removing a piece and applying a light pressure to it. If the meat gives but does not fall apart, continue simmering. Once the meat begins to fall apart, add the vegetables and simmer until they become fork tender. At this point, there should also be a lovely sheen of red oil developing on the surface. Lastly, finish the curry by balancing the flavour with fish sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar as directed in the recipe.
- 2.5 lbs beef stew meat
- cooking oil
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 1 1/2 white onions; chopped
- 3 tbsp garlic; minced
- 3 tbsp ginger root; minced
- 1/3 cup red curry paste
- 1 3/4 tsp ground coriander
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 5 whole star anise
- 5 - 3 inch cinnamon sticks
- 3 cups water
- 2 (13.5 oz/400 ml) cans coconut milk (with 7 oz/200ml SEE NOTE)
- 3 medium potatoes
- 3 small sweet potatoes
- 3/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1-2 tbsp fish sauce
- juice of one lime
- brown sugar
- If needed, trim beef into similar sized pieces. Place 1/3 beef in a bowl and sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of cornstarch all over. Mix until all the pieces become coated.
- Working in batches, add oil to a large wok or frying pan and brown the beef on all sides. Remove beef from pan, deglaze the pan with a 1/2 cup water and set aside.
- Place more oil and the chopped onion in a Dutch oven. Sweat over medium heat until the onion begins to soften then add the ginger and garlic. Cook a few minutes more until everything is soft and aromatic.
- Add in the ground coriander and turmeric, then the red curry paste. Stir so that the vegetables become coated.
- Now it's time to add in the aromatics (lemongrass, cinnamon sticks, and star anise).
- Pour coconut cream in to the Dutch oven and allow to simmer for a few minutes then add in the coconut milk, deglazing liquid, and water.
- Cover and let simmer (stirring every 20 minutes or so) for 60-75 minutes or until the beef has just become tender.
- Add potatoes, sweet potatoes and peanuts. Cover and simmer another 25 minutes or until veggies are soft.
- Fine tune the curry using fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar. None of these three flavours should over power each other but exist in perfect balance.
1. Using packaged red curry paste cuts down prep time considerably. If you can find Massaman Curry paste, give it a try as well. You may need to adjust the aromatics if you are using it instead of red curry paste.
2. Reserve about 7 oz/200ml coconut milk and some cream to add to the Jasmine rice while it cooks.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 633Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 707mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 54g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.