Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Keang Massaman Neur แกงมัสมั่นเนื้อ Massaman Curry With Beef

The wind is blowing at 100km/h as I type and I must confess I am loving this crazy weather! It is the perfect excuse for staying in; to catch up with my reading, to compose new posts for the coming week and to make comforting slow cooking dishes such as this.

Kaeng massaman (or musmun means muslim in Thai) or Thai Muslim curry has to be the best known and the most loved Thai curry outside of the land of a thousand smiles. Being placed at the top spot of the world's 50 most delicious foods by CNNGo last year shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to many.

This stew like curry is richly infused with coconut cream and heavily spiced with dried spices not commonly seen in other kaeng or Thai curries except for kaeng kari (Thai Indian curry), another very aromatic and rich curry from the Muslim south. Both are heavily influenced by the cuisine of India and Persia (present day Iran), a legacy of the inclusiveness of the cosmopolitan Ayutthya period and a testament to the willingness of the Thais to incorporate foreign ingredients into their cuisine from way back (a poem written during the reign of King Rama ll some 200 years ago mentioned this classic dish when chili and spices were first introduced to the Thais).The similarity doesn't just end there; root vegetables (such as potato, sweet potato and yam) play an important supporting role in both dishes and the refreshing cucumber salad (achart) often accompanied these rich curries.

I prefer to use gravy beef (or shin beef) but other cheaper, tougher cuts such as chuck/blade, brisket or oxtail can be used instead, do not attempt to use rump or more expensive cuts as you will end up with tough, fibrous dry meat. Do leave some of the tendons on as they will cook down to sheer deliciousness.

This is by far the most complex and elaborate kaeng to prepare especially if you decide to make your own curry paste as well. However don't be put off by the tasks ahead as your hard work will be rewarded accordingly.

P.S I have previously posted a version using turkey (see kaeng massaman gai ngwong), duck will work equally well but do adjust the cooking time accordingly.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 6 to 8 as part of a Thai meal
you'll need;
1.5 kg of gravy beef (meat from the shin)*,  cut into chunks, blanched and refreshed
2.5 cups of coconut milk (Ayam brand)
6 shallots, roasted and peeled
1 cup of peanuts, boiled until tender, drained well
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large brown onion, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups of coconut cream (Ayam brand)
3 heaped tbs of massaman curry paste, homemade or shop bought
3 bay leaves
3 brown cardamom, dry roasted
4 cloves, dry roasted
1.5 (round) pieces of palm sugar, crushed
5 tbs of fish sauce
1/4 cup of tamarind concentrate
1/2 tbs of grated mace
6 kamquat, sliced with seeds removed (optional)

Blanch beef chunks for about two minutes, refresh under cold water. Bring the coconut milk to a boil, add beef and simmer until the beef is tender. The coconut milk will split during the process, scoop it out and set aside for frying the curry paste later.

To grill the shallots - place shallots on a grill over the stove top and grill until the outside is blacken and the flesh is soft. Allow to cool before peeling.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Place the coconut cream together with coconut oil from step number 1 and cook on medium heat until oil starts to split.

Add curry paste and fry in the oily mixture over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

Return beef to the pan and fry in the curry paste for a minute.

Add the coconut milk (from stage 1), bay leaves and cardamom and bring it to a simmer. Season with palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind concentrate.

Add potatoes and onion and coconut cream and simmer until potato is tender. Add sliced kumquat and check for seasonings.

Garnish with chili and coriander and serve as part of a Thai meal. A refreshing cucumber relish (achart) is often served together with this rich curry.


  1. This is my favourite Thai curry! Thanks for the recipe, this is by far the most complicated recipe for massaman and i think i'll be great!

  2. I have been looking for a good massaman recipe. I like the idea of adding kumquat to the curry too, well done!

  3. Hi tummy!! wow! best, i like it! i think bila pergi ke menu kari, thai kari lg sedap rasanya berbanding dgn mesia :D suke bau thai kari, wangi ^^,

  4. omg:)pasti nak cuba kari yang nampak sungguh yummi ini.Boleh ganti ayam tak Tummy?Makcik tak boleh makan daging:(

  5. Massaman...one of my favorite Thai curries and my husband's absolute favorite! I love the way you use the julienned chilies for garnish.

  6. Ce curry doit être très parfumé et délicieux au goût. Tu me donnes envie de passer à table.
    J'aime beaucoup.
    See soon

  7. this looks so good and hope you get to visit Iceland one day

  8. this recipe looks delicious! great blog, i will follow!


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