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Thai Beef Massaman Curry with Peanuts

Beef massaman curry, a slow-cooked Thai dish with succulent meat cooked in a tamarind rich, spicy & fragrant sauce with potatoes & shallots.

Cooking this recipe takes a while, but active cooking and preparation time is around 20 minutes and it is a perfect dish to make in advance and reheat.

Overhead spicy Thai beef massaman curry with potatoes, shallots and peanuts.

Thai Beef and Potato Curry

Thai-inspired curries are not a rarity here on my site, I love their bold flavours and often quick cooking times

Dishes like my Thai red duck curry and prawn panang curry are right up there as a favourite among the 100+ curry recipes here!

Beef Massaman curry is a little different it features flavours imported to Thailand in the middle of the 19th century.

As a result, it kind of sits on its own as a Thai curry.

Fragrant spices like Mace, Cardamom and Cloves are defining but unusual features in a Massaman Curry Paste.

It’s also slowly cooked which is not necessarily unusual, but quick Thai curries tend to be a little more well-known.

I do have quicker versions of this dish with a different source of protein if you are in a hurry!

Check out my prawn massaman curry, Thai Lamb Massaman Curry and a vegan tofu massaman curry. I also use Thai massaman curry paste in my vegan satay sweet potato curry.

If you are hunting for a beefy curry with Thai influences but don’t want to slowly cook it, check out my quick Thai red beef curry!

Spicy Thai beef massaman curry with potatoes, shallots and peanuts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What curry paste should I use?

I am kind of biased, I personally like to make my own curry pastes. My Massaman Curry Paste Recipe is superb, but I would say that right!

They are time-consuming and can be more expensive to make than store-bought varieties. The upside is a vibrancy in taste and flavour that I think is missing in most store-bought pastes.

If I am buying paste then I use either Lobo or Maesri brand.

What cut of beef should I use?

You could use any stewing beef, my personal choice would be either shin or neck, but you could use anything from braising steak to chuck of beef.

Doe the type of potatoes really matter?

You could use any old potato in this recipe, however, I prefer baby new potatoes.

This is because they hold together wonderfully when cooking, taste superb and look great. If you use a floury or mealy potato they could break down a little if over-cooked and make the sauce lose clarity.

Can I cook this in a slow cooker or Instant Pot?

I’ve had a little joy cooking this in an Instant Pot, although I very strongly prefer the stovetop method.

Use the saute mode on the IP to cook the coconut milk and curry paste until it splits. Then add the beef and water then cook under high pressure for 30 minutes.

Release the pressure, add the remaining ingredients and cook for another 5 minutes with a natural pressure release.

I’ve never been particularly happy with slow cooker versions of this curry.

Overhead close-up spicy Thai beef massaman curry with potatoes, shallots and peanuts.

Serving Suggestions

Beef massaman curry is a superb one-pot dinner as far as I am concerned and rarely serve it with anything else.

If I were to add something my first choice would be rice, plain rice would be nice, however, some coconut rice would be superb.

There are plenty of veggies in this dish and as a result, I don’t think it needs any more, but if I were to add something then maybe some garlic and chilli pak choi.

One final suggestion, adding some crispy fried shallots or onions as a garnish to this curry works amazingly well!

Close-up Spicy Thai beef massaman curry showing the texture of the cooked beef.

Equipment Used

I only mention specific brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan with a lid.
  • Small fine mesh sieve.
  • Small mixing bowl.
  • Fork and spoon for mashing and passing the tamarind.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Thai influenced beef massaman curry with potatoes, shallots and peanuts.
Yield: 2 Servings

Beef Massaman Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

A beef massaman curry is a relatively unusual Thai curry in terms of its flavourings borrowing much from the Malay peninsular, it is fragrantly spicy but comparatively mild in terms of chilli and its all sorts of delicious!


  • 350g (12oz) Diced Stewing Beef
  • 200ml (⅔ Cup + 2 Tbsp) Coconut Milk
  • 100g (¼ Cup + 2 Tbsp) Massaman Curry Paste
  • ½ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 10cm (4") Cassia Bark
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Water
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Toasted Peanuts
  • 35g (25mm or 1" Cube) Tamarind Paste
  • 35ml (2 Tbsp) Boiling Water
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 200g (1 Cup) Baby New Potatoes
  • 125g (8-10) Small Shallots
  • Lime Wedges (To Serve)
  • Fresh Coriander (To Serve)


  1. Heat a 20cm or 8" saucepan over a medium heat and pour in the coconut milk and bring it to a boil over a medium high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the massaman curry paste, then stir and cook until the oils in the paste begin to split.
  3. Add the salt, star anise, cardamom pods and cassia bark followed by the beef and stir to combine.
  4. Pour over enough water to cover the beef by around 1cm (½"), this should be around 250ml or 1 cup, stir, add a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 90 minutes.
  5. Remove a little of the root form the shallots and peel them.
  6. If your potatoes are more than a mouthful cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Roughly chop a third of the toasted peanuts and set them aside for garnish.
  8. Around 15 minutes before the beef has had 90 minutes pour the boiling water over the tamarind paste, give it a little mash then allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Give it another mash and then pass it through a fine mesh sieve.
  9. After 90 minutes remove the lid from the beef and stir the tamarind, dark brown sugar and fish sauce into the pot, then add the potatoes, peanuts (not the ones you chopped) and shallots, stir again, then return the lid and cook for a final 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 722Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 2367mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 8gSugar: 21gProtein: 29g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Reginald Barfoot

Sunday 24th of January 2021

Just done a chicken version of the beef massaman. Absolutely lovely

Brian Jones

Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Glad you enjoyed it.

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