Beef Massaman Curry

By: Susan Joy

Massaman Curry is a classic Thai dish full of delicious warm and aromatic spices with a rich coconut gravy.

My Beef Massaman Curry is made from scratch (store-bought Massaman pastes can contain additives and preservatives). The list of ingredients may look long, but it’s just the spices to make the marinade/paste. You can adjust the heat of this dish to your liking by adding more or less chilli powder. I’ve used cashew butter instead of peanuts in my recipe to keep it paleo. If you have to avoid nuts, sunflower butter will also work perfectly.


  • 800g trimmed gravy beef steak, or chuck steak (cut into 3cm pieces)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice, (2 lge limes)
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind puree/paste, (seedless)
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tsp maple syrup (100%)
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp chilli powder, more or less to your taste
  • 3/4 tsp cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 Lge onion(s), diced
  • 3 tsp garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 cup (250ml) beef broth/stock
  • 400ml can coconut cream, a thick brand
  • 3 – 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp cashew butter/spread, or sunflower butter for nut-free
  • 500g peeled sweet potato(s), cut into 2cm cubes
  • Garnish with toasted cashews, and chopped coriander leaves


First, prepare the marinade/paste. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lime juice, tamarind, fish sauce and maple syrup to a large bowl and mix well. Add in the smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chilli powder, cardamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir well to create a paste. Add the cut beef to the bowl and mix well, ensuring the marinade covers the meat well. Set aside for 15 – 20 minutes.

Heat the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot with a heavy base over medium heat. Add the onion and cook stirring for 2 minutes, then stir through the garlic and ginger.

Increase heat slightly and pour in the meat and marinade. Allow the meat to seal while stirring for 4 – 5 minutes. Pour in the beef broth and bring to a rapid boil, then add in the coconut cream and lime leaves. Reduce the heat and allow the curry to simmer gently. Cook covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

At the 55-minute mark, add the cashew butter and stir well to combine into the sauce, ensuring you break up any lumps of cashew butter.

Add the diced sweet potato and stir well. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender and the sauce has thickened. Remove the lime leaves before serving.

Serve the beef curry with cauliflower rice or your choice of veggie noodles and top with toasted cashews and chopped coriander leaves.

Article supplied with thanks to The JOYful Table.

About the Author: Susan is an author of The JOYful Table cookbook containing gluten & grain free, and Paleo inspired recipes for good health and wellbeing.

Feature image: Supplied 

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