A Year Of... interesting things

Massaman Curry

I remember getting Massaman curry once or twice at Thai places and always liking it, but not loving it, and as a result it wasn’t the go-to dish even with a large group.

The recipe I followed didn’t produce the rich brown curry that I remember ordering, but instead ended up somewhat liquidy and pleasant, but not rich taste.

Masaman Curry

It’s supposed to look close to this instead:

Matsaman nuea

Anyway, I’m determined to make it again and find a better recipe because it’s an interesting curry that’s somewhat aside from the norm.

In a way if feels closer to a north-Indian curry (not that I’m an expert), with the addition of typical Thai ingredients: lemongrass and coconut milk.

The history of the curry is intriguing because it’s not a native Thai curry – even the work massaman is borrowed – but instead a take on a Thai curry heavily influenced by Muslim spice traders.


About 25 minutes hands-on time, about 1.5 hours total.


  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 large dried New Mexico Chiles, halved lengthwise, seeded, and torn into large pieces
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 (14 ounce) can lower sodium beef broth, divided
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 3 cups thinly vertically sliced onion
  • 1 pound boneless sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound small white potatoes, halved
  • cup light coconut milk
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
    Add first 6 ingredients; cook 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently.
    Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.
    Place spice mixture in a food processor; add lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and 1/4 cup broth.
    Process 1 minute, scraping sides occasionally; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
    Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
    Stir in spice mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
    Add beef, and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
    Stir in remaining broth and water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
    Stir in tamarind paste, salt, and potatoes; bring to a simmer.
    Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until beef is very tender.
    Remove from heat; stir in coconut milk.

Serves 6 (serving size: 3/4 cup)

  • calories: 239;
  • fat: 7.2g;
  • protein: 19.3g;
  • carbs: 23.5g;
  • fiber: 3.1g;
  • cholesterol: 49mg;
  • iron: 2.8mg; sodium: 347mg; calcium: 45mg
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