Recipe: Massaman Beef Curry

Massaman Beef Curry
Massaman Beef Curry

There have been a few experiments in the kitchen as of late. Some have been successful like the Boreworst Red Beand and Rice, and some not so successful (whole wheat quesadillas anyone?). One of the best things about living in South Africa is that all of the delicious foods and spices that I enjoy are generally in ready supply. Today we will explore my own take on a traditional Massaman curry.

My recipe below is intended to feed a single young man for approximately three to four days assuming he eats a man sized portion once a day. I have not included the recipe for rice… if you don’t know how to make rice and you are somehow a living, breathing adult then this recipe is far beyond your capabilities. Here is a link for you.


  • 1 pound (500g) stew beef or your choice of lean steak chopped into small pieces. Note that this recipe can be used with lamb, duck, or ostrich steak as well.
  • 3 small potatoes coarsely diced
  • 2 bell peppers seeds removed and coarsely diced (I like the color and flavor of yellow and red peppers)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons dried chillies (1 if you can’t handle the spice)
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons massaman curry paste
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can of coconut milk

The Process:

Now the key to any good curry is to get the garlic, onions, and curry paste to caramelize  integrate their flavors, and make an amazing base for the rest of the ingredients. You’ll need a big pot, a wooden spoon ideally, a knife, and a very good stove top (hob).

  1. Finely chop the garlic and onion (as small as you can get it)
  2. Add the garlic, onion, curry paste, and olive oil to a pan. Cook on low heat until the onion is transparent, and the aroma of all the ingredients fills your kitchen and makes your mouth water. If you have a dog it should be whining at this point because it wants some food.
  3. Add the beef (or other meat) to the mixture and allow it to brown and combine with the mixture in the pan.
  4. Add the vegetables and peanuts and stir so that all of the ingredients get a nice coat of the seasoning in the pan.
  5. Add a bit of salt and the chilies.
  6. Cover until the veggies start to soften and sweat. Stir occasionally. (maybe 10-15 minutes).
  7. Uncover and add the coconut milk.
  8. Stir until all of the ingredients are under (or mostly under) the broth.
  9. Allow mixture to come to a low boil and simmer with the top off
  10. Stir occasionally until the sauce thickens, the potatoes are cooked through, and the sauce takes on a reddish brown color (maybe 60-90 minutes).
  11. Serve alongside or over rice. If you are fancy you can make coconut rice for added flair.

Bon appetit.


Absolutely delicious…enjoy at least once a month. For me, best with lamb.