Beef Massaman Curry Recipe

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beef massaman curry beef massaman curry

A very traditional Massaman Curry calls for Seville orange or som sah which is becoming more difficult to find in Thailand. I always have made massaman curry without the orange. Seville orange or som sah has lost its popularity, but is making a come back in the Thai culinary world. I was curious how the orange would add to this already delicious curry. I was not disappointed; the orange added a whole other dimension.

Massaman curry has many accompaniments. Some palaces serve massaman curry with mee grob, fried salted egg, beef jerky or crispy fried anchovies. Klong Bangluang residents (a large Muslim community 200 years ago) ate massaman curry with crunchy fried fish, watermelon and pickled mustard.

6 Servings, Prep Time: 20 Minutes, Total Time: 1 Hours

Tips and Techniques

  • Massaman Curry tastes best if it sits overnight. The spices will have penetrated into the bland potatoes. The sweetness in onions will have seeped out and blended in with the curry.
  • The hand squeezed coconut milk contains a large ratio of water to coconut milk. However, the machine squeezed coconut milk that is sold in cans and UHT containers, has just coconut milk. In order to adjust the the fat content, I use water to fill the pot as opposed to coconut milk.
  • To salt or not to salt: if you are using store-bought Massaman Curry Paste, taste the curry first before adding salt. Often, commercial curry pastes have high salt content. If needed, add ½ teaspoon at a time.
  • No fish sauce needed. Traditionally, salt is used in flavoring curries, especially Massaman Curry. Fish sauce will add fish flavor which is not desirable in Massaman Curry.
  • I used pearl onions because they keep together well during long simmer. It's pure aesthetic, not flavor. You can use cut pieces of large yellow onion as well, but they seem to disintegrate quicker.
  • Substitution of Seville orange juice: mix lime juice and orange juice at 1 to 1 ratio. 
  • As the curry simmers, it may get very thick and reduced. Add some water as necessary.
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