Last week my friend Sal mentioned that she was making a beef massaman curry. The more we talked about it, the more I thought about it. I thought about nothing else for the next 24 hours. The next day she told me how amazing her flat smelt while she was making it, she said it was like being transported back to Thailand. That was all I needed to make me decide to try it out for myself.

There is a Thai supermarket down the road from my flat and I got the necessary ingredients from there – the massaman paste, the kaffir lime leaves, the tamarind paste….the rest I had in my cupboard. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe…

85g unsalted cashew nuts
400ml coconut milk
4 tbsp massaman curry paste
600g stewing beef steak, cut into large chunks
450g waxy potatoes (I used Charlotte), cut into chunks
1 onion, cut into thin wedges
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp palm sugar or soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp crunch peanut butter
Handful of coriander, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced, to serve
jasmine rice, to serve
1 lime

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, then roast the peanuts on a baking tray for 5 mins until golden brown.

When cool enough to handle, roughly chop. Reduce oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Heat 2 tbsp coconut milk in a large casserole dish with a lid. Add the curry paste and fry for 1 minute.

Then stir in the beef and fry until well coated and sealed.

Add the rest of the coconut milk with half a can of water.

Then add the potatoes…


And the lime leaves, cinnamon, tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and most of the nuts.

Then add a tablespoon of peanut butter…

Bring to a simmer.

Then cover and cook for 2 hrs in the oven until the beef is tender.

I made this the night before I served it so that the flavours had time to infuse. I would really recommend making this in advance.

The next night I just re-heated the curry and then cooked some jasmine rice. I squeezed the juice of half a lime into the rice then stirred through a large handful of chopped coriander.

I served up the curry and rice with chopped tomatoes, chilli, the leftover toasted cashew nuts, coriander, natural yoghurt and lime segments.

When I mentioned that I was making this curry to my friend Carmen, she immediately invited herself and her boyfriend Matt round for dinner! When I mentioned it in the pub on Friday night to my friend Luke, his eyes popped out his head and a huge grin appeared on his face, so I invited him along too. We all had a lovely Sunday night dinner together. The curry turned out really well. The meat was beautifully tender and the flavours were fantastic…so fresh and fragrant. It was spicy without being too spicy…just a really nice background heat. And my friend was right…the smell in my flat took me straight back to Thailand. I will definitely make this again.

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