Slow Cooked Massaman

Posted on December 5, 2011


I had long thought that stewing beef would work well in a slow cooked curry, but it was only recently that I tried it out.

I’m pleased to report that it works very, very well.

The meat is soft and delicious, the potatoes take on the subtle flavours of the spices and the coconut milk and peanuts make it rich and tasty.

The best thing about this is that you can put it in the slow cooker at lunch time and then you don’t have to do anything until you add the peanuts and boil some rice at dinner time. In fact I now put this in the slow cooker first thing in the morning on low and it happily cooks gently all day, I just add the potatoes at lunch time. Our current frying pan isn’t very big so I have devised this recipe so that not all the ingredients need to be in the pan at once.

This is a good curry for children as it’s more ‘warming’ than spicy, plus there are no onions for them to pick out. We’ve made this twice in the last month and it’s set to become a regular feature in our kitchen as it also smells great simmering away on a cold snowy day. Another reason to love it is…there is no chopping to do! It makes enough for 6 people.

What you will need:

  • 1kg/2lbs well trimmed stewing steak, I leave the chunks on the large side
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 good tablespoons massaman curry paste
  • 1/2 pint chicken stock (or 1 chicken stock cube in boiling water)
  • 2 handfuls of new waxy potatoes (charlotte or vivaldi type)
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 2 pinches of ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon muscovado, palm or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste*
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 large handful of roasted peanuts

*if you have not got this I guess you could replace with some lime juice or lime leaves

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the beef. Turn once to seal the meat until it’s browned on both sides. Tip the beef and juices into a preheated hot slow cooker on high.
  2. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the thick coconut cream from the top of the can into the ‘dirty’ frying pan. Cook over a medium heat until melted then add the curry paste and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Add the sugar, tamarind paste, peanut butter and fish sauce and stir to combine, then add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cardamom pods.
  4. Stir in the rest of the coconut milk (if it will fit) and pour this mix over the beef. If it doesn’t all fit in your pan just pour everything in to the slow cooker and mix it there. You can deglaze the pan by pouring the stock in and boiling briefly, then sloshing that into the slow cooker too.
  5. Peel the new potatoes and halve them then add these to the pot too (I sometimes leave this until a bit later, after the meat has cooked a bit)
  6. I like to cook it on high for an hour or two to get the heat through everything then I turn it down to low for 6-8 hours.
  7. Don’t stir it too much or you will break up the potatoes.
  8. 20 minutes before you are ready to eat add the peanuts then serve with plain boiled rice.