Beef Massaman Curry

Beef Massaman Curry

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 00:10
  • Cooking Time: 01:30
  • * Marinate 15 - 20 mins

Massaman Curry is a classic Thai dish full of delicious warm and aromatic spices with a rich coconut gravy. My Beef Massaman Curry is made from scratch (store-bought Massaman pastes can contain additives and preservatives). The list of ingredients may look long, but it's just the spices to make the marinade/paste. You can adjust the heat of this dish to your liking by adding more or less chilli powder. I've used cashew butter instead of peanuts in my recipe to keep it paleo. If you have to avoid nuts, sunflower butter will also work perfectly.


* Please click on the green icon next to the ingredients listed below for extra details and helpful information.

  • 800g trimmed gravy beef steak, or chuck steak (cut into 3cm pieces)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice, (2 lge limes)
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind puree/paste, (seedless)
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tsp maple syrup (100%)
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 - 1 tsp chilli powder, more or less to your taste
  • 3/4 tsp cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 Lge onion(s), diced
  • 3 tsp garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 cup (250ml) beef broth/stock
  • 400ml can coconut cream, a thick brand
  • 3 - 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp cashew butter/spread, or sunflower butter for nut-free
  • 500g peeled sweet potato(s), cut into 2cm cubes
  • Garnish with toasted cashews, and chopped coriander leaves


First, prepare the marinade/paste. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lime juice, tamarind, fish sauce and maple syrup to a large bowl and mix well. Add in the smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chilli powder, cardamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir well to create a paste. Add the cut beef to the bowl and mix well, ensuring the marinade covers the meat well. Set aside for 15 - 20 minutes.

Heat the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot with a heavy base over medium heat. Add the onion and cook stirring for 2 minutes, then stir through the garlic and ginger.

Increase heat slightly and pour in the meat and marinade. Allow the meat to seal while stirring for 4 - 5 minutes. Pour in the beef broth and bring to a rapid boil, then add in the coconut cream and lime leaves. Reduce the heat and allow the curry to simmer gently. Cook covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

At the 55-minute mark, add the cashew butter and stir well to combine into the sauce, ensuring you break up any lumps of cashew butter.

Add the diced sweet potato and stir well. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender and the sauce has thickened. Remove the lime leaves before serving.

Serve the beef curry with cauliflower rice or your choice of veggie noodles and top with toasted cashews and chopped coriander leaves.

beef steak

Choose grass-fed meat to ensure you are eating a healthy animal that's been fed as naturally as possible. Beef is an excellent source of protein but it should not be the only thing on your plate, balance your meal with 2/3 plant based foods and 1/3 meat.

olive oil

The olive fruit of the olive tree is pressed and crushed to released the oil. Healthy fats like olive oil are essential for brain function and to transport vitamins and minerals throughout our bodies. This is a delicious oil to drizzled over salads and vegetables.

lime juice

A lime is a green citrus fruit. The juice adds flavour to dishes and beverages. There are several species of the lime tree. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and calcium. I like to add lime juice to my curries. The juice also tenderizes the meat in your dish, leaving you with lovely juicy, tender meat or chicken.

tamarind puree/paste

Tamarind is a bushy tree. The tree produces edible, pod-like fruit, which is used in different cuisines around the world, it is also used in traditional medicine. Tamarind is best described as sweet and sour in taste. Choose a brand that only contains tamarind and a little water, no sugar. I purchase Ayam brand, it's a seedless puree, read labels to check for any added ingredients. Refrigerate after opening.

fish sauce

Just a little of this sauce will make a big difference to a recipe. Fish sauce is used in Asian cooking, be adventurous and add to other types of dishes to enhance the flavour. Read your label when purchasing as you just want fish and salt, no preservatives or sugar added.

maple syrup (100%)

Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.

smoked paprika

Paprika is a relative of the chili pepper. Smoked paprika is used to add a sweet mildly spicy flavour to dishes and it adds a warm natural colour. Use organic smoked paprika, my favourite brands are Simply Organic or Frontier (I purchase online at iherb).


Cumin is a medium - hot spice which blends well in curries and is the main spice in the Middle Eastern dip, hummus. It is being studied for potential anti-oxidant and anticancer effects.


Coriander is also know as cilantro. The fresh chopped green leaves in large amounts are a good source of vitamin C. The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian, Thai, and Mexican dishes. They are usually tossed through just before serving as the heat can diminish the flavour. The dried fruits are known as coriander seeds, the seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed. The word coriander in food preparation may only be referring to the ground seeds not the plant.


I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.

chilli powder

Chilli is the spicy fruit of plants that belong to the capsicum family. It is eaten fresh or dried. Chilli powder is dried and ground red chilli peppers. They are members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Red chillies contain large amounts of vitamin C and are a good source of most B vitamins, they are also very high in potassium, magnesium and iron.


Cardamom spice has a strong unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. Cardamom comes ground or in whole seeds. It's a common ingredient in Indian, Scandinavian and Middle Eastern dishes, it is used in sweet and savoury baking and drinks. This exotic spiced is know for it's antioxidant, disease preventing health promoting properties. Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium, it is also helpful for digestion. Purchase organic cardamom (I use the Simply Organic brand).


Nutmeg is the seed kernel of the fruit-nutmeg. The seed is dried and ground. It is one of the highly prized spices known for its aromatic, aphrodisiac and curative properties. Nutmeg is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium.


Cloves are one of the highly prized spices, recognised all over the world for their medicinal and culinary qualities. Cloves have a strong distinctive sweet flavour, use the whole bud or ground and just a little goes a long way. The spice contains healthy benefiting essential oils and a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and magnesium. Cloves also contain a good amount of vitamins A, K, B6, B-1, C and riboflavin. Purchase organic (I use the Simply Organic brand).


In my recipes when listing onion I am referring to a brown (also called yellow) onion. Onions are members of the allium plant family which also includes garlic, leeks, spring onions and shallots. Onions are valued more for the flavour they impart in cooking than for their nutritional content. Onions are know for their antibacterial effect helping to prevent superficial infections and their sulfur compounds may block carcinogens.


Garlic is a close relative to the onion and has been used throughout history for both medicinal and culinary purposes. In most of my recipes I use minced garlic as I find it distributes better throughout the dish. When in a hurry I use organic minced garlic which I purchase in glass jars and store in the fridge. When garlic powder is needed for a particular recipe, I use 'Simply Organic' brand. Why is garlic so good for us? It is an immune booster, antibiotic, good for the heart, cancer fighter and it's also knew as a weight loss aid (appetite suppressant).


Ginger root is widely used as a spice but also for medicinal purposes. It is a hot spice which you will find in many commercial curry powders. It's often used to prevent motion sickness and nausea. Some studies have shown joint swelling in people suffering with arthritis experience less pain and swelling when taken daily. I like to use fresh minced ginger in my meals and dry ground ginger in baked goods.

beef broth/stock

Home made beef broth is excellent for healing Leaky Gut and to drink when unwell. Traditionally broth was made just from meat bones and simmered for hours to remove the gelatin, marrow and goodness from them. These days vegetables are also added to give extra flavour. If purchasing store bought broth/stocks, read your labels as many companies have changed the name of MSG to yeast extract. Organic or free range brands are available. I keep one on hand for emergencies. I get the butcher to cut my beef bones up so it's easy for the marrow and nutrients to be released easily. I prefer to making my broth in a slow cooker. I keep ice block trays filled with broth in the freezer ready for when just a small amount is required in a recipe.

coconut cream

I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. When purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.

kaffir lime leaves

Fresh kaffir lime leaves are commonly used in Thai cuisine to add a citrus fragrance and lemony flavour to dishes. Remove the leaves before serving your dish. The leaves can also be sliced very finely to garnish a meal.

sea salt

Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.

cashew butter/spread

Cashew butter/spread is made by blending cashew nuts down to make a smooth paste. I also like to add a little pink Himalayan salt and a drizzle of macadamia oil to produce a delicious nut butter. You will find a recipe in my cookbook on page 306. Cashew butter has a neutral taste, which makes it perfect for adding to recipes to give a creamy texture without affecting the recipes flavour. If you are purchasing cashew butter/spread, make sure it contains 100% cashews, with not unhealthy oils, gums or thickeners.

sweet potato(s)

Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense root vegetable, naturally sweet and high in fibre. They are a rich source of beta carotene (vitamin A), on average one medium sweet potato provides more than 100% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. Also high in vitamin E and potassium. Store in a cool place but not in the fridge.


Cashews work well in a paleo lifestyle, as they are so versatile. They can be used to make dairy free milk, cashew butter, cashew cream or sour cream, dips and many more. Where possible, it is best to soak nuts before using to assist with digestion. Eat them raw but in moderation as they are quite high in omega 6. Stay away from store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.