Mussaman Curry of Beef  

Mussaman Curry of Beef  

Serves 4


                                                                                    2 royal blue potatoes, peeled

100 ml vegetable oil                                                       and cut into 6ths

8 tblsp Mussaman Curry Paste (see other page)               6 pickling onions, peeled

2 cups chicken stock                                                      2 cups coconut milk

100 g palm sugar, shaved                                              50 ml fish sauce

600 g beef chuck or cheek                                              2 tblsp tamarind pulp

coriander leaves                                                            2 tblsp roasted peanuts 

3 cups vegetable oil for frying                                          crushed            


Firstly, remove any sinew from the beef chuck and place in a fry pan with a small amount of vegetable oil and bring to a high heat. Seal beef on all sides.

In a large pot, bring the coconut milk and chicken stock to the boil, add the beef and cover with a cartouche, then turn down the heat and braise gently until tender, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Allow to cool in the liquid, then remove and refrigerate.  Once cooled, slice each cheek into 1cm thick rounds.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok to just below smoking point and deep fry the potatoes and onions separately until golden brown; leave to drain.  Once the beef has been removed from the braising liquor use the same liquor to braise the potatoes and pickling onions separately.  Cook both of them, until they are just cooked, you can check with a skewer and then remove. Strain the liquid, and reserve for you curry.

Heat a heavy based pan or wok with the vegetable oil, add the curry paste, and cook out on a low heat until the oil is absorbed and paste is cooked about 8 – 10 minutes.  Season with palm sugar and fish sauce and add the reserved braising liquor. Let the curry sauce cook on a low heat for about 45 minutes, then place the beef, potatoes and onions in the curry. Leave to simmer, until the liquid reduces to a thick curry consistency.

You need to soak about ¼ packet of tamarind seed in ½ cup water and work the seed until you form a paste, which has a thick but still liquid consistency, (oyster sauce consistency).  Then strain the tamarind through a sieve to separate the paste from the seeds.  Now you can add the tamarind pulp to the curry and taste to check the seasoning – it should be rich, spicy, sweet and salty.

Spoon into a serving bowl and serve topped with coriander and crushed roasted peanuts.

Mussaman Curry Paste

Makes 1 cup


Paste                                                                          Spice Mix

1 medium sized red onion, chopped                                 1 ½ tsp coriander seeds

6 cloves garlic, peeled                                                    1 tsp cumin seeds

1 x 4cm piece galangal, peeled                                       1 cardamom pod

1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely sliced               1 x 2.5 cm piece cassia bark

6 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned                            3 cloves

100 ml water (optional)                                                   ½ tsp mace

8 dried long red chillies, seeded and soaked                    1 star anise

                                                                                    1 tsp sea salt


Paste:  Dry roast the onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass and coriander roots in a wok or heavy based pan until softened, slightly charred and fragrant.  If the ingredients brown or char too quickly, add the water and cover with a lid to allow the ingredients to steam and cook all the way through.  Remove from the wok when cooked through and cool.  Drain the chillies, combine with the rest of the ingredients and blend to a smooth brownish red paste in a food processor or bar mix.

Spice Mix:  Wet the spices except the salt and dry roast in a wok or heavy based pan over a low heat for 8-10 minutes.  This will give all the spices ample time to roast and for the spices to become very fragrant.  Pound in a mortar and pestle, until they become a fine powder, or you can use a spice or coffee grinder.  Stir the spices into the paste and add the salt. The paste should be rich and brown in colour and have a heavy spiced smell.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze.

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