Thai Mussaman Curry

FullSizeRender (4)The word Mussaman is thought to come from the word Muslim due to the dish’s Malay and Indian influences and it really is a perfect balance between typical Indian ingredients and fresher Thai flavours.

After my sister returned from a holiday in Thailand she asked me to make this curry for the family. I was initially put off by the long list of ingredients but having since invested in an Indian larder I went back to the recipe I had and realised that I had all the spices and just needed to pick up a few bits in the supermarket. I gave it a go and was totally blown away by it.

You may have heard me say this before but I cannot say enough about how good it is to grind your own whole spices. The taste is so much deeper and richer than when you use the pre-ground stuff. It is a little extra work for dishes that are typically time-consuming already but authentic Indian or Thai curries are never something you are going to whip up after work for the kids. I feel they are deserving of a celebration, when you have the time to prepare something really special. Remember that these dishes require no amazing kitchen skills or talent or know-how. They are essentially stews with very simple cooking methods but very exotic ingredients. If this extra effort is off-putting then know that not only can curries be made ahead of time, they also make amazing leftovers so I always think it’s worthwhile to make more than I need so I can eat it for the next day or two.

Thai Mussaman Curry


  • 1.5 Kg blade or chuck steak
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 6 black cardamom pods
  • 10 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400 g potatoes
  • 8 shallots
  • 1 tpsp palm sugar
  • 100 g toasted peanuts
  • Handful or chopped coriander
  • For the Paste:
  • 15 dried Kashmiri chillies
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 5 cm cinnamon stick
  • 2 pieces of blade mace
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200 g shallots
  • 1 bulb or garlic
  • 25 g ginger
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 3 lemongrass stalks
  • 350 mls coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 60 g tamarind pulp


  1. Add the beef, 1 can of coconut milk, the 10 cm cinnamon stick, the black cardamom and the salt to a heavy based pot and gently bring to a simmer.
  2. Partially cover and allow to simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Toast and grind the spices for the paste and add to a blender or food processor.
  4. Let the tamarind steep in 150 mls of boiling water for 15 minutes before straining and adding to the blender.
  5. Add all other paste ingredients to the blender and blend until thick and smooth.
  6. Once the beef has been simmering for two hours, remove the cinnamon and the black cardamom.
  7. Dice and add the potatoes.
  8. Half and add the shallots.
  9. Add the sugar and the paste and stir to combine.
  10. Allow to cook for another half an hour.
  11. Garnish with the peanuts and coriander leaves and serve.
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