Cut the beef and onion into 2.5cm cubes. Peel the potatoes, and cut in half (cut into four, if they are large), and finely chop the garlic.
Put the vegetable oil and ☆ spices in a pan, heat over low heat until tiny bubbles appear on the surface of the spices. The spices will be submerged in the oil if you tip the pan a little.
Turn off the heat once to lower the temperature. Turn on the heat to low, sauté the garlic and onion from Step 1 a little, add the curry paste, and sauté until fragrant.
Pour 250 ml of the thick part of the coconut milk into Step 3 in 3 batches, and mix. (When the red oil comes up to the surface, add the next batch.)
Add the beef, and cook. When the beef turns brown, add the peanuts, and stir.
When Step 5 comes to a boil, add the rest of the coconut milk and water, and simmer over low heat. When the beef becomes a little tender, add the potatoes from Step 1, and simmer.
When everything is nice and tender, season with the fish sauce and sugar. Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice, and stir. Serve over cooked rice!
The "Chicken Massaman Curry", using chicken drumettes and chicken thigh instead of beef, is also very delicious.
Story Behind this Recipe
This dish was chosen to be No.1 in the "World's Most Delicious Foods Top 50" in CNNGo. This is a popular curry in our house. I substituted tamarind with lemon juice. Massaman means Muslims. The ☆ Indian spices are originally brought from Thailand by Muslim traders.
You can make this in the same way as you make green curry or yellow curry. The secret is to sauté the curry paste and mix in the coconut milk in Step 3 and Step 4. I used the ☆ spices in Step 2 to increase the fragrance, but you can omit them as they are already included in the curry paste. I added lemon juice instead of tamarind.