22 April 2018

Slow Cooked Beef Massaman Curry

Thai Massaman Beef Curry
Massaman curry is one of our favourites. Unfortunately, there aren’t many places near us making great versions of it. So we set about re-creating one to our liking.

For us, the meat should be so tender it should fall apart when touched with a fork. The potato should be just right, not too soft and mushy, but not hard either. There should be a healthy hit of peanut flavour and a hint of citrus tang. Not too much to ask for.

To achieve Massaman curry perfection, you’ll need to make it a few times and get a feel for it. The recipe below is our starting point. The key is making sure you cook the beef for a long time.

  • 4 tablespoons of curry paste (store bought, or homemade)
  • 1 kg beef, cut into 2-3 cm cubes
  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 400mL Coconut milk
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • Cornflour
  • A Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 4 cups of water (1 L)

Peel the onions and the potatoes. Chop the potatoes into 3-4cm cubes and cut the onions into thin wedges.

Cut the beef into 3 cm cubes. We used beef shoulder. Dust the beef in a mixture of cornflour and salt, and then brown in the pan and set aside.

Roast the peanuts until golden (3-5 min), and set aside with the beef.

Put half the coconut milk into a large pot on medium heat. Add the Massaman curry paste and stir to break up and infuse. Keep stirring to avoid sticking to the bottom. Add in the beef and peanuts and coat with the thick sauce. Cook for a few minutes until the flavors infuse.

Add in the remaining coconut milk, onions, the bay leaf and the water. (You could add the potato now, although we prefer to cook the meat a bit longer and add the potato an hour before serving)

Bring the liquid up to a simmer, and simmer for around an hour or until the meat is tender. (If you held back the potatoes, don’t forget to add them in.)

Once everything is nice and tender, add in the seasonings of tamarind, palm sugar and salt to taste. The tamarind gives a nice citrus type of flavour, and brightens the curry before serving. You could also use lime juice, or a bit of orange juice for a different take.

Serve over freshly cooked rice.

Ingredients for homemade curry paste (see here)


15 April 2018

Eight hour slow roasted lamb with lemon, couscous and tzatziki

Slow cooked lamb is one of life's greatest joys and the addition of lemon to this recipe reduces some of the richness and makes this a perfect spring or summer time meal.

It might sound like a lot of work, but once you taste this recipe, you will feel very happy about your decision to make it! The lamb just falls off the bone in tender pieces, and the vegetables cooked in the juices are delicious. We couldn't stop eating this until nothing was left!
  • 2kg lamb shoulder (enough for four people)
  • 10 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 15 - 20 cherry tomatoes - I chose a mixed variety
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 red onion
  • 6 shallots 
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 zucchinis
  • Couscous
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 400g Greek yogurt 
  • 1 cucumber
  • Fresh mint (optional)

On the night before, take your lamb and place it into a large roasting pan. Rub the lamb with olive oil, lemon, salt, cinnamon and oregano.

Optional - the night before I also decanted my Greek yogurt into a strainer to remove some of the liquid and left this to strain overnight.

On the next day, preheat the oven to 160°C.

Take your lamb from the fridge about 30 minutes before you'd like to begin roasting, and rub with more olive oil and salt. Slice the red onion and shallots into rings and place under the lamb, along with most of the garlic and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle the remaining cherry tomatoes and garlic around the lamb. Cut the lemons into quarters and squeeze over the lamb, then place around the lamb. Place the bay leaf in the pan and then pour about 1cm of water into the pan.

Cover the top of the pan in baking paper and seal the edges with aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 4 hours at 160°C and then for a further 4 hours at 150°C.

Every two hours or so I checked to make sure there was still water, and to baste the lamb with the juices. In the last hour I added the zucchini and a few extra cherry tomatoes. If your lamb isn't golden on top, you may like to turn the oven up to 180°C and bake for an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

For the tzatziki, thinly slice and roughly dice half a cucumber. If needed, remove some of the water from the cucumber using a strainer. Add this to a bowl with the Greek yogurt, 1 or 2 crushed cloves of fresh garlic, salt, mint, and a little olive oil and combine.

For the couscous, I like to bake mine in the oven so that it becomes light, fluffy and delicious. In an oven friendly pot, pour as much couscous as you'd like, then rinse it under some water and pour out most of the water, leaving a tablespoon or two. Add some salt and mix through the couscous. Add a couple of tablespoons of salted butter and place the lid on the pot. Place in the oven at 180°C for around 15 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Sprinkle with roasted almonds to serve if you like.
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