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Mussaman-style Beef Curry

Mussaman style beef curry by Ken Hom. This inviting recipe takes time to prepare, making it perfect for weekend cooking. Garnish with peanuts and fresh coriander.


This delicious curry dish takes time to prepare, but it is one of my favourite recipes. I promise the end result is well worth the wait!

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1.5kg (3lb) stewing beef, such as brisket or shin
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp Mussaman curry paste
225g (8oz) small new potatoes
3 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
For the braising sauce:
2 sticks of lemon grass
1.2l (2 pints) tinned coconut milk
600ml (1 pint) hot water
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp shrimp paste
3 tbsp finely sliced shallots
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cardamom pods
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 kaffir lime leaves or 1 tbsp shredded lime zest


Cut the beef into 5cm (2in) cubes. Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the oil.When it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the beef and fry for about 10 minutes, until it is brown all over (you will need to do this in several batches to get the best results).

Pour off any excess fat, leaving 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Put all the meat back in the pan, add the Mussaman curry paste and stir-fry with the beef for about 5 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a large casserole or pot.

For the sauce, peel off the tough outer layers of the sticks of lemon grass, leaving the tender whitish centre. Cut it into 7.5cm (3in) pieces, crush with the flat of a heavy knife, then add to the casserole with all the remainder of the braising sauce ingredients. Bring to the boil, skim off any fat from the surface and turn the heat down as low as possible. Cover and braise for 1 hour.

Peel and add the potatoes to the casserole and cook for another 30 minutes or until the meat is quite tender. Then remove the lid, turn the heat up to high and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce. Garnish with the chopped peanuts and coriander before serving.

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