~ Massaman Beef Curry ~
General sources suggest that Massaman Curry is of Thai origin but I would like to believe that it may be Thai cuisine with an influence of the neighbouring Indonesian or Malaysian flavours. I first had Massaman Beef Curry at a hotel café when I was residing in Miri, the state of Sarawak in the East of Malaysia 5 years ago. As far as my impression sets, Massaman Beef Curry is a Malaysian dish. The sound of it is pretty much an Indonesian or Malaysian fusion, where “masam” means sour in the Malay language. When tamarind being one of the rare sour ingredient added to it as opposed to other curry dishes, it reiterated a possible fusion fact.
In these days and age, some still aimed to cook the most original and authentic recipes. However, not many families can afford to make even a simple freshly home-cooked meal at the end of a tiring day? Many resolved with eating out/take-outs as outside food at affordable prices are more and more easily available in Singapore. The trend continues, despite the fact that eating out may costs more than just the cooking time but tolerated health for the entire family as there is less control over the food choices, source of ingredients and most importantly unhealthy cooking methods. I find it more of a hassle and stressful endurance whilst lack of family time at cosy home and the inheritance in home-cooking culture. It is indeed a sad phenomenon that is happening in the ever demanding society, which many are trapped in, including myself.
For practical reason, I did not prepare all spices from scratch in this recipe, which I cooked for a potluck Chinese New Year lunch gathering with a few friends. I made a simplified version of the Massaman Beef Curry with some authenticity retained. Neither did I tolerated the dish with just a premixed pack. There was no additional oil added to the cooking in this recipe. In fact, I do not add a single drop of oil in cooking of all meat recipes. I have been cooking meat, the fatless way for many years now with the AMC Premium Cooking System. I am not promising the most authentic Thai Massaman Beef Curry here but ultimately, a healthier, delicious & tender 15-minute stew which may be making it a much more time affordable for many!
As it is a general rule that the faster food is cooked, the better nutrients and flavours in food itself can be optimally retained. So, I opted for the rapid cooking method to cook most if not all types of hard food. Both the main ingredients in this particular recipe, beef and potatoes, are of hard texture. It will be best to do a rapid cook with a little kitchen helper, the AMC Secuquick Softline Lid, instead of covering the pot with an ordinary Classic Lid.
The beef chunks and potato cubes were not just tender but did not dry up like those cooked for long hours to bring the meat to the desired tenderness. Aroma and flavour were very much retained due to the cooking done in a tightly sealed manner under the right temperature between 108°C-118°C. The spiciness with a tinge of sourness from the tamarind concentrate, the melted sweetness from the palm sugar and aromatic toasted pinenuts makes this dish heavenly.
I had never imagined myself being able to cook up more sophisticated recipes like Massaman Curry. With the great cookware system that completes my kitchen, I made it to explore a wide variety of cuisine without getting too hung up with the success rate and nutritional retention. It has been my investment of a lifetime. Is your cooking system helping you in making a wholesome meal conveniently yet ensuring optimal nutrients retained? Perhaps, it will be worthy exploring as the entire family’s health-being is in your hands.
Massaman Beef Curry Recipe (Serves a party of 8 people) :
- 680 grams Beef Shins (cubed 1 inch x 1 inch)
- 5 Medium Size Potatoes (cubed 8 to 12 pieces each, depending on potato size)
- 1 pack 100 grams Indonesian Padang Rendang Paste (any brand or type of paste similar to Massaman paste which includes chilli, lemongrass, galangal, coriander seeds/powder, shallots and garlic)
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 4 Star Anise
- 10 Cardamon
- 8 Small Red Onions (skinned)
- 200ml Trimmed Coconut Cream
- 50ml Water
- 2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
- 50 grams Pinenuts (toasted)
- A bunch of Sweet Basil Leaves
- 50 grams Palm Sugar
- 4 tablespoons Tamarind Concentrate (reduced from 1 tablespoon of dried tamarind with seeds & 100ml water)
- Few Sweet Basil Leaves (garnishing)
- 1 Red Chilli (garnishing)
AMC Healthy Cooking Method :
- Add Padang Rendang paste to the beef shins to marinade for 30 minutes in an AMC 20cm Combi Bowl unit.
- Add pinenuts into an AMC 16cm 1.3 litre Benjamin Pot unit and toast with Navigenio heat level “2” upto 50°C or “Meat Window”. When Audiotherm beeps, indicating readiness, turn of both Audiotherm and Navigenio. Swirl the Pot unit with lid on and continue to toast with the residual heat in Pot unit away from Navigenio heat source for 5 minutes before removing the toasted pinenuts from Pot unit.
- Add dried tamarind paste and water into the same Benjamin Pot unit used in step 2 above. Reduce the paste with the AMC Navigenio on automatic mode for 10 minutes. When Audiotherm beeps, indicating readiness, turn of both Audiotherm and Navigenio. Stir the paste in water well for a concentrated mixture and set aside.
- Add cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamon and small red onions into an AMC 24cm 5.0 litre Pot unit unit and preheat with Navigenio heat level “3” to 50°C or “Meat Window”. Use Audiotherm as an indicator by turning it on, place on lid knob/Visiotherm, indicating 50°C or “Meat Window”.
- When Audiotherm beeps, indicating readiness for browning, maintain Navigenio heat at level “3” and turn off Audiotherm. Add beef cubes to the preheated Pot unit to slightly brown. Add 100ml / half of the coconut cream, water and fish sauce to Pot unit.
- Cover Pot unit with the AMC 24cm Secuquick Softline Lid. Switch on Navigenio to automatic “A” mode. Switch on Navigenio to automatic “A”. Turn on Audiotherm, place on Secuquick Softline lid knob, indicating “Turbo” and set on 15 minutes to cook.
- When Audiotherm beeps, turn off both Navigenio & Audiotherm. As pot depressurised, remove the Secuquick Softline With a serving spoon, gently scoop the beef cubes to the side in the pot unit to add potatoes to the Pot base. Top with the pinenuts, sweet basil, palm sugar and tamarind concentrate into the Pot unit.
- Cover Pot unit with the AMC 24cm Secuquick Softline Lid again. Switch on Navigenio to automatic “A” mode. Turn on Audiotherm, place on pressure lid knob, indicating “Turbo” and set on 1 minute to cook.
- When Audiotherm beeps, turn off both Navigenio & Audiotherm. As pot depressurised, remove the Secuquick Softline Serve warm with rice and waterless vegetables of choice.
- For time saving, steps 1, 2 and 3 may be prepared in advance, prior to the day you wish to cook this dish.
- For convenience, I did not prepare the Massaman paste from scratch which requires the purchase (of the main ingredients which are rarely used as stated in ingredients list 3 above), frying and pounding of the ingredients.
- A typical Massaman Curry recipe uses toasted peanuts instead of pinenuts. I substituted with pinenuts as a friend at the gathering is allergy to peanuts, aka “high class” allergy as another friend put it.
- As beef cubes and potato cubes have different cooking time required for a perfect tenderness, they were cooked separately, making it 2 steps which seems to be troublesome for a lazy cook. Trust me, it does give a great result.
- If you do not use the Secuquick Softline Lid (SQ) as per step 4 and 6 above, you may use the Easy Quick Lid (EQ) or the Classic Lid (CL). However, both require much longer time for cooking. I have not tried cooking beef stew with EQ or CL but you may try 35 minutes & 1 hour 15 minutes respectively for step 4 AND set to cook the added potatoes for 12 minutes on EQ and 25 minutes on CL for step 6. Whichever lid you chose to cook this recipe, you may adjust the timing accordingly to suit your preferred tenderness in both steps.
- To read more about Secuquick Softline Lid, Easy Quick Lid and Classic Lid and the differences between the three, you may read here.