All the cozy flavors of Thai Massaman curry, but with the ease of the crockpot! Massaman Beef Curry Slow Cooker, the best way to warm up a cold night!
Why you’ll love this Massaman Beef Curry Slow Cooker recipe
- A Thai cooking class instructor (aka me, Sherri! :)) will be sharing with you step-by-step all my top Thai cooking secrets in this recipe!
- A recipe you can throw in the crockpot in the morning, and come home after work and magically find a flavorful, crowd-pleasing Thai dinner ready and waiting for you.
- Super easy! Pop open some coconut milk, scoop in some massaman curry paste, load in the beef and potatoes, press the slow cooker button and you are done!
What is Massaman Beef Curry Slow Cooker?
Massaman Beef Curry Slow Cooker is a version of stove top Massaman Curry that we love to make on a weeknight since it’s so easy.
What’s special about Massaman Curry?
- Unlike other Thai curries like Green Curry or Panang Curry, Massaman Curry is rich and flavorful, but not spicy, and has potatoes.
- It has rich a coconut milk broth, chicken, beef or pork, onions, potatoes and peanuts, and is flavored with fish sauce, brown sugar and tamarind paste. Yup! Super heartwarming!
- According to Wikipedia, Massaman Curry is a Muslim fusion dish brought to Thailand in the 17th century from people from Persia, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Malay Archipelago.
- That’s why spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cumin, bay leaves, nutmeg, which are not commonly found in Thai cooking, are used in the Massman curry paste.
The soothing, comforting smell of Massaman Beef Curry Slow Cooker is wafting through our house as I sit typing this, and my dear old crock pot is doing all the work for me.
I love Thai Massaman Curry, and so do my kids since it’s not spicy, and the meat is so tender that it’s easy for them to eat.
But what’s even more amazing is using a slow cooker to make it since with Thai food, I hardly ever have the opportunity.
Many Thai dishes are stir-fried quickly a few minutes before it’s time to sit down and eat, and taste best eaten immediately.
That’s why whenever we have people over for dinner, it used to be a stressful few minutes before they walked in the door since I didn’t like to be at the stove-top cooking while trying to chat and welcome my guests to our home.
Want to hear an awkward hosting moment?
We had invited friends over for dinner, and it was 15 minutes until they were supposed to arrive.
I was in the middle of stir-frying Pad Thai. I’d timed it perfectly that once I finished making it I would run around and pick up the last of the toys my toddlers had strewn about while I was cooking, and then our guests should be here, and Pad Thai would be on the table fresh, and ready to eat.
Massaman Beef Curry Slow Cooker Ingredient Notes
1 small can (or 4 tbsp) Massaman curry paste: Our favorite brands are Maesri, which is found in the link, or Mae Ploy. Find it in the canned goods aisle at the Asian supermarket.
2 lbs lean beef stew meat, or chuck roast, chopped into bite sized pieces: We love to use beef in the slow cooker because when the beef is slow cooked, it melts in your mouth it’s sooo tender! But any protein will work.
4 white, waxy potatoes, (peeled or unpeeled) cut into 2-inch-ish cubes: We like golden potatoes because they are so creamy, but any potato works!
1 sweet potato, (peeled or unpeeled) cut into 2-inch-ish cubes: It’s not traditional to add sweet potatoes, but Thai Hubby and I love how it adds sweet notes to the soup, and more complex flavor. Plus sweet potatoes are so good for you!
1 small white onion, cut into strips: a thickening agent for the curry, and adds a mellow, sweet depth of flavor.
1/2 cup peanuts (optional): adds a nice crispy texture, and roasted, nutty note to the curry.
2–3 tbsp fish sauce: one of my favorite Thai sauces! Adds a savory, umami flavor that brings and balances out all the flavors in the curry.
1–2 tbsp brown sugar: Not to make it sweet, but just to help balance all the flavors.
1-2 tbsp tamarind paste (optional): Adds a sour note, and a complex fruity hint of flavor.
How to make Slow Cooker Massaman Beef Curry : Step by Step
Mix together the curry paste and coconut milk in your crockpot.
Add the beef, potatoes and onion, and, if needed, water or chicken broth until the potatoes are mostly covered with liquid.
I like to cook it low and slow for 8 hours, but of course cooking it on high for 4-6 hours works fine too.
Once it’s done, sprinkle peanuts over it, add fish sauce, sugar, and tamarind paste to taste.
Serve with jasmine rice and your favorite veggie side dish like Thai Vegetable Stir-Fry!
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Make sure you chop all the veggies around the same size, so they all finish cooking around the same time, so you don’t have some hard chunks, and some overly mushy chunks.
- Don’t open the slow cooker lid while it’s cooking. The heat escapes, and then it takes longer to cook.
- My Thai Hubby doesn’t like thick Massman curry, but some people do!
- If the curry sauce is thinner than you want, transfer the curry sauce to a pan, and bring it to a gentle boil.
- Mix together 2 tbsp of cornstarch with ¼ cup of water. Pour it into the boiling curry sauce, and stir until it thickens.
- Feel free to add more water cornstarch mixture if it’s not thickening enough to your liking.
Storage & Reheating
- Fridge and Freezer: According to the FDA Food Code, prepared perishable foods, like Massman Curry, are good for:
- Fridge: 3-7 days
- Freezer: 2-3 months
- Reheat Frozen Massaman Curry: We prefer to defrost it overnight in the fridge. Or you can defrost and reheat in a microwave on a low (20% setting). Or warm it in the oven or pan.
Additions and Substitutions
- Beef substitute: You can use other meat, such as chicken or pork, but if using chicken I recommend chicken thighs which stay more moist if cooked for a long time.
- Tamarind Substitute: Lime juice, or just leave it out.
- Fish Sauce Substitute: Soy sauce + a dash of vinegar + a pinch of salt
- Massaman Curry Paste Substitute: Thai Yellow curry paste is very similar, or make your own Massman curry paste.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is in Massaman Curry paste?
Massaman curry paste has:
- long red Thai chilies, red shallots, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, coriander root, salt, peanuts, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cassia bark, and cardamom pods.
What cut of beef should I use?
Stew meat, which is actually cuts of chuck or round, is the best for this recipe in the slow cooker. Boneless beef shank or flank will also work.
Does coconut milk curdle in a slow cooker?
The coconut milk may separate, but it doesn’t usually in my slow cooker.
If it does separate, it’s still perfectly fine to eat, and you can try to mix it well at the end.
Is Massaman Curry Indian or Thai?
Massaman curry is a Thai dish with Indian roots.
Is Massaman Curry always beef?
In Thailand, typically you find Massaman curry made with chicken, but beef is also found in some regions.
What are the benefits of using a slow cooker?
- Slow cookers use less electricity than an oven.
- Because of the long, low-temperature cooking, slow cookers help tenderize less-expensive cuts of meat.
- Allow for one-step prep, and putting all the ingredients in the slow cooker saves cooking and cleanup time.
Other Thai Recipes You’ll Love
Take a pic and share it on Instagram with me @thaifoodie. I can’t wait to see it!Print
All the cozy flavors of Thai Massaman curry, but with the ease of the crockpot! Thai curry paste, beef, onion and potatoes, the best way to warm up a cold night!
- 1 small can (or 4 tbsp) Massaman curry paste
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3 lbs lean beef stew meat, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 4 white, waxy potatoes, cut into 2-inch-ish cubes
- 1 sweet potato (peeled or unpeeled, cut into 2-inch-ish cubes)
1 small white onion, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- 2–3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1–2 tsp sugar
- 1–2 tbsp tamarind paste
- Mix together the curry paste and coconut milk in your crockpot.
- Add the beef, potatoes and onion. I like to cook it low and slow for 8 hours, but of course cooking it on high for 4-6 hours works fine too.
- Once it’s done, sprinkle peanuts over it, add fish sauce, sugar and tamarind paste, to taste.
- Serve with jasmine rice and your favorite veggie dish like Thai Vegetable Stir-Fry!!
You can use other meat, such as chicken or pork, but if using chicken I recommend thighs which stay more moist if cooked for a long time.
If looking for more recipe tips, tricks, substitutions, additions, storage and reheating tips, look above in the blog post.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Thai
- Serving Size: 4-6
Keywords: Massaman Beef Curry Slow Cooker, slow cooker beef thai, massaman beef slow cooker, crockpot massaman curry beef, beef Thai massaman curry, slow cooker beef curry