Lamb and onion massaman curry

by Ed Halmagyi


  • 2 brown onions, finely sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 2 Tbsp massaman curry paste*, store-bought or homemade
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 400ml coconut cream
  • 12 chat potatoes
  • yoghurt, mint and coriander leaves, to serve
  • For the Massaman curry paste
  • 4 cloves
  • 12 cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • 6 dried long red chillies
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 eschalots, diced
  • 1 bunch coriander, roots only
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup vegetable oil


1 Fry the lamb piece sin ghee in a large saucepan over a high heat in batches until all well-browned. Add the onions, celery, garlic, cardamom pods and curry leaves and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until softened.
2 Mix in the massaman paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Pour in the stock, turmeric and coconut, then simmer for 2 hours, until the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened.
3 Add the potatoes and cook for another 25 minutes, until they are tender, then serve with yoghurt and herbs.

For the Massaman curry paste
Makes 300g
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Toast the spices and coconut for 5 minutes, until aromatic and the cardamom becomes crumbly. Set aside to cool slightly. Soak the dried chillies in 1 cup warm water for 2 minutes, until just softened, then drain and discard the water.

2 Grind the spices in a mortar or spice grinder, then combine with the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarse. Add the oil in a steady stream while pureeing. Mix until smooth then refrigerate under a thin layer of extra oil and use within 2 weeks.

You may also like