Massaman curry is a bit different from other Thai curries. It isn't a stir-fry of sliced meat with crisp-tender veggies. Rather, it's more like a Thai beef stew. It has chunks of meat (usually beef) slow-simmered with potatoes. This makes it a perfect candidate for crock-pot-ization.
Instead of potatoes, I used daikon and baby carrots. Turnips would work well too in place of one or both of those veggies. I used full-fat coconut milk but I think the lite version would work too for those who are counting calories. However, lite coconut milk might be a bit watery so I would recommend either thickening the gravy somehow (reducing it in a pan or adding xanthan gum), or sticking with the full-fat stuff and just using less sauce on their plate.
Traditionally, palm sugar is added. However, there was already some in my curry paste so I did not use any. You could substitute date sugar, maple sugar, sucanat, brown sugar, Splenda, or use nothing at all and have a less-sweet dish.
I served it over cauliflower rice.
SLOW COOKER MASSAMAN CURRY
- 2 lbs beef stew meat (or lamb, or pork. If you want a leaner cut of beef, use top round or eye of round.)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3-6 Tbs Massaman curry paste, or to taste (I used about 5 Tbs. Mae Ploy brand is Whole30-compliant)
- 1 Tbs tamarind paste (or 1/3 cup lime juice)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 Tbs fish sauce
- 2 Tbs palm sugar (optional; see description above. Leave this out for Whole30)
- 4 star anise
- About a dozen cardamom pods, crushed with the side of a knife
- 8 oz daikon or turnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 4 oz lb baby carrots (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped or crushed cashews or peanuts (optional; I forgot to add this. Use cashews for Whole30)
- Thai basil and/or cilantro for serving (I used Thai basil)
- In a small bowl, combine the curry paste, tamarind paste (if using), and palm sugar (if using) with some of the coconut milk until thoroughly combined.
- Add the coconut milk mixture along with the rest of the coconut milk to the slow cooker. Add all the remaining ingredients except for nuts and fresh herbs.
- Cook on low for 8 hours, stirring once halfway through if possible.
- Serve over cauliflower rice with the chopped nuts and herbs.