Massaman Roast Beef

Massaman Roast Beef

got really excited at Pak’nSave the other day. Every time I see a beef roast on the cheap, I buy it without really thinking.      I always slow cook my beef roasts, so this one has been sitting in my freezer for a few weeks now while I thought of ways to make it slightly more interesting than my typical stew. 

After mastering Vietnamese pho a few weeks back, I decided to try my hand at my second-favourite dish from my adventures in South East Asia last year. Massaman curry was that such dish. Its lovely mild flavours and vibrant yellow texture make it an excellent comfort food and definitely one worth making.

Most people make their curries by using chopped-up stewing beef, but I thought, hey, why can’t I cook a whole bolar roast in the sauce and end up with a pulled-beef-style curry? Well, clearly nothing was stopping me, so I gave it a hoon. It worked wonderfully. The flavours in the sauce were definitely a lot more intense than usual because of the epic cooking time but well worth it. It is traditionally made with potatoes, but I didn’t have any and by using kumara it makes it even more a Kiwi fusion dish, which is oh so trendy at the moment.

Also, forgive this bastardisation of a national Thai treasure. This really isn’t very authentic, but it is easy and at 11pm last night when I put this on, easy was all I really cared about.


Serves 4 

  • 1kg  bolar roast beef (or stewing steak would work)
  • Splash of oil
  • 2  tablespoons Thai yellow curry paste
  • cinnamon quills
  • 3  whole star anise
  • 1  tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1cm  ginger, sliced 
  • 1  400g tin coconut cream
  • 1  tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2  tablespoons of good peanut butter
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2  cups vegetable stock
  • 3 small  kumara, diced
  • 3 large  carrots, sliced into rounds
  • Fresh  coriander to serve
  • ½ cup  salted peanuts
  • Rice and roti to serve


  1. Trim any excess fat off your beef, then place it in the slow cooker. In a frying pan, heat up the oil and toast the curry paste with the cinnamon, star anise, coriander seeds and ginger slices until fragrant — about three minutes. Add in half a can of the coconut cream and dissolve the curry paste into it.
  2. Pour the contents of the pan over the beef and add the remaining coconut cream, fish sauce, peanut butter, lime juice and vegetable stock. Pop the lid on the top of the cooker and cook for 8 hours on high. After this time, add in the vegetables and cook for another 3–4 hours until the beef starts to fall apart and the vegetables are tender.
  3. Using two forks, pull the beef apart and stir the shreds through the sauce to disperse among the vegetables. Serve atop roti and rice and garnish with fresh coriander and chopped peanuts. Another fresh squeeze of lime wouldn’t go amiss either.
This article first appeared in Issue 21, 2015.
Posted 12:57pm Sunday 30th August 2015 by Sophie Edmonds.