The easiest curry you’ll make!

PREP TIME: 20 mins
COOK TIME: 2 – 2.5 hrs
IDEAL FOR: Friday night family meals; feeding a weekend crowd

Ever tackled a ’15 Minute Meal’ recipe ???

Only to find yourself still stuck in the kitchen 45 minutes later!

Love her or hate her, Nigella Lawson (in my opinion) can whip up a quick tasty meal like no other celeb cook and save you from being tied to the kitchen stove while everyone else relaxes around you.

What I like about Nigella’s recipes, is she doesn’t cut corners on flavour. What she often shows is how cheap cuts can be used to create simple, mouthwatering meals. Without breaking the bank. Or losing you mind with over-complicated recipes that are definitely not 15 minutes.

So, once again, Nigella comes to the home-cooks-party, with a very simple curry that’s a winner and a great Friday night treat – the Beef Massaman Curry.

An aside; when we make this curry, I always send Tim out to grab some pre-made poppadoms and naan bread from our local Spice Shop (or any good supermarket will have them to) making Friday night curry super easy.

Back to the curry…

Beef chuck is the meat of choice. Nice and cheap and tasty as you like. It’s rich in flavour and becomes lovely and tender after a nice slow cook.

(I won’t go into too much info on cheap cuts of meat in this post (that will come), we’re here to cook a curry, but take a second to check out my ‘Snapshot of cheap cuts’ at the bottom of this post and the best cooking techniques to use).

Beef Massaman curry is meant to be an easy meal so don’t over-complicate, simply serve with a large bowl of green beans to get those 5-a-day requirements in. And my cheat poppadoms and naan, if you want to treat the fam.

This is also a great recipe for letting the flavours really develop in the fridge for a day or doing in advance and freezing – see the recipe for the best way to freeze.


beef curry, beef chuck
A snapshot of cheap cuts.

Bone-in chuck steaks are one of the least expensive cuts of meat.

Chuck steaks come from just below the neck around the shoulder area of a cow. They’re ideal for braising, pot-roasting or, due to the richness of flavour, minced for for burgers or meatballs.

Blade steaks (or Featherblade) come from the same area. But they’re cut across the blade to eliminate the connective tissue. They’re recommended by experienced cooks because of their tenderness and flavour. In fact, they give fillets, sirloins or rib eyes a run good for the money.

When I was a kid in New Zealand, running around on our little farm, our Friday night treat was F ‘n C’s (Fish and Chips or as we get teased about pronouncing it ‘FUSH and CHUPS’). But since living in the UK, curry has played a much bigger part in my life! So, what’s your favourite Friday night treat? Leave a comment…

Beef Massaman Curry

Course Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 6 people
Cost ££


  • 2 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 25 g palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 500 ml hot water (boiled from your kettle)
  • 1 x 400 ml can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup massaman curry paste (or to taste) (or 125ml/140g)
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 kg beef chuck cut into small cubes approx 5cm
  • 750 g waxy potatoes you can peel but I don't
  • 1 bunch basil or coriander to serve


  • Preheat oven to 170C/ gas mark 3.
  • Add tamarind paste and the sugar into a measuring jug then add the boiling water to reach 250ml. Stir to help dissolve the paste and sugar.
  • In a large casserole with a lid add just the cream that sits at the top of the coconut milk can. Then add the massaman curry paste, stirring every now and again, until bubbling – don't worry if it separate's a little.
  • Next, to the casserole add the contents of the jug (water, tamarind and sugar). Then add the rest of the coconut milk and the tsp of salt and stir it well. Finally add in the beef and the potatoes – make sure you've cut them into small chunks the same as the beef.
  • With the beef and potato now stirred in, allow it all to come to a bubble. As soon as it does, place the lid on the casserole and turn off the heat and transfer to the oven to cook for 2.5 hours or until the meat and potatoes are tender.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of coriander or thai basil alongside some poppadoms and naan or whip up some rice and enjoy!

Advance cooking without the potatoes

  • If you do this recipe in advance, leave the potatoes out so you cook them on the day.
    You can store the curry in the fridge for 1- 3 days (but make sure you let it cool first before putting in the fridge after cooking)
    Then 30mins before you want to eat your curry, preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
    Add the potato chunks to the pot of curry and place on the hob, add 250ml of boiling water and bring to a bubble.
    Place the lid on and into the oven for 30 minutes, or until the curry is bubbling and the potatoes are tender.
    Serve as above.


  • The curry should be reheated once only.
    If you serve with rice and have leftovers it is possible to use again (but only reheat once).
    To ensure you don’t get food poisoning (and I’ve had it from rice, believe me it’s not fun):
    • Cool the rice as quickly as possible (ideally within 1 hour).
    • Keep rice in the fridge for no more than 1 day until reheating.
    • Ensure the dish is steaming hot all the way through.
    • Do not reheat rice more than once.
    Remember: never reheat if you didn’t store immediately in fridge

Freezing Tips

  • Freeze cooled curry in an airtight container for up to 3 months, defrost overnight in fridge before reheating as per recipe, above.