Cooking Experiences

Recreating Yellow River Cafe’s Massaman curry

Caroline sings the praises of her husband’s Massaman curry.

One of my favourite Thai dishes is Massaman curry and in the years since Guildford’s Yellow River Cafe closed down I have been trying to reproduce what in my humble opinion has to be the tastiest Massaman curry ever.

There have been numerous disappointments along the way but last night I think my husband nailed it! The spice level was just right, it didn’t have the rather thin taste that some of my attempts have had, it was not too oily and the beef was so tender it fell apart on the fork.

Here’s what he did:

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil and add a tablespoon of Massaman curry paste (I bought mine from the Chinese supermarket at Sheepscar in Leeds)

Add a small carton of coconut cream and incorporate

Add 1 kg of beef (we used our favourite beef for slow cooking, Donald Russell’s beef rib trim, but other cuts such as braising steak or beef shin would work too)

Add another small carton of coconut cream

Once incorporated add a large potato cut into cubes, a small onion cut into slices, a dessert spoon of peanuts, 3 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste

Mix together well and transfer to the slow cooker

Cook on low for 5 hours

Thicken with a little cornflour as necessary

Pour off a little of the oil that collects at the top and serve with rice


Apart from the Massaman curry paste there is nothing that you will have trouble finding on the shelves of your local supermarket. Preparation is quick and once it goes into the slow cooker there is nothing else to do. It freezes well so it is worth cooking double and freezing an extra portion. All in all it was a great success and something that we will be cooking again very soon!

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