Massaman curry is said to be originated in the cosmopolitan Court of Ayutthaya, through the Persian merchant Sheikh Ahmad Qomi, from whom the noble Thai Bunnag family descends. This dish is so good and popular, it was even mentioned repeatedly in Thai literature. The first traditional version of this dish was actually made with chicken, but over the years the version of this dish with beef became more popular.
It is not easy to find this dish in small or even medium-sized restaurants in Thailand, because it is relatively hard to make and the ingredients are rather costly, especially for the beef version. Beef Massaman Curry is considered to be a very fancy dish in Thailand and is only served in high-end restaurants or prepared for on special occasions.
There are as many variations of this dish as there are stars in the sky. And usually, the Massaman curry paste is store-bought, and not made from scratch. But to us, the flavour is very different from the store-bought paste. It is definitely very delicious too, but cannot compare with the homemade curry paste.
In our version, the consistency is more like a stew, and that’s exactly how we prefer it. However, many times we tried and liked this dish with very soupy consistency when the sauce is very liquid and you pour it over rice. Usually, they do it in restaurants, and the reason behind it is that you can put much less meat in there. We like it with more meat and thicker sauce, but it really is just a matter of personal preference.
Thai people prefer to add store-bought roasted peanuts in this dish, as producers roast the peanut in the shell and the browning is done more evenly. We roasted the peanuts ourselves, as there were no roasted ones available in our store that day, to be honest. However, they came out just as good and delicious.
Massaman curry has a very rich and deep flavour and should be served with rice and some pickles to prevent palate fatigue.