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Make an authentic Thai massaman curry in a fraction of the time using the Instant Pot or another pressure cooker you have. Delicious, uncompromising Thai flavours on a week night! #massaman #thaicurry #instantpot #glutenfree #thairecipe

Instant Pot Massaman Beef Curry

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A classic Thai massaman curry made faster with the help of the pressure cooker. I also include my secret weapon: semi-homemade massaman curry paste, so you can make a flavourful massaman curry without having to make the whole paste from scratch!


  • 1 ½ lb beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 ½ cup coconut milk
  • 4-6 Tbsp massaman curry paste (store bought, homemade or “semi homemade” as per recipe below)
  • 2-3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 Tbsp palm sugar, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp tamarind paste, store bought of homemade. Read more about tamarind here.
  • 1 medium potato (~300g), cut into big chunks
  • Half a large onion, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts
  • Jasmine rice for serving

Quick Semi-Homemade Massaman Curry Paste

  • 50g store bought red curry paste (see note)
  • 1 tsp toasted coriander seeds, or ground
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, or ground
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom, or 2 whole pieces
  • Optional: 1 tsp fermented shrimp paste (gapi), only if your paste doesn’t already contain it

Check out ingredients and tools I use 


Important Safety Note:

For the curry paste:

  1. Grind all whole spices into a powder either in a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder.
  2. Mix together curry paste, ground spices, and fermented shrimp paste, if using.

For the curry:

  1. In a large skillet, add just enough oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add beef in one layer and without crowding the pan, and let sear until the bottom is well browned. Flip beef and brown the other side. Pay attention to the heat and make sure the browned bits on the pan are not burned. Turn heat off, and remove beef from the pan.
  2. Turn heat back on to medium, add just enough water to coat the bottom of the pan and scrape all the browned bits off into the water. Keep this pan juice for added flavour. Note: If you have burned the stuff that’s stuck on the pan, do not deglaze it and just discard.
  3. In sauté mode, medium heat, add ½ cup coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  4. Add curry paste and stir to mix well. Turn heat to low, and let the mixture thicken, stirring frequently, until very thick or until coconut oil separates from the paste (this may not happen if you use canned coconut milk).
  5. Add remaining coconut milk and stir to mix. Add seared beef, deglazed pan juice, 2 Tbsp fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind. Stir to mix well.
  6. Close Instant Pot and set it to “Pressure Cook” mode using high pressure for 30 minutes.
  7. Once the timer goes off, put a cold wet towel on top of the metal part of the lid and let it cool for at least 10 minutes or until the pressure valve falls down. Note: If you are making a larger amount than this recipe, your cool down time will also increase.
  8. Before you open lid, always press the quick release button to make sure any remaining pressure is released. This is especially important if the valve has not fallen back down, because that means there is definitely still pressure inside that needs to be released before opening. 
  9. Open Instant Pot, check that the beef is tender by piercing it with a fork—it should easily go through.
  10. Add potato, onions, peanuts, and simmer on sauté mode for 10-15 mins or just until potatoes are done.
  11. Taste and adjust seasoning with more fish sauce or tamarind as needed.
  12. Enjoy!

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You can To make this extra quick, you can skip the searing step and add the beef to the instant pot directly. However, the searing adds really nice beefy flavour, so do it if you have time!