Khun Ya’s Massaman Curry

Did you think I forgot? What on earth is she talking about? I’m a little embarrassed to admit, but there have been a number of times I said I would post something on this blog, but it never happens. Forgetfulness, ADD, whatever may be the cause, I want to make things right and follow up with all the promises I once made on this blog.

First thing I’m following up on has to do with my grandmothers. I wrote about the big birthday bash celebrating my maternal grandmother Arpor, and now I’d like to introduce you all to my paternal grandmother, Khun Ya. I relate to Khun Ya in a lot of ways. She loves to cook, she loves talking about cooking, and she is known for overwhelming house guests with tons of food. Several years ago, hip surgery made it hard for her to cook at home, so the family arranged for live-in help to take care of the cooking. This took some getting used to, but Khun Ya took it in stride when she realized she was the boss of the kitchen.

When we visited Khun Ya at her house last July, I asked what was her favorite dish to cook. If you read the title of this post, you’ll know what her answer was. And while she didn’t give me thorough instructions on how to make it, she did give me the ingredient list. I came up with the rest based on what I’ve learned from my mom. It may not be too different from other recipes out there, but knowing that it came from my family makes it special to me.

Khun Ya’s Massaman Curry

1 lb. beef cubes
1 lb. potatoes, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups string beans or other vegetables
1 small can massaman curry paste (Khun Ya said not to bother making my own, the store-bought kind is good enough)
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
palm sugar, to taste
fish sauce, to taste

1. In a large pot, cook coconut milk and massaman curry paste over low heat, and stir until well-mixed.
2. Add beef and stir enough to coat meat with curry mix. Add water to cover meat in pot.
3. Mix in tamarind paste.
4. Keep curry on low heat for roughly an hour, or until beef becomes tender. Refill water as needed during this time.
5. After beef is tender, add potatoes and onions. Add sugar and fish sauce to taste at this point. If needed, add more tamarind paste too.
6. Keep on heat for another 20 minutes or so.
7. Before serving, check taste and add more fish sauce if needed.


Bonus fact about Khun Ya: Just like my maternal grandma, she also had 11 children! Here’s most of us (not everyone since some have passed and some couldn’t make it) at our past family reunion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s