Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner
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Pressure Cooker Massaman Beef Curry

Pressure Cooker Massaman Beef Curry

Pressure Cooker Massaman Beef Curry

I want to make Thai curries at home, but the ingredient list always scares me. I love shopping at local Asian markets, but…shrimp paste? Magroot skin? Galangal? I would only use them once. The few times I’ve made a curry, I’ve used jarred spice pastes….but that’s cheating, right?

Then I had my lucky break. Leela at specializes in Thai cooking. She recommends spice paste over buying the individual ingredients, particularly if you’re just starting out with Thai curries.

That was all I needed – I was off and running with my spice pastes. Well, I thought I was, until I had a Massaman curry at Madam Mam’s, and chose that as my first curry to work on for the blog. Who knew jars of Massaman curry paste were hard to find? Luckily, I had the power of the internet on my side, and after a false start where Massaman curry paste magically turned into green curry paste while shipping, I was stocked and ready to go.
*Also, I broke Leela’s rule #5 of Massaman curry – I used a pressure cooker. Sorry, Leela…but I followed all most of your other rules, OK? OK.

The results were amazing. Yes, even with the pressure cooker. Not sure what Leela has against them, but it sure worked for me. Massaman curry has a lot of spice flavor, but it isn’t all that hot. It was a big hit with the kids. (At least the ones willing to taste it.) Looking for a delicious Thai curry in about an hour? Fire up the pressure cooker and give this one a try.
*No Pressure Cooker? No worries. See the Variations section for cooking instructions with a standard dutch oven.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Massaman Beef Curry

Adapted from: Leela Punyaratabandhu Massaman Curry []


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Pressure Cooker Massaman Beef Curry

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


Pressure Cooker Massaman beef curry from Thailand, with the help of a jar of curry paste.



  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Massaman curry paste (a whole 4-ounce can)
  • 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed


  • 1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed


  1. Brown the onions: Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pot until shimmering. Add the onion wedges and cook without moving for 4 minutes, until well browned on one side. Remove to a plate.
  2. Fry the curry paste: Scoop the cream from the top of the can of coconut milk – it should yield about a cup of cream – and add it to the pot. Stir in the curry paste. Cook, stirring often, until the curry paste starts to fry, about 8 minutes.
  3. Pressure cook the curry: Sprinkle the beef with the kosher salt. Add the beef to the pot, and stir to coat with curry paste. Stir in the rest of the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, tamarind paste, brown sugar, and the cooked onions. Float the new potatoes on top of the liquid in the pot. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure (manual mode in my Instant Pot) for 15 minutes with an electric PC, or 12 minutes with a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes.
  4. Finish the curry: Remove the potatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon, cut each in half, and stir back into the pot. Taste the curry for seasoning, adding more fish sauce, tamarind paste, or brown sugar as needed. Ladle the curry into bowls, sprinkle with some of the roasted peanuts, and serve with Jasmine rice.
  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Thai
Browning the onions

Browning the onions

Skimming the coconut cream

Skimming the coconut cream


Frying the curry paste with the cream

Frying the curry paste with the cream

Everything in the pot...

Everything in the pot…


  • No pressure cooker? No worries. Use a heavy bottomed dutch oven with a lid, and increase the amount of chicken stock to 2 cups. Follow the instructions right up until “lock the lid”. Then, instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil and cover with the lid. Move the pot to a preheated 350*F oven and bake for 3 hours, until the beef is tender. Continue with the serving step.
  • Don’t use low fat coconut milk – you need the heavy cream for frying the curry paste. Also, don’t shake the can, so the heavy cream is still on top and can be scraped out of the can.
Fish sauce, coconut milk, curry paste, tamarind

Back: Fish sauce, coconut milk, curry paste. Front: tamarind paste

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Pressure Cooker Chinese Pork with Dried Plum Sauce
Pressure Cooker Lamb and Barley Stew
Click here for my other pressure cooker recipes.

Adapted from:

Leela Punyaratabandhu Massaman Curry []

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Michael D-L says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It works a charm. I have made Thai curries before, but never Massaman and never in the pressure cooker. This was so good that I dreamed about it and thought all day about the leftovers I’d be having for dinner that evening.

    I used the InstantPot IP-DUO60. I was a bit confused as your directions say, “. . . cook on high pressure for 12 minutes with an electric PC or 12 minutes with an electric PC”. . . so, I decided to let it cook for 20 minutes. I let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, then I vented it.

    The beef and potatoes were tender and perfect. The sauce, sublime. I’ll make this weekly, I think.

    If I may, I’d like to point out that in traditional Thai cooking, when frying the paste with the coconut cream, you want to do it until the cream “breaks” and little dots of oil start appearing on top. With my InstantPot that actually did start to happen at about the 8-minute mark you reference. Thanks again!

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