Economy cuts such as shin beef or blade are really best for this dish.
1.5 kg/3 lb stewing beef
8 cardamom pods, bruised
1 teaspoon salt
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups coconut milk
6 tablespoons Thai Masaman curry paste
8 small new potatoes
10 small pickling onions, peeled
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
20 fresh basil leaves
90 g/3 oz/1/2 cup whole roasted peanuts
Cut beef into 5 cm (2 in) cubes and put into a pan with the cardamom pods, salt and 1 1/2 cups of the coconut milk diluted with an equal amount of water. Bring to the boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer until meat is almost tender. In a wok heat the remaining undiluted coconut milk and stir over medium heat until thick and oily. Add Masaman curry paste and fry until fragrant. Add meat, potatoes, onions, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Simmer uncovered until potatoes are done, adding stock from meat as required. When almost ready stir in basil leaves and peanuts and simmer for a few minutes longer. Serve with steamed rice.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)