Ox cheek and aubergine massaman curry

A robust, rich and endlessly comforting Thai curry. Any slow-cook cut of beef – brisket, shin or short ribs – will work well.

  • Preparation time: 45 minutes, plus resting
  • Cooking time: 3 hours and 45 minutes
  • Total time: 4 hours and 30 minutes, plus resting

Serves: 8

Ingredients

150g peanuts
8 garlic cloves, sliced
4 lemon grass stalks, outer leaves discarded and tender core finely sliced
50g fresh root ginger, finely sliced
5 echalion shallots, finely sliced
2 tbsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil, plus more if needed
1.5kg ox cheeks, trimmed of excess fat and sinew and cut into large chunks
3 aubergines, cut into thick wedges
28g pack coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves torn
1 large cinnamon stick
1g pack Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients kaffir lime leaves (or bay leaves)
200g Bart deSIAM Thai massaman curry simmer sauce
400ml coconut milk
2 tbsp tamarind paste, plus more to taste
1½ tbsp palm or light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce

Method

1. Heat a large casserole or heavy-based frying pan and dry-toast the peanuts for 2-3 minutes, until golden; set aside. Dry-fry the garlic, lemon grass, ginger, shallots and chilli flakes for about 3-4 minutes, until fragrant and just browning. Pulse in a food processor (or chop by hand) with a large pinch of salt, until you have a rough, wet paste.

2. Return the pan to a high heat with 1 tbsp oil. Season the ox cheeks and sear (in batches if necessary), turning until browned, for about 10-12 minutes; set aside. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil and, when smoking, add the aubergine; don’t overfill the pan and cook in batches, with more oil, if necessary. Fry for 5-7 minutes, turning until browned and slightly softened; set aside.

3. Add the spice paste, coriander stalks, cinnamon stick, lime (or bay) leaves and ½ the massaman curry sauce to the pan. Once bubbling, mix through the ox cheeks, turning, until sticky and caramelised. Pour in the remaining curry sauce, 75g peanuts and the coconut milk, then half-fill the can with water and add this too. Bring to the boil, stir in the tamarind paste, sugar and fish sauce, and season, adding more tamarind to taste. Cover and simmer gently for 2 hours. Add the aubergines and simmer, uncovered, for another hour.

4. Remove the ox cheek and roughly shred with two forks, discarding any tough pieces of sinew, along with the cinnamon stick and lime leaves. Briskly boil the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until thickened, before adding the meat and most of the coriander leaves. Serve with rice, if liked, scattering with the remaining coriander leaves and peanuts.