Kangaroo and Potato Massaman Curry


3 fresh or dried bay leaves
1-piece cinnamon stick
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 kg Kangaroo rump, cut into 6cm pieces
270 ml coconut cream
1.8 litres coconut milk
500 gm potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 5cm pieces
50 gm Brown sugar, or to taste
50 ml fish sauce, or to taste
2 tbsp. tamarind water
Massaman curry paste
22 gm dried long red chillies, soaked in hot water for 2 hours
1 tbsp. coriander seeds (whole)
3 tsp cumin seeds (whole)
½ tsp cardamom seeds (whole)
6 cloves (whole)
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, plus extra to serve
4 large red shallots, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Fried shallots
For shallow-frying: vegetable oi
6 large red shallots, thinly sliced
to serve: cilantro, sliced ginger and steamed jasmine rice


1. For curry paste, drain and chop chillies, and set aside. Dry-roast spices until fragrant (30-40 seconds), cool briefly, then pound to a powder with a large mortar and pestle. Add remaining ingredients in batches and pound to a coarse paste, then combine batches and pound until smooth (you can also do this in a small food processor, adding 2 tbsp. water to help process to a smooth paste).

2. Dry-roast bay leaves and cinnamon stick in a small frying pan until fragrant (20-30 seconds). Set aside.

3. Heat oil in an extra-large saucepan over medium-high heat, add Kangaroo in batches and brown all over (1-2 minutes each side). Transfer to a plate, rinse pan out, then return to medium-high heat, add half the coconut cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until it cracks and the fat separates (4-5 minutes). Add curry paste, bay leaves and cassia bark, and stir-fry until fragrant and curry paste is toasted (1-2 minutes; this may take longer if water has been added to make the paste). Add coconut milk, remaining coconut cream and 250ml water and bring to a simmer. Return Kangaroo to pan, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer uncovered until Roo is tender and sauce reduces to just cover Roo (11/2 to 21/2 hours; if sauce reduces too much, add a little more water half a cup at a time to keep beef just covered without diluting the sauce too much). Add potato and simmer until your kangaroo is very tender and potatoes are soft (20-30 minutes). Season curry to taste with brown sugar, fish sauce and tamarind in the last few minutes of cooking for a balance of salty, sweet and sour.

4. Meanwhile, for fried shallots, heat oil in a pan over medium heat to 350F or until it shimmers. Add shallots and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp (1-2 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

5. Scatter curry with coriander, julienned ginger and fried shallots, and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Use coconut cream without thickeners or it won’t crack – that is, the fat won’t separate. Tamarind extract is best made fresh. To make 80ml extract, combine 1 tbsp tamarind pulp with 100ml hot water, and stand until pulp softens. Break up the pulp in the water with the back of a spoon and strain through a coarse sieve.