Mussaman Corned Beef Recipe


— By Tammy Kimbler


1 –  5 lb beef brisket

Mussaman Pickling Spice:

15 dried hot red chilies
1 large stick cinnamon, broken
1 tbs whole coriander seeds
2 tsp white peppercorns
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 bay leaves crumbled
1 tbs curry powder (hot or mild)
2 tsp turmeric powder


1 3/4 cups kosher salt
1/2 c fish sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tsp pink salt (sodium nitrite, optional)
1 cups chopped shallots
1 lemongrass stalk, sliced
1 head of garlic cloves, sliced
2″ finger ginger, sliced
Half of the Mussaman Pickling Spices
1 gallon water

Cooking Corned Beef:

1 lemongrass stalk cut in 1″ sticks
5 cloves garlic, smashed
2″ piece of ginger, sliced
half a bunch cilantro
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs brown sugar
Half of the Mussaman Pickling Spices


6 shallots, peeled & halved
4 carrots thickly slices
4 large red potatoes, quartered
1/2 head cabbage roughly chopped
1 lime, quartered
handful chopped cilantro


For the Mussaman Pickling Spices, toast the whole spices and chilies in a dry pan until fragrance.  Add the crumbled bay leaves, curry powder and turmeric.  Divide in half.

In a stock pot, combine all the brine ingredients.  Heat to dissolve the salt and sugar, then chill.  Submerge your beef in the brine, placing a plate on top to keep the beef from floating.  Store in the fridge for 5 days.  Remove meat from brine and rinse thoroughly.  Wrap the beef until ready to use.  The cured meat can sit for another week in the fridge before cooking.

When you’re ready to cook the beef, add to a large stock pot and cover with several inches of water.  Add the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, cilantro, fish sauce, sugar and remaining Mussaman Pickling Spices.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 3 hours.  Taste the broth.  If it is to salty, add a few more cups of water to dilute to your liking.  You want it pleasantly salty, but not like a brine.  Simmer the beef until fork tender.

A half hour before the beef is done, draw off some stock to cook the vegetables in.  Start with the whole shallots, carrots and potatoes, then add the cabbage during the last 5 minutes.  Slice the meat and serve with the vegetables, broth, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of cilantro.  The beef is even better the next day.  I’ve been cooking more veggies in the broth all week to great effect.  Enjoy the trip!

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