I've made a Massaman curry with Topside beef. I've cooked the curry for 2 hours now, the meat breaks up when pushed with a spoon but feels very tough and firm and not soft and falling apart like I hoped.

Any idea whats' wrong and if I can fix it somehow?

More details:

  • I seared the chunks prior to adding them to the curry.
  • The curry has been cooked on low-to-medium heat for 2 hours
  • The meat was slightly still frozen when seared (still easy to cut with a knife just a bit icy)
  • I've cut the meat into chunks of about 2 inches x 2 inches x 1 inches
  • The meat was advertised as lean top side
  • Why not just cook it longer? 2 hours seems short even without the meat starting frozen. Feb 15, 2021 at 7:41

1 Answer 1


Topside is a good cut of beef for slowly braising, which is what you're doing here. I assume you're following a recipe that calls for 2 hours of cooking? Many recipes for braised meat dishes tend to understate the amount of time it needs to be cooked to become tender (just like how they will tell you you can caramelise onions in 20 minutes). 2 hours is a very short time for this kind of dish. I tend to cook braised beef for anywhere between 4 and 6 hours to get it tender enough to fall apart. It takes time for the chemical reactions that you're after to take place. Give it at least another two hours, and it will be much better.

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