Massaman Curry Recipe
This homemade Massaman Curry recipe perfectly fuses your favorite Thai and Indian flavors and is loaded with chicken, vegetables, coconut milk, peanuts, and spices.
This Massaman curry is so good you’ll put it on repeat for dinners, and it will be your go-to recipe you make to impress people. I’ll tell you why: It’s loaded with delicious flavors and healthy ingredients! But not only that, it’s really easy to make, enough so, you can make it a regular dinner rotation for busy weeknights.
And don’t forget to serve it with some homemade naan!
What is Massaman Curry?
Massaman curry originates from Thailand, but has Malayan and Indian cuisine influences. The name actually comes from a Malayan word, masam which means “sour.” (But don’t worry, this curry isn’t sour.)
Now, Massaman curry is most commonly made with chicken, but you can make it with beef, duck, goat, or pork. I like chicken, as does my family, so we made this curry with chicken and it turned out perfectly. I think this is one of my all-time favorite recipes.
- Vegetable oil — This is what we’ll use to cook our onions, peppers and carrots, and use with the curry paste.
- Veggies— Carrots, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, fresh ginger, cilantro.
- Massaman curry paste — See my FAQs below on where to find Massaman curry paste.
- Coconut milk — 13.6 oz cans. The coconut milk will act as our base liquid for the sauce.
- Lime juice — This acidic element pairs really well with the coconut milk in the sauce.
- Brown sugar — Adding a subtle sweetness really elevates this dish.
- Fish sauce — Sounds gross, but it’s just a little bit and it does help the sauce become that iconic massaman flavor.
- Chicken breast — Cut into bite size pieces.
- Yukon Gold potatoes — Peeled and cut into 1/2-1-inch cubes. If you don’t have this specific potato you can use what you have on hand, but this is my favorite because the potatoes cook to be soft and almost creamy when bitten into.
- Dry roasted peanuts — These will add a delicious crunch to the dish and will pair well with the peanut butter in the sauce.
- Red pepper flakes — This is just a pinch to give it the teeny, tiniest spice that massaman curry has.
- Creamy peanut butter — Use creamy because we will have the peanuts added to the dish. Crunchy peanut butter would be peanut crunch overload.
- Salt — To enhance the flavor.
- Fresh cilantro — To garnish on top.
- Cooked rice — For serving with the curry. I recommend using Jasmine rice as its aromatic and goes very well with Thai foods.
How to Make Massaman Curry at Home
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot or dutch oven and add the sliced carrots, red pepper, and onions. Stir and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Then add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer the vegetables to a medium sized bowl.
- Heat remaining oil in the now-empty pan. Then, add the Massaman curry paste and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown.
- To the curry paste add one can of coconut milk and stir until blended. Then add the freshly grated ginger, lime juice, cilantro, brown sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the chicken to the pot. Reduce to a simmer and let the chicken cook for 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is white and cooked through.
- Add the second can of coconut milk, the previously cooked vegetables, chopped potatoes, peanuts, red pepper flakes, peanut butter, and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Serve warm with rice and extra cilantro and peanuts for garnish.
Tools Used for This Recipe
Garlic mincer – Been using this for about 5 years and have zero complaints. I should buy a second one because we mince garlic so frequently!
Cutting board – This is one that I have and I love it! You really don’t need something super expensive to get the job done.
Rice cooker – I have the older version of this rice cooker and I love it. I know you can cook rice in the instant pot, but sometimes a simple gadget like this is what I’m most comfortable with.
The best way to make this recipe is by preparing the ingredients beforehand. Open the cans of coconut milk and curry paste prior to making this dish. Have the vegetables and chicken chopped and ready to go.
There isn’t really a substitute for the Massaman curry paste. You can buy curry paste online. Some Asian Markets or specialty grocery stores might carry the paste as well. Make sure you use Massaman curry paste not Massaman curry sauce. To simplify this recipe I purchased my curry paste, however, you’re more than welcome to make homemade Massaman curry paste if you’d like. I think it’s easier and dinner comes together quicker if I use the store-bought option. When you add it to the dish, it will have a really strong aroma, but once cooked and combined with the coconut milk, the flavor and aroma won’t be as overpowering.
I like to make this dish with Yukon gold potatoes, but you can use russets as well.
Make it as spicy or as mild as you like! If you want to up the heat, add more red pepper flakes, if you want it more kid-friendly and mild make the recipe as written.
I recommend you serve this recipe with jasmine rice. Jasmine rice is an aromatic long-grain white rice that pairs well with Thai dishes. You can also use brown jasmine rice (which is really delicious). Basmati rice can also be used.
I used chicken in this recipe but you’re welcome to use another form of protein such as beef or shrimp.
For a vegetarian Massaman curry substitute tofu for the chicken.
You can also have some lime wedges for people to squeeze on top!
Can you freeze Massaman curry?
Yes! You can freeze Massaman Curry. Simply place the curry in an airtight container or ziplock bag. You can freeze it for 1 month. When you’re ready to eat it, remove the curry from the freezer and let it thaw. Empty the curry into a microwave safe bowl and microwave it, or place it in a pot and warm it up on the stove. The only noticeable difference I observed after freezing the curry was the potatoes and carrots were just a tad softer after being frozen. Other than that you won’t be able to tell any difference between frozen and fresh.
Where do you buy Massaman Curry Paste?
I purchase Massaman Curry paste online. You can find the kind I used here. If you’re not one for online food shopping then Massaman curry paste should be available for purchase at an Asian market or at speciality grocery stores, usually around the Asian section. Quick reminder: make sure you get the paste and not the sauce.
What’s in Massaman curry paste?
The flavors in Massaman curry paste consists of flavors that aren’t normally found in other Thai curries. These include cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg, and mace. These spices are then combined with coriander seeds, lemongrass, chili peppers, shrimp paste, galangal, white pepper, shallots, and garlic to make the Massaman curry paste.
What is Massaman curry? Where does it come from?
Massaman curry originates from Thailand, but has Malayan and Indian cuisine influences. It’s a fusion of both Thai and Indian cuisine. The name actually comes from a Malayan word, masam which means “sour.” (But don’t worry, this curry isn’t sour.) The massaman curry is made of a red-style curry paste (Thai) and additional spices such as cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander (Indian).
Is this recipe gluten free?
Everything in this recipe is gluten free. However, while fish sauce is naturally gluten free, some companies have added wheat to it. So, just double check that the brand you use is wheat-free!
What to serve with Massaman Curry?
Curry and rice is a meal on its own, so having side dishes are really just a bonus and not a necessity. Here are a few side dishes I suggest you serve:
- Chickpea Curry
- Curry Chicken and Rice
- Indian Butter Cauliflower
- Indian Butter Chicken
- Homemade Naan Bread
- Peanut Noodles
- Sesame Noodles
If you make this recipe and love it, I would be so grateful if you come back to leave a rating and review. Thank you! ❤️
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 carrots - peeled and sliced into 1/8″ coins
- 1 red pepper - diced
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 1 garlic clove - minced
- 4 oz can Massaman curry paste
- 2 cans coconut milk - (13.6 oz cans)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger - grated
- 2 tablespoons cilantro - chopped
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar - packed
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 lb chicken breast - cut into bit size pieces
- 4 Yukon Gold potatoes - peeled and cut into 1/2″-1″ inch cubes
- 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- cilantro - for garnish
- cooked rice - for serving, preferably jasmine rice or another aromatic rice
- Heat 1 T oil in a large pot or dutch oven, add the onions, diced pepper, and carrots. Stir and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic clove, stir, cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
- Heat oil in the now empty pot or dutch oven. Add the curry paste and cook until it starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add one can of coconut milk to the curry paste and stir until blended. Add the lime juice, ginger, cilantro, brown sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling add the chicken to the pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is white and cooked through.
- Once chicken is cooked add the second can of coconut milk, vegetables (the ones you set aside in the bowl), potatoes, roasted peanuts, red pepper flakes, peanut butter, and salt to the pot. Stir to combine everything.
- Cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
- Serve warm with rice and extra cilantro and peanuts for garnish.