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Massaman Curry – How to cook (quick and easy method)

Massaman curry is a singular Thai curry that isn’t fiercely scorching.  It is is a rich curry of Persian origin which has been splendidly assimilated into the basic Thai cuisine in the Southern area of Thailand.

Massaman curry is right for individuals who want to attempt the authentic Asian flavor, but don’t want to bear the burning scorching feeling of most curries, resembling Thai green curry. It also shares some similarity with Nyonya delicacies referred to as hen kapitan due to the proximity to Malaysia.

The dish has a signature bitter notice from tamarind pulp, and its identify is derived from the Malay phrase masam, which suggests “sour.”

I am using the store-bought Massaman curry paste in this recipe.  You also have a selection to make the curry paste from scratch in case you are interested, which I have the recipe within the following part. Either approach, you will love the fantastic taste of this cuisine, which was voted the world’s prime ten most scrumptious food by the readers of CNN Journey in 2011.

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How to cook the right Massaman curry

1. Scale back the coconut milk

Coconut milk performs an important position in Massaman curry. The fat content and taste of freshly pressed coconut milk are totally different from the processed coconut milk in cans or packets. I exploit recent coconut milk instantly purchased from the native marketplace for this recipe. Regulate the amount in case you use canned or packaged coconut milk. The amount might be significantly various from one Massaman curry recipe to another. You need to use the overall guideline of 300 ml of coconut milk for 1 kg of meat.

Here is how to do it: Pour half of the coconut milk right into a pan. Simmer the coconut milk over low heat till it thickens and the coconut oil starts to separate from the water part.

Coconut milk is an emulsion. When it heats up, the oil and water will start to separate into two layers. Once we scale back the amount further until principally the oil is left behind, add the Massaman curry paste and saute till it turns fragrant.

Notice that should you use enough coconut milk, the coconut oil is enough to saute the curry paste. Nevertheless, you possibly can add some cooking oil if there’s too little coconut oil stays.

2. Add the curry paste

You will notice the coconut oil is bubbling at the fringe of the curry paste. When that occurs, and you odor the aroma rising from the pan, proceed to add the hen.

Should you use any store-bought Massaman curry pastes, be conservative when adding other seasonings as they are often fairly salty.

The flavors of the massaman curry paste (nam phrik kaeng matsaman) come from numerous dry spices seldom used in Thai cuisines similar to cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, bay leaves, and nutmeg along with other widespread Thai components reminiscent of galangal and lemongrass.

I recommend you employ the store-bought curry paste to put together a small portion of the curry. It isn’t sensible to make it from scratch since you need more than ten totally different herbs and spices to make the curry paste.

How to make the curry paste

In case you’re making a larger batch for a party, then you possibly can comply with the recipe under to create your mix.

Massaman Curry Paste (make from scratch)

1 tbsp coriander seed, roasted
1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted
half tsp nutmeg, grated
half tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
four ouncesshallots, finely chopped
1 ouncesgarlic, finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, finely sliced
1 tbsp galangal, finely chopped
1 tbsp kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
1 tsp floor white pepper
10 purple chilies
1 tbsp salt
1-2 tbsp Thai shrimp paste
4 green cardamom pods
100 g vegetable oil

– Remove the seeds and internal bits of the dry chilies.
– Roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dry chili, and cardamom pods till fragrant.
– Roast the shallot, garlic, lemongrass, and galangal till deep brown.
– Put all the elements into an electrical food processor and blend until it types a uniform paste.

Ingredients Massaman curry pasteComponents for the Massaman curry paste

three. Add the hen, potatoes and more coconut milk,

Now you possibly can add the remaining coconut milk and braised the hen. Add some water if there’s not sufficient coconut milk to submerge the hen absolutely for braising.


Hen is the preferred meat to cook Massaman curry with but beef, lamb and mutton are equally widespread in Thailand.

Bone-in hen (or beef) is most popular over meat alone because the bone will release extra taste to the curry. Braising will extract flavor identical to the method of creating stocks.

Use beef as an alternative of hen. Hen might be substituted with beef, but you want to braise it longer until it is gentle and tender. You might also contemplate to boil the beef (bone-in) in a separate pot for ten minutes, skim off the scum floating on the surface and then only transfer to the pot to braise with different elements.


If you need to serve the Massaman curry instantly, you’ll be able to braise the hen for fifteen minutes, add the potatoes and continue for an additional 20 minutes. By doing this, the hen and potatoes will cook to the appropriate degree at the similar time.

In the event you intend to eat it a day later, you’ll be able to cook the hen alone with out the potatoes. Let the hen calm down and store it within the chiller (or freezer in case you intend to maintain it longer). Once you need to serve, cook the potatoes in a pot of water till they’re tender.  Drain the potatoes, add them to the hen curry and cook for an additional 5 minutes till the potatoes take in the flavour of the curry.


Minimize a medium-sized onion into chew measurement and add into the pot at this point. Some individuals would brown the onion first, which I find that the difference just isn’t vital.

4.  Add seasonings

You possibly can add the remaining spices and seasonings anytime while braising the hen.

Add the cardamom, cinnamon stick and bay leaves to simmer with the hen.

It’s best to use the whole spices to prepare the Massaman curry paste.  Alternatively, use freshly ground spices for making the paste, as the flavour of spices might be misplaced over time.

There are a number of much less commonly used gadgets in non-Asian recipes which I would really like to clarify :

Tamarind juice

Place the tamarind in a small quantity of scorching water. Let it sits for ten minutes to let the flavor diffuse into the water.  Talk about the pulp and seeds and only use the tamarind water.

Because the actual amount of the tamarind is troublesome to determine, probably the most sensible means is to do a style check to determine how sour you favor.

You need to use the tamarind concentrate is recent tamarind shouldn’t be out there. This concentrate tends to be stronger so you might need a smaller amount.

As for the tamarind juice, it also will depend on how concentrated it’s and how bitter is the tamarind pulp that you simply use.

Palm sugar

Palm sugar has a singular aroma.

If palm sugar is just not out there, you need to use brown sugar and modify the sweetness.

Fish sauce

Fish sauce is salty, so there isn’t a need to embrace salt in this recipe.

The stability of sweetness, sourness, and saltiness will create the unique flavor of Massaman curry. This distinctive massaman curry flavor could be achieved by fine-tuning the flavour through the use of palm sugar, tamarind juice, and fish sauce. Do a taste check earlier than serving is the best choice.

Simmer the meat over low heat as excessive heat can toughen the meat. Because the water might be lowered progressively throughout braising, you might need to add some water to hold the hen and potatoes submerge within the water. Add only scorching water in order that there gained’t cause a sudden drop in temperature.

5. Roasted peanut

When the hen and potatoes have turn into tender, add the roasted peanuts to the curry. The peanuts will remain crunchy when served. You’ll be able to add the peanuts along with the potatoes for those who favor smooth peanuts.

6. Taste check and serve

Modify the saltiness, sourness, and sweetness on the end of the cooking course of to get the correct style.  The extent of saltiness of various brands of fish sauce is totally different.

Verify also whether or not the thickness of the gravy is what you want. You possibly can scale back the gravy whether it is too diluted.

Let’s cook Massaman curry…

Massaman curry is relatively delicate with fewer chilies used compared to different curries.  The curry is slowly cooked until the meat is tender, and sprinkling some crunchy peanuts on it on the finish of cooking makes it heavenly tasty.

Massaman curry is a type of few dishes that sit very nicely and develop complexity and depth with time. Subsequently, it’s best to make it forward to enable the flavour to absolutely develop earlier than serving, which makes it an ideal dish for quick dinners. It’s also a chic dish to serve for weeknight meals or events.

The massaman curry tastes nice in case you let it sit overnight after the flavor penetrates deeply into the meat and potatoes.

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 40 minutes

Complete Time 1 hour


Principal elements

  • 150ml of coconut milk
  • 65g Massaman curry paste
  • 500g of hen thighs
  • 1 onion, medium measurement, reduce into items
  • 150g potatoes, reduce into three cm cubes

Herbs, spices and others


  1. Heat up half of the coconut milk in a wok, saute until the coconut oil separates from the strong.
  2. Add the curry paste and saute it on low warmth until it turns aromatic. Stir continually to maintain the mixture from sticking.
  3. Add the hen into and combine nicely with the curry paste.
  4. Add the Thai fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind water. Style and regulate the flavour if mandatory. Massaman curry ought to be slightly sweet with a really delicate sour notice from the tamarind.
  5. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves.
  6. Add the coconut milk into the curry paste. Deliver it to boil. Scale back heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes and onions. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Add the roasted peanuts.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves

Vitamin Info:



Serving Measurement:

2 servings
Quantity Per Serving:Energy: 1004 Complete Fats: 65g Saturated Fats: 27g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 35g Cholesterol: 332mg Sodium: 2105mg Carbohydrates: 42g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 14g Protein: 73g

This knowledge was offered and calculated by Nutritionix on 6/11/2019