Thai Massaman Curry Paste Recipe

Massaman curry
Peter Stuckings/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images
    30 min
Ratings (16)

Massaman curry hails from the south of Thailand and is different from other Thai curries in that you can easily detect an Indian influence (notably in the addition of Indian spices such as cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg). At the same time, Massaman is also distinctly Thai and has been a traditional part of the cuisine for hundreds of years. Use this warm and flavorful curry paste to create a wonderful chicken, beef, or lamb Massaman curry - or even a delightful vegetarian curry by adding wheat gluten or tofu plus lots of vegetables. Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 red chilies, OR substitute 1/2 to 1 tsp. dried crushed chili
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger), thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, minced, OR 2-3 Tbsp. frozen or bottled prepared lemongrass
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, preferably ground from the whole nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamon
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp. palm sugar OR brown sugar
  • 1-3 Tbsp. coconut milk, depending on how thick or runny you prefer your paste (save remainder for cooking your curry)

How to Make It

  1. Place all paste ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and process well. To make a sauce rather than a paste, add up to 1 can coconut milk.
  2. To use immediately, place sauce in a casserole/baking dish together with 1-2 bay leaves, plus your choice of chicken, beef, lamb, tofu/wheat gluten, plus vegetables. Add 2-3 whole bay leaves if you have them (this is a common ingredient in Massaman curries). Stir well to combine, and simmer in a wok OR cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until finished.
  3. Garnish your Massaman curry with whole roasted peanuts and fresh coriander. Lime wedges can also be served if your curry is on the salty side. For a complete recipe, see my Thai Massaman Curry Recipe.

To Store: Curry pastes can be stored in a jar or other covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; freeze thereafter. When ready to use, add coconut milk to make a sauce, then add your other ingredients.