clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon
Massaman Curry

Massaman Curry

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 500g meat (whatever you prefer), cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 medium potatoes, cut to about the same size as the meat
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 tbsp Massaman paste, shop bought
  • 1 can coconut milk for chicken, 2-3 for beef or lamb
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • half tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • half a star anise
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, dry roasted, medium ground not too finely


  1. Skim the top creamy part of the coconut milk (from one if using more) and heat this in a medium sized saucepan on high heat.
  2. Fry the paste, cinnamon, star anise and cardamom for a few minutes until the oil from the coconut milk separates. You will see a clear liquid at the edges of the paste.
  3. Add meat and stir to coat. Add the rest of the coconut milk and just bring it to boil.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered until the meat is cooked, about 30-45 minutes for chicken, depending on cut, 2-3 hours for beef or lamb.
  5. About 20 minutes before the end of cooking time, add the potatoes, onions, the tamarind paste and fish sauce.
  6. When the potatoes are done, stir in the palm sugar and lime juice and check the seasoning. Add more fish sauce and palm sugar if needed. Turn heat off.
  7. Sprinkle the peanuts all over and serve with plain white rice and a salad or a side vegetable dish.

Vegetarian Option 

  1. Converting a meat curry to a vegetarian one is pretty simple really. All you need to do is substitute the meat with the same amount of vegetables.
  2. I’ve made both a vegetable as well as a fish massaman curry with excellent results.
  3. What you need to decide is what vegetables to use. The potatoes will obviously stay. A perfect combination would be courgettes and aubergines.
  4. You could also use carrots, jackfruit, banana blossoms, okra or beans.
  5. Don’t forget tofu if you like the stuff – I love it!