Massaman Curry

Massaman Curry Recipe

Creating a delectable Veg Massaman Curry follows a process similar to the traditional version. The plant-based protein source, tofu, or tempeh, is slow-cooked with Massaman curry paste and coconut milk, allowing the flavors to meld and infuse into the protein. Potatoes, roasted peanuts, and other seasonings are added to enhance the dish's taste. The result is a creamy and aromatic curry that's a perfect addition to any vegetarian or vegan meal.

Massaman Curry's history is as rich and diverse as its flavors. This dish has its roots in Thai cuisine, but its name and some ingredients are influenced by Persian and Indian culinary traditions. It is believed to have been brought to Thailand by Persian traders in the 17th century. The name "Massaman" is thought to be derived from the Persian word "mūsulmān," meaning "Muslim."

In Thailand, Massaman Curry is not only a popular dish but also holds cultural significance. It is often enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations, and its aromatic aroma fills the air during festive gatherings.

Making Massaman Curry at home is an achievable and rewarding culinary endeavor. With the right ingredients and a little patience, you can recreate the magic of this Thai masterpiece in your own kitchen.

Massaman Curry Ingredients

Massaman Curry boasts a unique combination of ingredients that contribute to its exceptional taste. The key components include tofu or tempeh, potatoes, coconut milk, Massaman curry paste, roasted peanuts, tamarind paste, palm sugar, fish sauce, and an array of fragrant spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise. These elements harmonize to create a sweet, savory, and slightly spicy profile.

Massaman Curry is a fragrant and flavorful Thai dish that perfectly blends sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. Veg Massaman Curry recipe provides a delicious and satisfying plant-based alternative. Here's how to prepare it at home:

For Massaman Curry Paste:

  • 2-3 dried red chilies (adjust for spice level)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of galangal or ginger
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil

For the Curry:

  • 14 oz (400g) firm tofu, cubed or 8 oz (225g) tempeh, cubed
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 2-3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp tamarind paste or tamarind juice
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari for seasoning
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • A handful of fresh Thai basil leaves (optional)
  • Lime wedges and additional peanuts for garnish (optional)


Making Massaman Curry Paste:

  1. Start by preparing the Massaman curry paste. In a mortar and pestle, add dried red chilies, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, and onions. Grind them into a smooth paste.
  2. Alternatively, you can use a food processor to achieve the same result. Add all the paste ingredients and blend until smooth.

Cooking the Veg Massaman Curry:

  1. Heat a large pan or a wok over medium heat and add the vegetable oil.
  2. Add the Massaman curry paste and stir-fry for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant.
  3. Add the sliced onions and continue cooking until they turn translucent.
  4. Now, add the cubed tofu or tempeh, stirring gently to coat them with the curry paste. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk and bring it to a gentle simmer.
  6. Add the potato chunks, and let the curry simmer over low heat, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  7. Add the palm sugar, tamarind paste, and soy sauce or tamari. Adjust these seasonings to your taste, balancing sweet, sour, and salty flavors.
  8. Toss in the roasted peanuts and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until they soften.
  9. If desired, add fresh Thai basil leaves for an extra layer of flavor and aroma.
  10. Serve your Veg Massaman Curry over steamed jasmine rice, garnished with lime wedges and extra peanuts for a delightful presentation.

Massaman Curry offers a delightful and aromatic alternative to its meaty counterpart, providing a flavorful experience for vegetarians, vegans, and those who enjoy plant-based cuisine. Whether you encounter it in a local vegetarian or Thai restaurant or prepare it in your own kitchen, Veg Massaman Curry is a delightful dish that shouldn't be missed.