Thai curry paste recipe: Massaman

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ingredients, listed in recipe

On a nippy autumn day, a dish like this Thai curry is just the thing to warm you up!
This paste has a definite Indian flavour to it though it originates from southern Thailand. It is one of the curry pastes I learned to make during our cooking course in Chiang Mai and it was my favourite dish.

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I have made it a few times since; each time, adding more of something, less of other things and I must say, it tastes even better the following day!
It doesn’t take long to make, once you have got all the ingredients ready (which can take a bit of time…)
Roughly enough for two portions:

  • 1 cm piece of ginger root
  • 1 dry chili or ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 slices galangal
  • skin from 1/3 kaffir lime
  • 1 small teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small teaspoon cumin seeds
  • small cinnamon stick
  • 1 piece lemon grass
  • 1 star anise seed

the spices are listed in the same order in which they appear on photo one, starting at the top and going left to right.
once you’ve peeled and chopped whichever need it, dry fry them on a wok/pan with no fat, for about 2 mins until you feel the aromas wafting through the air. Then put them in a mini blender and blend or pound away at them with a mortar and pestle, as we did during cooking course in Thailand.

  • 1/5 cup of peanuts
  • pinch of turmeric

Blend these together and then add to spices and mix together well.

  • 1 spoon peanut oil
  • 1 large tablesppon coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup of water or milk to dilute the coconut cream which is very rich on its own (one of the things we learned on the course)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon palm, or brown, sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 2 chicken breasts, or some other meat, or fish, or sweet potato, pumpkin, tofu , whatever you fancy (I used chicken breast and then added pumpkin)
  •  ½ cupfull steamed pumpkin which has been chopped up.

As the cinnamon stick cannot really be crushed, I put it in my heated and oiled wok, then added the coconut cream and the massaman paste and mixed it. At this stage, you can add more ginger, or chili pepper or whatever you like to enhance the flavour once you have tasted it. I added a pinch of salt though recipe doesn’t call for it. After about one minute of cooking the sauce, add the raw meat and mix well and cook for up to five minutes on a medium heat. Mix. If using sweet potatoes, cook them first separately and then chop them up before adding. I did the same with pumpkin and added it in the last minute so the flavours would combine nicely with the massaman curry. Sprinkle some chopped coriander and then serve with rice or wheat grits as I did. Delicious!
From my pictures you will see larger quantities of ingredients than listed above, because I made a larger amount of the paste, to then freeze it in the little ice cube container for future use. About one ‚ice‘ cube is sufficient for one portion of curry.
You will also see the curry served like a western dish, ie a rather inelegantly large portion….

For a far more succinct explanation (with slightly different ingredients) press here


1 Comment

Filed under Food, Thailand, Travel

One response to “Thai curry paste recipe: Massaman

  1. Pingback: How to make Massaman Curry paste

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