This Thai inspired Massaman Curry recipe includes onions, carrots, potatoes, and chicken simmered in massaman curry sauce and served over steamed rice. It’s easy to make and easy to customize.

Here’s another delicious addition to the Thai food cuisine here on TBFS. Don’t miss my other favorites including Drunken Noodles, Thai Basil Beef, and Easy Pad Thai.

Massaman Curry served in a bowl garnished with chopped peanuts.

Massaman curry (also called matsaman or mussaman curry) is a dish found in many American Thai restaurants that while considered a Thai dish by most people has a heavy Persian and Indian influence.  You’ll find it most often served with beef, chicken, or lamb over steamed white rice.

What I love about this recipe:

  • Customizable: Add your choice of protein, include a variety of veggies from your refrigerator, make it spicy with some sriracha, etc.
  • 30 minute meal: Start to finish this meal will make you look like a pro chef with very little effort.

All these Thai Curries, what’s the difference? 

Curries are most easily differentiated by the color of curry paste and the type of chili used to make the curry.  The main types of curry in Thai food are red, yellow, green, Massaman, and Panang.  At a very general level

  1. Red curry is made with red chiles and is usually quite spicy.
  2. Yellow curry gets its yellow hue from turmeric and curry powder.
  3. Green curry is also traditionally spicy made from green chiles, coriander, and basil– all contributing to its green hue.
  4. Massaman curry is made with massaman curry paste (which includes red chiles) and can be distinguished most easily by the inclusion of peanuts in the recipe.
  5. Panang curry is made with panang curry paste which is flavored with chili peppers, ginger, lemongrass, and other leaves and spices.  Like all of these dishes, it can be served mild or spicy.

Ingredients needed for Massaman Curry:

  • Pantry Staples: oil, peanut butter, brown sugar, peanuts
  • Produce: onion, potatoes, carrots, ginger, garlic, lime
  • Protein: chicken, shrimp, or tofu
  • For the sauce: massaman curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce

About the Curry Paste:  I purchase my massaman curry paste at the Asian grocery store/market.  Most American grocery stores wont carry it but you’ll definitely find it at your local Asian market or on Amazon.

If you make it to the Asian market, you might want to pick up some extra wide rice noodles for Drunken noodles, spring roll wrappers for Fresh Spring rolls, or green curry paste for Thai Green curry meatballs,

How to Make Massaman Curry:

1. Sauté vegetables. Heat oil in a large pot, add onion and sauté, add the carrots and potatoes. and cook for a minute or two.

2. Add chicken and curry paste, ginger and garlic.

3. Saute for a few minutes, and then stir in coconut milk.

4. Simmer the sauce until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through. Stir in the fish sauce, brown sugar and lime juice and cook for 5 more minutes.

Four process photos for making Massaman Curry.

5. Serve with rice (white, brown, jasmine, or coconut rice) or over zoodles, spaghetti squash or quinoa. Fresh Spring Rolls make a great accompaniment or appetizer.

A close up photo of Massaman curry with chicken, potatoes and carrots, in a bowl.

Variations and Adaptations:

Vegetarian Massaman Curry: Omit the chicken then either add extra vegetables, or substitute pan fried tofu or paneer (Indian cottage cheese).

Vegan Massaman Curry: Omit the fish sauce and chicken and add extra vegetables, tofu or paneer.

Add veggies: mini corn, broccoli, green beans, red bell peppers, zucchini, bamboo shoots, baby corn, cauliflower.

Choose your favorite meat: shrimp, tofu, beef, lamb

Storing Instructions: For best results, store yellow curry separately from the rice, in air-tight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Freezing Instructions: Massaman curry can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.  Serve with fresh cooked rice.

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Recipe

Massaman Curry served in a bowl garnished with chopped peanuts.
Prep 5 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 30 mins
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Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil , coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ onion , chopped
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts , chopped, or substitute shrimp or tofu
  • 2 medium medium gold potatoes (or russet potatoes), peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 carrots , peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch thick slices
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 4 oz can massaman curry paste or homemade
  • 2 cans (13.5 oz) coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter , smooth or crunchy
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 c. chopped roasted peanuts , for garnish
  • Cilantro , garnish

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium low heat. Add onion and sauté for a minute until softened. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for a minute or two. Add chicken, ginger, garlic and curry paste and sauté for 3 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through. Stir in the fish sauce, brown sugar, peanut butter and lime juice. Simmer 5 more minutes.
  • Serve with any type of rice (white, brown, and jasmine are my favorites) or over zoodles, spaghetti squash or quinoa.

Notes

Add veggies: mini corn, broccoli, green beans, red bell peppers, zucchini, bamboo shoots, baby corn, cauliflower.
Choose your favorite meat: shrimp, tofu, beef, lamb
Vegetarian Massaman Curry: Omit the chicken then either add extra vegetables, or substitute pan fried tofu or paneer (Indian cottage cheese).
Vegan Massaman Curry: Omit the fish sauce and chicken and add extra vegetables, tofu or paneer. 
Storing Instructions: For best results, store yellow curry separately from the rice, in air-tight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 
Freezing Instructions: Massaman curry can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.  Serve with fresh cooked rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 402kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 29gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 436mgPotassium: 927mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 4135IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    This is a very good recipe. It was just my wife and I eating so I cut it in half. I used Maesri brand masaman curry paste and it worked very well. I’ve used other types of Maesri curry pastes before and they’re all good. For the protein, I used tofu skin sticks. These are also known as dried beancurd sticks. It is necessary to rehydrate it before using it in the recipe but it is a good protein alternative for vegans and vegetarians and works well in this recipe. My wife and I are not vegetarian or vegan but we have a daughter that is vegan and she has had a big influence on us in the reduction of meat in our diets. I would like to make this recipe for my daughter but if I do I will not use fish sauce and will use soy sauce only. I also used full-fat coconut milk and think that makes a big difference. The lower fat is useful but not in this recipe if you want a fuller flavor.

  2. 4 stars
    A good basic recipe, but I had to tweak it to make it taste more like the local (now closed) Thai restaurant’s version:
    ►3 cloves garlic
    ►2~3 tbsp peanut butter
    ►fish sauce is a must–I dumped in at least a teaspoon, maybe two
    ►soy sauce for seasoning

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