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
Add to Meal Plan

Video

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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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I followed the recipe pretty closely; omitted the fish sauce simply because I’m out and scaled back the brown sugar to 1 tbsp, increased the garlic to 4 cloves. I think I’ll add more veggies next time per my preference, but this recipe was spot-on for how this dish is served in a restaurant. Thanks for an easy to follow recipe and notes for how to adjust it, and also providing the nutrition information.
    Yum yum and leftovers!!

  2. 5 stars
    Best I have ever had! Better than restaurants. We made the vegetarian version. Perfect amount of spice. Will make again, and again!

  3. 5 stars
    I omitted the cilantro, used thighs instead of breasts, and I just dumped the uncrushed roasted peanuts in at the end. Everything else by the letter. The only real procedural change I made was the thighs versus breasts because thighs I think stand up to these kind of recipes better.

  4. 4 stars
    Delicious, thanks for the recipe. It does make quite a lot. I had a lot of stuff already in the kitchen and spent about $8 total on this. I made it vegetarian but followed the instructions. Came out really nice, would maybe add a little more chili peppers next time for spiciness as I prefer it. But overall taste is very good. <3

  5. 5 stars
    This is an absolutely phenomenal recipe. I had to use yellow curry paste because that’s what I bought instead of massaman. But oh my—it was absolutely delicious. Followed the directions to a t. Just be aware, this makes a LOT of curry! (The two cans of coconut milk should give that away). Of all the online curry recipes I’ve made, this will be the last one I look for, because I will go back to it time and again.

  6. 5 stars
    I couldn’t find a jar of Massaman Curry paste anywhere, I could only find green and red. I went with green, thinking I would start with just a little and work up because I was worried it would be too spicy for my kiddos. In the end, I wound up putting the whole 4 oz. jar of green curry paste in, and it was only barely spicy. Perfect. I also added a bit of curry powder and salt. Besides those changes, I followed the recipe exactly, and it was soooo good and comforting. Thank you!

    1. 5 stars
      Abby, do you have an Asian grocery near you? Maesri offers a lot of curry varieties in small cans, including Massaman paste, Panang and sweet noodle, all of my faves.