Thai Massaman Curry – Gaeng Matsaman


Recipe: Thai Massaman Curry – Gaeng Matsaman

Summary: This is one of the Top 10 Recipes of the Worlds Best Foods and it when you taste it you’ll agree, the layers of flavor are out of this world..  you’ll crave it again and again and want to share with all your friends and family!!


  • 4 tablespoons curry paste (below, or bought)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 legs and 2 thighs chicken
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup white potatoes
  • 1 cup onions, or peeled whole shallots
  • 1 cardamom pods (or pinch of ground cardamom)
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, whole
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried cassia leaves (or 1/2 teas cinnamon)
  • 2 tablespoons thai fish sauce (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste (or to taste)
  • If making your own curry paste you’ll need.. (it is worth the trouble!)
  • (search for your local Asian Market, even if you have to drive a distance.. you’ll be glad you did)
  • 10 big dried thai chilies, roasted, soaked and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roasted
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted
  • 2 cloves, roasted
  • 1 cardamom pods, roasted
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste, roasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered nutmeg (not roasted)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (if using Fish Sauce & shrimp paste you shouldn’t need extra salt)
  • 1 teaspoon magroot skin (Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaf a close substitute or lime juice)
  • 1 teaspoon galangal (almost like ginger, but milder)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander roots (or cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup shallots
  • 2 tablespoons garlic


  1. If making your own paste, dry roast the dry spices in a pan on medium heat until fragrant, about 2-4 minutes. It’s best to roast each thing one at a time until fragrant. The chilies should be browned. Roast the shrimp paste wrapped in tin foil for a few minutes too.
  2. Soak the dried chilies until soft, then take out the seeds and inner bits and chop fine.
  3. Pound the paste in a stone mortar & pestle. Start by grinding up the dried spices until powdered, then set aside. Put the chilies in the mortar and pound until uniformly smashed, then add the rest of the ingredients, starting from hardest and driest and working up to softest at the end. Then add the dried spice powder back in and the shrimp paste. Mix well. If using a food processor, just mix it all in together. If using canned paste, skip these three steps.
  4. Cut the potatoes and onions into bite-sized pieces and wash the chicken.
  5. Add the oil to the pan and turn on to medium high. Fry 4 tablespoons of the paste until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn.
  6. Add the whole chicken pieces. Fry until the chicken is sealed on the outside, about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add 1 cup of the coconut cream (top part of the can if using canned – don’t shake the can). Simmer until the oil separates, about 2-3 minutes. You’ll see reddish oil starting to float to the top.
  8. Add the potatoes, peanuts and onions and the coconut milk. Simmer for a few minutes.
  9. Add the cinnamon, cardamom seeds, cassia leaves. Mix well.
  10. Simmer (and stir well) until the mixture browns and a good deal of oil comes to the top. About 15-20 minutes. If it gets too dry, add some water. Add the fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind juice at the end. Taste – you may need to adjust the flavor if it’s not salty or sour enough.
  11. Serve with rice and or roti. (South Asian bread made from stoneground wholemeal flour) Also is great with ajaat (slightly pickled cucumber salad) on the side.

Quick notes

You can use lamb or beef for this recipe as well. If using either of those, cut into bite sized cubes and boil in coconut milk for about 30 minutes before adding to the curry to soften the meat. If your meat is already really soft, you can skip this.

This link may help if your new to exploring Thai cooking..

Preparation time: 40 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

Recipe courtesy of Real Thai Recipes

Photo: Wikipedia / CC BY-SA

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