Massaman Curry แกงมัสมั่น


Massaman Curry (also written ‘Matsaman Curry’) is a dish from southern Thailand. Translated literally “Gaeng Massaman” (แกงมัสมั่น) means Muslim curry. In fact, the majority of Thai Muslims live in South Thailand and hence the name of this curry originates from this fact.

The special feature of this curry is that the paste contains cinnamon, cardamom and star anise. Hence, at home when my parents make the Massaman dish we always call it the ‘Christmas Curry’ because of these Christmassy ingredients 🙂 You may also use a few cinnamon sticks and star anise to decorate your Matsaman curry dish so that it looks particularly beautiful and yummy!

Massaman Curry Dish

Homemade Massaman Curry (photo taken by myself)

Homemade Massaman Curry (photo taken by myself)


Well, the main difference between Indian and Thai curries is that the latter is not made with grounded spices but with curry pastes. However, you can buy such curry pastes in every Asian supermarket if you live in a Western country. However, you may also make Massaman curry paste yourself if you prefer. Here is a very comprehensive video by Rin Silpachai on how to make this paste.

Thus, ‘gaeng’ (แกง), ‘Thai curry’, refers to dishes in Thai cuisine that are made with various types of curry paste (เครื่องแกง). The term ‘gaeng’ can also refer to the pastes themselves. A Thai curry dish is usually made from curry paste, coconut milk or water, meat, seafood, vegetables or fruit, herbs and aromatic leaves.

You will need the following ingredients for about 2-3 portions:

  • 300g chicken, beef or lamb
  • 200g potatoes
  • 4 small onions
  • approx. 200ml coconut milk
  • 60g roasted peanuts, i.e. about 1 cup of peanuts
  • 2-3 TSP Massaman curry paste, ‘ready to use’ or homemade
  • 2-3 TSP vegetable oil
  • 3 TSP tamarind paste or juice (optional)
  • 1TSP fish sauce
  • 1TSP palm sugar
  • 3-4 Bay leaves (optional)


In a first step, wash and cut the chicken filets (beef or lamb) to bite-size. Cut the potatoes and the onions to bite-size too. Take a large pan and heat the vegetable oil on a middle heath. Then put in the curry paste, mix it with the vegetable oil and let it simmer until the paste begins to develop aroma. Put in half of the coconut milk and mix everything together well. The texture should be creamy. Then put in the chicken filets and let them cook for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, put in the rest of the coconut milk, the potatoes, onions and peanuts. Let it cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are done. Finally, season your curry with palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind paste (or juice).

This curry is traditionally eaten with jasmine rice. And you’re ready to serve!

Hope you very much enjoy this southern Thai dish! If you’re looking for a German version on how to prepare Massaman curry, please check out my partner blog here. For more general information, go to my Thai Food Dictionary

Yours, Sirinya

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