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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Massaman Curry - 'Kaeng matsaman' - แกงมัสมั่น

Although this curry is difficult to find in Thailand, it is considered a Thai favourite, by many. It's roots are from the border area with Persia, with a strong Muslim influence. It truly is one of the greats, and it is not a big time-consumer to make.

There are as many varieties of this curry, as there are varieties of ingredients, but you'll tend to find one that you like better than the others. So, this is how my Thai ex-wife made it - with Chicken:

Servings: 4 - 6 people


  • 1½ kgs x Chicken thighs, (or a mixture of thighs and breast pieces - even wings)
  • 8-10 x Potatoes (the Waxy-Yellow Variety)
  • 400 gms x small peanuts
  • 2-3 tbsps x Palm Sugar
  • 2-3 tbsps x Tamarind paste water (juice)
  • 200 mls x Coconut Milk
  • 600 gms x Thai Red Chilli Curry Paste
  • 2-4 cups x Rice
  • 1 tbsp x Salt


  • 3-5 x Onions - sliced, or chopped
  • Fish Sauce
  • 250 gms x Dessicated Coconut


Roast the peanuts until they are a yellow colour, peel them and then boil them until tender.
Peel and cut the potatoes into small pieces or cubes. Marinate the chicken pieces in some salt for 15-20 minutes.

Fry the Massaman Curry paste quickly, to release the aromas and flavours. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry until cooked. Add the coconut sugar (and a little Fish Sauce if desired). While it is frying, add a little of the coconut milk and don't allow it to boil dry.
When the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a large pot, with some thin coconut milk. Add the potatoes and peanuts. When the potatoes are soft and cooked, add some Tamarind juice, some more of the Palm sugar.

At this stage, turn down the heat, and simmer for as long as you need, to allow the three fantastic characteristics of this curry, to come through - sour, salty and sweet.

Upon tasting, if to your liking, add the remaining coconut milk.

Cook your rice while the curry simmers - and like all good curries, the longer you leave it, the better it gets!


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