Massaman Curry

by Kirsten on January 4, 2011 · 14 comments

in Chicken, Main Dishes

Did you know that Massaman Curry is one of the earliest Thai recipes of the 19th century?

In this version of the Massaman Curry chicken is added for the traditionally used beef. The Curry is flavored by one of my favorite spices: Chinese five spice. Together with the cumin, ginger, garlic and turmeric it results in a bold, but bursting with spice curry.
Massaman Curry is quick to assemble and makes for a very enjoyable dinner. My family loved it and it is added to our list of favorite dishes. Give it a try!

Massaman Curry
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
Serves 4 to 6.
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • ½ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk or heavy cream
  • ½ pound boiling potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1⅓ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4), cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts
  • ½ pound plum tomatoes (about 4), cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth and the coconut milk; bring to a simmer. Stir in the potatoes, cover, and cook over low heat until they are almost tender, about 12 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken to the sauce, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the peanuts, tomatoes, cilantro, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Turn the heat off, cover, and let steam until the chicken is just done, about 2 minutes longer.


I served the Curry with Basmati rice.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

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A SPICY PERSPECTIVE January 6, 2011 at 5:08 am

I've been to Thailand, and I still don't know anything about this dish! It looks gorgeous and definitely something we'd make regularly!

scrambledhenfruit January 6, 2011 at 4:01 am

I love curries, and yours looks delicious! The spices you used sound great!

blackbookkitchendiaries January 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

i really love thai food… this recipe sounds very interesting..cant wait to try it out. thanks for sharing.

Anna Johnston January 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

I too like the Chinese Five Spice that makes the Massaman Curry so distinctly beautiful too, nothing like a good curry, this looks great too.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window January 5, 2011 at 2:15 am

Wow, does this ever look yummy. We wanted to try cooking Thai food. This might be the recipe we can start with.

Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle January 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I just made a dish that is a new direction for me; definite Indian flavors and it was so easy when I guess I always expected exotic ingredients that would require I shop all day before being able to prepare dinner.

This looks so good, is equally doable and on my sites to try soon.

GREAT photo…cameras do make a big difference don't they; we should have a camera day when we get together next!

highplainsdrifters January 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Since moving to Colorado, have been on a green chili adventure, but I think I've finally satiated this food lust. 2011 is the year of Indian and Thai, I'm thinking. Cheers!

Cathy January 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm

This is my favorite Thai curry dish and my family loves it! I'm looking forward to trying your version. I use a prepared curry paste so I want to try you spice blend. Great photo!

Lea Ann January 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Well now doesn't this look good. I'm actually going to try it tonight. We just mercifully had the last of Holiday left overs last night. I'm so ready for something new.

Chele January 4, 2011 at 9:59 am

Sounds great and looks so fresh and zingy after our recent sugar overload at Christmas time. Think I may need to give this a try.

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) January 4, 2011 at 6:37 am

I had no idea about the history of Massaman curry, but it is definitely a favourite when we order Thai! Thanks for sharing.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes January 4, 2011 at 5:39 am

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope to visit more often in 2011! Your recipe looks delicious! I'm definitely going to give it a try! Happy New Year!


kitchen flavours January 4, 2011 at 5:36 am

I love curries and this looks delicious with white rice. After all the festivities sweets, this is just what we need!

Bo January 4, 2011 at 4:17 am

Wonderful flavors in this…I love Thai food and any kind of curry.

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