Massaman curry can be made from scratch using simple and easy-to-find ingredients. Flavourful, slightly sweet, slightly spicy, and extremely delicious, our vegan Massaman Curry has become a favorite at home.
We traveled around Thailand for a month, and we found this lovely massaman curry on a tiny island called Koh Lipe. After trying that dish, we couldn't order anything else but that curry. They served it with vegan protein and it was absolutely delicious. We always joke about going back to Koh Lipe just for that curry, even if we have to travel halfway around the world.
We decided to master this recipe and now it has become a family favorite. When we have people over, this is a dish we love cooking from scratch, including the massaman paste. It's creamy, rich, and not too spicy.
What is Massaman Curry?
Massaman Curry is a Thai curry that differs quite a bit from the rest of Thai curries by the inclusion of a variety of whole spices such as cardamom, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, star anise, or cinnamon. The Massaman curry paste is cooked with coconut milk and a selection of veggies and potatoes.
This curry is normally mild and really flavourful. One special thing about this Thai Curry is the peanuts added to the dish. You can add the peanuts at different points whether is while making the curry paste, while cooking the curry or before serving, as long as you have in mind that peanuts are a must for your Massaman curry recipe.
Our Massaman Curry is:
- Thai-style dish
- Made from scratch using homemade curry paste
- Gluten-free if you use tamari instead of soy sauce
What makes our recipe unique?
We cook our Massaman curry from scratch to make sure we add the spice level we want, the whole spices we love, and no fish products such as fish sauce or prawn paste. Our curry paste is vegan, oil-free and gluten-free.
If making homemade curry paste seems like too much for you, you can jump straight to the curry recipe part and skip the paste-making process. You can use already store-bought Massaman curry paste or red curry paste.
Vegan Massaman Curry Paste from scratch
Making the paste from scratch does take a bit longer but every minute invested in making this, it's definitely worth it.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CURRY PASTE
- Aromatics. To make our massaman paste we use a few aromatics slightly toasted or roasted as they release more flavour. This list includes lemongrass stalks, shallots, galangal, garlic and dried red chillis. The part of the lemongrass stalks you need is the bottom part which contains most of the flavour. If you cannot find galangal, feel free to use ginger instead.
- Whole Spices. Cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cardamon pods. We slightly toast these spices too, before adding them into the paste.
- Ground Spices. We add turmeric, nutmeg, white pepper and salt.
- Miso paste. We know! Miso paste is Japanese, so why are we using it in a Thai curry? Well, we tried different ingredients to substitute the prawn paste that goes in curry pastes. After different tries, we found out that miso adds the perfect saltiness and flavour that we were looking for!
Step by Step Method
To make the curry paste, you can use a food processor (make sure you are making a big enough batch, otherwise it won't work), a mortar and pestle or a hand blender.
We use the small food processor of our hand blender, you can find it on amazon. It works amazingly when making curry paste, pesto, or other dips and sauces.
- Toast your whole spices for a couple of minutes, at a medium heat, making sure you are not burning them.
- Keep the shallots and garlic unpeeled and finely slice the lemongrass and galangal. Remove the seeds from the dry chillis for a mild curry. Roast your aromatics until they start to brown.You will need to remove the dry chillis before the rest of the ingredients as they burn easily.
- Peel the shallots and garlic and add all the ingredients into the blender: whole spices, aromatics, ground spices and miso paste.
- Blend until you have a smooth paste.
Our recipe makes enough curry paste for 4 servings. If you need more or less, you can adjust the recipe ingredients or freeze the rest of the batch for another day.
It can be frozen and it will last for months in the freezer or you can keep it in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
How to make Massaman Curry Sauce
Ingredients for Vegetarian Massaman Curry
- Massaman paste. If you are making your paste from scratch, follow the steps above. Otherwise, simply get your vegan store-bought paste ready!
- Protein. We use tofu for our main protein. We like pan-frying the tofu before but you can add the tofu into the curry raw and let it cook with the rest of the ingredients.
- Coconut milk. One ingredient that you will need to make most of the Thai curries is coconut milk and Massaman is one of them.
- Potatoes and carrots. As much as we like colorful veggies, we like to keep our Massaman recipe simple, this is why we only add parboiled potatoes and carrots.
- Whole spices. We like adding cinnamon, star anise and cloves when simmering the curry.
- Soy sauce or tamari
- Sugar (optional)
- Crushed peanuts and coriander to top your curry before serving.
Step by Step Method
- Add some coconut milk to a pot or wok with the massaman paste to medium heat.
- Keep stirring for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add parboiled potatoes, carrots, the rest of the coconut milk, and spices. Add water or stock and bring to a simmer.
- Finally, add tofu, soy sauce, and sugar and keep cooking for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve with crushed peanuts and fresh chopped cilantro and enjoy!
Massaman Curry is best served with steamed jasmine rice. You can adjust our recipe and make it with more coconut milk, water, or stock for a more brothy curry, or reduce the amount of water or stock for a creamier meal.
Before serving, we like adding crushed peanuts, freshly chopped cilantro, and chili flakes to the dish. If you enjoy your food spicy, add some sriracha as well!
If you manage to have some leftovers (which we never do), keep them in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.
FAQ and Tips
- Are store-bought curry pastes vegan? Depends. Brands like Aroy-D are vegan but some other brands contain prawn paste. The only way to make sure is by reading the list of ingredients before buying it.
- Where can I find vegan Massaman paste? You should be able to find a vegan option in a local Asian supermarket or online (amazon).
- Is Massaman Curry spicy? Curry Massaman is milder than red or green curry but it has a bit of a spice to it. Our recipe contains two dry chillis (deseeded) which makes this dish quite mild. You can add more chillis for a spicier curry or skip this ingredient for a non-spicy massaman recipe.
- You can keep the leftovers in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.
- If you want to prepare this dish ahead of time, you can leave the curry paste cooked and frozen. It will save you time when you want to prepare the meal!
Vegan Massaman Curry with Tofu
Massaman Curry Paste
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Seeds of 2 cardamom pods
- 3 shallots roughly chopped
- 2 lemongrass stalks thinly sliced
- 1 thumb-piece galangal sliced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 dried chillis deseeded
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon miso paste
- 4 tablespoon massaman curry paste
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 350 ml stock or water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free option
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 carrots sliced
- 2 big potatoes around 500 g
- 2 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 250 gr tofu
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts
- A handful fresh cilantro
- Toast your whole spices for a couple of minutes, at medium heat.
- Keep the shallots and garlic unpeeled and finely slice the lemongrass and galangal. Remove the seeds from the dry chillis for a mild curry. Using the grill of your oven or a pan, roast the aromatics until they start to brown. You will need to remove the dry chillis before the rest of the ingredients as they burn easily.
- Peel the shallots and garlic and add all the ingredients into a blender: whole toasted spices, roasted aromatics, ground spices, and miso paste.
- Blend until you have a smooth paste.
- Before starting to cook the massaman, parboil the potatoes for 3-4 minutes in boiling water, drain the water and reserve for later.
- (optional) Add some oil in a pan and panfry the tofu. Set aside. If you choose to add the tofu directly to the curry, add it during the first step when adding the massaman paste.
- Add some of the coconut milk to a pot or wok with the massaman paste to medium heat. Keep stirring for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant. (if you choose to not cook the tofu beforehand, add it now).
- Add the parboiled potatoes, carrots, the rest of the coconut milk, and spices.
- Add water or stock and bring to a simmer. Finally, add tofu, soy sauce, and sugar and keep cooking for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Serve with crushed peanuts and fresh chopped cilantro and enjoy!
|If you tried our recipe, please leave a comment or tag us on Instagram @Sixhungryfeet. We are always happy to see your creations!|
Never considered making curry paste. Sounds super easy! Definitely gonna try this one. Looks delicious?
It is indeed! You need to try 🙂
no mention of peanuts in list of ingredients that i can see. or am i just not seeing it?
Hello Haniel, we did not add the peanuts as an ingredient, simply added them in the instructions part. Thanks for letting us know, it's fixed now! Enjoy the recipe 🙂
how rude of me! i hit send before i thanked you for the recipes! will definitely try them out. and figure out the peanuts... 🙂 Thank you again! Looks super.
This was delicious and very easy to make; better than my local Thai restaurant. I really like the idea of making the paste. Thank you!
Thank you Nora! We are happy you liked it!
Dixie Burns says
Thank you so much Truly Scrumptious 🙂
Kelly Marie says
Your link to store bought massaman recommends a non vegan kind. I ordered without looking at ingredients because your link recommended it and Once I received it yesterday, I saw that it contains shrimp. May want to change your recommendation link to an actual vegan massaman since that’s what this recipe is, vegan.
Hi Kelly so sorry to hear that. Our link recommends the Aroy Massaman paste which is vegan, maybe because it wasn't available from where you were buying it, amazon suggested a similar product, but the one on our page is 100% vegan.
The curry paste recipe looks like it makes more than 4 Tbsp. How many batches of curry does one batch of paste make?
Hi Ann, depends on the size of the shallots you are using. If you have some leftover curry paste, you can freeze it and keep if for the next time!
I have made many many massaman curries and they always taste a bit different but this one really had a lovely unique flavor that was very enjoyable and distinct.
Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Jessica!
We love a good massaman here and this is our go-to dinner for meat-free Mondays. You have so many great recipes and this is one of our faves. Thanks guys!
This is exactly how I like my curry, not too spicy, but flavorful. It's the perfect combination!
Amanda Mason says
I know this is a vegan recipe, but I added some chicken. So good!! I served it with naan bread and rice and oh wow...so good! I'll be making this on the regular!!
Delicious curry recipe! As a big curry fan, I must say this is one of the best versions I tried, thanks!
I have never made curry paste from scratch before but the step by step instructions and tips made it easy. I like that it wasn't overly spicy so my kids could enjoy it too, thank you!
This curry really hit the spot! It was flavorful but not too spicy, comforting, and delicious. I will be making this again soon.
Thanks for this lovely Massaman curry recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Cheers!
This curry is so incredibly flavorful, yet easy to prepare! I had no choice but to give this recipe a try after seeing your mouthwatering photos. Gorgeous!
How dreamy that you got to travel Thailand for a month! Since you experienced it first hand, I had to make this curry recipe. YUM! Will definitely be again!
Moop Brown says
This curry looks super flavorful and tasty and I like the addition of the tofu as well for extra protein.
My go-to massaman curry! Quick, simple and so so good. I love the flavors and that it has tofu in it. I use a store-bought curry paste but I bet it’s even more delicious with the homemade one.
Thank you Lisa, you need to try the homemade paste next! 🙂