Massaman Chicken Curry

Massaman curry is a Thai dish that is influenced by Indian spices. It can be made with beef, chicken or tofu but I settled on trying the chicken version. I had this dish once at a Thai restaurant in Chicago and I have been dreaming about making it at home for a while. This recipe turned out to be quite similar to the restaurant’s and I was really happy about that! Massaman curry is a stew made with coconut milk, potatoes and served with rice. I tried to make this as authentic as possible so I avoided substitutions the best I could. The spicy and sweet flavors of this curry perfectly blended together and the finished product was really tasty! Feel free to substitute the protein for tofu, beef or pork.

Massaman Chicken Curry
(makes 4 servings)
Printable Version


  • 1 whole chicken, divided into 8 pieces (discard the wings)
  • 5 russet potatoes, softened, then cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 batch (about 1 1/2 cups) red curry paste
  • 1 cup raw peanuts, toasted in the oven
  • 30 oz. coconut milk (2 15 oz. cans)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 3 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tbsp cardamom, ground
  • 2 1/2 cups shallots, diced
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 1 kaffir lime, juice
  • 2 dried cassia leaves
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • cilantro, chopped for garnish
  • rice


  1. In a large, 10 qt. sauce pot, heat the oil and add the curry paste.  Saute until fragrant about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and saute for a few minutes, then turn down the heat.
  3. Add one can of the coconut milk to the pot.  Let simmer for several minutes until the oil starts bubbling to the top.
  4. Add the shallots, peanuts, potatoes, cassia leaves, lime leaves and zest, cinnamon and cardamom into the pot.
  5. Stir in the rest of the coconut milk and 1/2 cup of water.
  6. Simmer about 30 minutes uncovered, adding the rest of the water halfway through.  Check the temperature of the chicken with a thermometer towards the end and if the temperature reads 170F, remove from heat.
  7. Stir in the tamarind, lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce at the end of cooking, adjusting to taste.
  8. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.

4 Thoughts on “Massaman Chicken Curry

  1. I had the most amazinnggg massaman curry in a thai restaurant a few months back and would love to be able to recreate it at home, hopefully this will do the trick! Gorgoeus :)

  2. mschro on May 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm said:

    I know what you mean! I thought it would be impossible to recreate it, but this recipe tasted identical to what I had at the restaurant. Good luck trying it out!

  3. meeps on June 8, 2012 at 2:14 am said:

    this was amaaaazing.

  4. Great recipe!
    I posted the picture of you dish on the World Food Guide for everybody to see

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