Massaman curry has somehow become one of my go-to comfort foods. When I’m cold, stressed, tired, or just annoyed, this particular curry—with its combination of soft and crunchy textures, its creamy sauce and slightly spicy bite—are like a warm, yummy hug.
[Some recipe photos updated January 2023]
For years I went to the same Thai restaurant and ordered the same thing (Bangkok chicken, “baby mild”, no baby corn…it’s the BOMB), but then one day I decided that I needed to branch out, and this was the least spicy of the curries.
Plus, it didn’t have green peppers, which are truly disgusting, so that was a deciding factor. One taste of this, with the silky avocado and the crunch of the onion, and I was in love.
I’m not sure what took me so long to try making this myself. Maybe it’s because I tend to find that ethnic dishes are just better at restaurants, so it’s worth shelling out for them on occasion.
Plus I’m lazy, and I tend to take one look at the long list of ingredients and get overwhelmed (not to mention my grocery store doesn’t just have this particular curry paste sitting around).
But you shouldn’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. Most of them are ones you already have around, and the others are easy enough to pick up (and are great in other recipes).
I will say that I’m very particular about the coconut milk (this is the brand I love)…you want it good and creamy, without weird gums and fillers!
Prepping the ingredients will take 15-20 minutes with one set of hands, but is quite easy, and then the dish comes together very smoothly. It makes amazing leftovers, and can feed a serious crowd.
Like most Thai cooking, so much of this massaman curry recipe is about prepping things ahead.
Slice your chicken, chop all your veggies, get all your ingredients assembled, measuring spoons—everything. Once you’ve done that, everything else is SUPER easy, but parts of it go pretty quickly, so you want to be prepared.
Get your rice cooking according to the package directions. I use a rice cooker and it’s amazing…fluffy, fragrant rice every time (pre-rinse it for better texture).
Ignore the garam masala, I have no idea how that got in the picture…
Heat the oil in a very large saucepan over medium heat. Seriously, a super big pot. Stir in the curry paste and whisk for 2-3 minutes, letting the aroma release.
Make sure your vent fan is blowing, it’s a crazy strong smell…made my eyes water.
Add 1 can of coconut milk and stir until well blended.
Then add the ginger, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce, stir, and bring to a boil.
Once it’s brought to a boil, add the chicken, then reduce to a simmer.
Cook until the chicken is white and cooked through, 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken pieces. Then add the other can of coconut milk and bring back to a boil.
Add the onion, potatoes, carrots, peanut butter, sriracha, and red pepper flakes, and stir until everything is well mixed.
Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes—until the potatoes aren’t crunchy in the middle.
Add the cashews and avocado right at the end (or you can add to each bowl), gently stir, then serve hot over jasmine or basmati rice.
This is so good fresh, but awesome as leftovers as well since the flavors get a chance to really get to know each other. I made a fresh pot of rice two days later and this lasted me a full week of lunch and dinner.
This is the masaman curry paste I use.
Other comfort food faves you’ll love:
- One-Pot Yellow Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Comforting Thai Khao Soi with Chicken
- Pakistani Kima
- Lebanese Hushwee (Fragrant, Spiced Ground Beef with Toasted Pine Nuts)
Original recipe from FavFamilyRecipes
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- 1 can of Massaman curry paste
- 3 tablespoons of oil (I prefer avocado)
- 2 cans of coconut milk (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger (or fresh ginger paste)
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 sweet or yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 3 russet potatoes, peeled & cubed in small pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced/in thin rounds
- 1-2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter (crunchy or creamy...doesn't matter)
- 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken sliced very thin
- 1/2 cup of cashews (or peanuts if that's all you have)
- 1-2 avocados, diced
- Sriracha sauce or red pepper flakes to taste
- For serving: 4 cups of cooked jasmine or basmati rice (2 cups uncooked)
- Like most Thai cooking, so much of this recipe is about PREP. Slice your chicken, chop all your veggies, get all your ingredients assembled, measuring spoons---everything. Once you've done that, everything else is super easy, but parts of it go pretty quickly, so you want to be prepared.
- Get your rice cooking according to the package directions. I use a rice cooker and it's amazing...fluffy, fragrant rice every time.
- Heat the oil in a large (the largest you have--this makes a LOT) saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the curry paste and whisk/stir for about 2-3 minutes (make sure your fan is blowing, it's a crazy strong smell).
- Add 1 can of coconut milk and stir until well blended. Then add the ginger, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce, stir, and bring to a boil.
- Once it's brought to a boil, add the chicken, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is white and cooked through, 5-10 minutes.
- Then add the other can of coconut milk and bring back to a boil. Add the onion, potatoes, carrots, peanut butter, sriracha, and red pepper flakes, and stir until everything is well mixed.
- Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes---until the potatoes aren't crunchy in the middle.
- Add the cashews and avocado right at the end, gently stir, then serve hot over rice. Makes awesome leftovers.
- It helps to partially freeze the chicken breasts beforehand, for easy slicing. You're slicing them thinly enough that they'll still cook just fine.
- The quality of your coconut milk really does matter, and in particular whether it has additives and stabilizers. I use Chaokah canned coconut milk (I order it by the case, since I go through so much, for curries and such). Trader Joe’s full-fat canned coconut milk is usually a good mass option too.
- If you're going to have a ton of leftovers, I'd cook half the rice now and then make the rest fresh later. Fresh rice is always preferable.