Thai Massaman Curry Paste

Massaman curry in green bowls on a black table

Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
612 Calories
31g Fat
79g Carbs
21g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 612
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 3403mg 148%
Total Carbohydrate 79g 29%
Dietary Fiber 15g 54%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 80mg 402%
Calcium 316mg 24%
Iron 16mg 87%
Potassium 1951mg 42%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Massaman curry hails from the south of Thailand and is different from other Thai curries—you can easily detect an Indian influence, notably in the spices such as cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg. At the same time, Massaman is distinctly Thai and has been a traditional part of the cuisine for hundreds of years.

Use this warm and flavorful curry paste to create a wonderful chicken, beef, or lamb Massaman curry, or even a delightful vegetarian curry by adding seitan or tofu plus lots of vegetables. You can cook with the paste immediately or store it in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.


  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts

  • 2 shallots

  • 5 clove cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 to 2 red chili peppers (or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder)

  • 1 thumb-sized piece galangal or ginger (thinly sliced)

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, minced (or 2 to 3 tablespoons prepared lemongrass)

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste

  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)

  • 1 to 3 tablespoons coconut milk (depending on how thick you prefer your paste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place all paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and process well.

  3. Store curry paste in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid until ready to use. Paste will last up to 1 month refrigerated.

How to Use Thai Massaman Curry Paste

Place​ the paste in a baking dish with your choice of protein and/or vegetables. Add 2 to 3 whole bay leaves if you have them (this is a common ingredient in Massaman curries). Stir well to combine, cover, and bake in the oven at 350 F until cooked through. (You can also cook the curry in a wok.) Garnish with whole roasted peanuts, fresh coriander, and lime wedges.

Recipe Variation

To make a sauce rather than a paste, add up to 1 can coconut milk.

How to Store Curry Paste

Curry paste can be stored in a jar or other covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; freeze thereafter. When ready to use, add coconut milk to make a sauce, then add your curry ingredients.