Masaman Curry

massaman curry in a bowl with an island of rice with cilantro on top

What is Masaman Curry?

Masaman curry is a beloved Thai dish with a rich history and complex flavors. While its exact origins are unclear, it’s believed to have been influenced by Persian and Indian cuisine, as well as Thai and Muslim traditions.

Regardless of its origins, masaman curry has become a staple in Thai cuisine and on of our favorite curry dishes. It typically features tender meat, such as beef or chicken, cooked with potatoes, peanuts, onions, and other vegetables in a fragrant sauce made from coconut milk, tamarind paste (we used lime instead), and a blend of spices. Please do us a favor and give this a try because it is amazing!

Curry? I hate curry!

We hear so many people say this, but our theory is that you just haven’t tried a curry that fits your taste buds. I have tried hundreds of curries and they are all so different and delicious that I can’t imagine going through life with out trying every single one.

Why Masaman Curry?

Why not? Masaman curry so unique with its sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. The sweetness comes from the coconut milk and palm sugar, while the sourness comes from tamarind paste or lime juice. The spiciness (not heat) is added by a mixture of aromatic spices.

rounds of sliced onions

Don’t eat meat? I couldn’t do it, but good for you! Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy it by substituting meat with tofu or vegetables. If you prefer a milder flavor you can adjust the spice level to your liking. Not a white meat person? Use some beef!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Coconut milk – (the one we use)This is in a can and can be found in most groceries stores in the international aisle. I like the flavor that the full fat version gives this dish but feel free to use the lite version or sub one of the cans out with 1 cup of chicken stock. YOU CANNOT USE THE KIND YOU PUT ON YOUR CEREAL.
  • Masaman curry paste – (link here for what I use)There is no reason to make your own here. It is time consuming and not work the dirty dishes. I buy mine at my local Asian market but you can also order this from amazon here (LINK)
  • Sugar – Traditionally this is made with palm sugar but if you cannot find palm sugar any brown sugar can be substituted.
  • Potatoes – I like to use Yukon gold but really any potato can be substituted. Just keep an eye out so they do not get too soft while cooking.
  • Cilantro– I know people are divided on the flavor of cilantro. If its not your cup of tea just leave it out!


Is this Spicy?

Yes, but only in the sense that there are a ton of delicious spices in this dish. There is no added heat. If you would like some heat I encourage you to add a nice amount of sriracha in there!

Can I substitute white sugar?

Brown sugars have molasses in them which adds to the depth and complexity of flavors in this dish. You can use white sugar, but it will change the flavor of the dish.

What is the difference between Thai curry and Indian curry?

The biggest difference is that Thai curry uses coconut milk which makes the dish sweeter vs Indian curries that use yogurt or cream. Thai curries usually have fish sauce in them that add to the saltiness.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Masaman Curry

  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x


I vibrant and flavorful curry dish from Thailand that is super tasty over jasmine rice.


Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced large
  • 1 can 4 oz masaman curry paste
  • 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cans 14 oz (each) full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/3 cup roasted unsalted and chopped peanuts
  • 1 lb chicken thighs cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 medium carrots, peel and sliced 1/8 in thick
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp ripped cilantro


  1. Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil on medium heat. Once hot add onion (1 medium) and cook for 3 mins. Next add in the garlic (5 cloves) and ginger (2 tsp). Cook until fragrant, about 2 mins.
  2. Add one can of massaman curry paste and move around the pan to toast for 2 mins. Stir continuously so that it does not burn.
  3. Add coconut milk (2 cans) and chicken stock (1 cup). Mix until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Simmer and keep mixing until the curry paste is dissolved.
  4. Add peanuts (1/3 cup) and chicken (1 lb) and stir. Bring to a simmer. This will take around 5 minutes.
  5. Mix in the rest of the ingredients: fish sauce (1 tsp), brown sugar (1 tbsp), salt (1tsp), potato cubes, carrots, and cinnamon stick. Stir and leave to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally
  6. After 20 mins, check the potatoes and make sure they are able to easily insert a fork. If not, continue to simmer until you are able to.
  7. Serve over jasmine rice and garnish cilantro and chopped peanuts.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Asian, Thai

Similar Posts