Chicken Massaman Curry

4.98 from 215 votes
219 Comments

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Massaman Curry is one of the easiest and most delicious savory Thai curry dishes. With chicken and potatoes cooked into a sweet, slightly spicy sauce, it’s a flavor explosion! 

A bowl of Massaman curry with chicken and vegetables next to a bowl of rice.
Featured with this Recipe
  1. Ingredients in Chicken Massaman Curry
  2. Massaman Curry Paste
  3. Variations
  4. Tips For Making Chicken Massaman Curry: 
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. What To Serve With Massaman Curry
  7. More Delicious Curry Recipes
  8. How to Make Chicken Massaman Curry
  9. Chicken Massaman Curry Recipe

Chicken Massaman Curry is one of my favorite dishes! Massaman curry is a mild, savory, and slightly sweet curry with fragrant spice undertones such as cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon. It typically isn’t a spicy curry, but like most curries, it is easy to adjust the spice level. The name itself can be spelled a few different ways: Massaman, Masuman, Masumun, Matsaman. No matter how you spell it, the delicious Thai dish tastes the same. I came up with my own version of this tasty Thai cuisine after a girls’ night to our favorite restaurant. My husband helped himself to my leftovers and was hooked. Making your own curry is easy, fun, and will save you loads of money on take-out!

Ingredients in Chicken Massaman Curry

  • Massaman curry paste – see notes below for where to find Massaman curry paste
  • Protein – our favorite is boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Vegetable oil
  • Full-fat coconut milk
  • Ginger
  • Cilantro
  • Brown sugar
  • Fish sauce
  • Lime juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Onion
  • Chicken
  • Potatoes – Russet Potatoes or Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Peanut butter
  • Optional toppings – peanuts, sriracha, red pepper flakes

Massaman Curry Paste

Massaman Curry Paste is the key to making this recipe successful, it’s the one thing you really don’t want to leave out. Don’t substitute for another curry paste like yellow curry or red curry paste . Using store-bought curry paste is so much easier than trying to make your own paste from scratch. Curry paste is very thick and similar to the consistency of tomato paste. It is quite fragrant and will fill up the room with a strong, yet delicious smelling aroma. Don’t worry, once you stir in the coconut milk, it will mellow out. 

Massaman curry paste in a pan.


Where To Find Massaman Curry Paste

You can find Massaman curry paste at most Asian Markets and even at many specialty grocery stores. We use the Maesri brand because it is what’s available at the Asian Market closest to us, but I know there are other brands available. You can’t really go wrong. The kind we use is usually in a small, yellow 4 oz. can (pictured). We can usually find it for around $2/can. It can also sometimes be found in lidded plastic or paper containers, glass jars, or vacuum-sealed packages. You can also find it on Amazon, using the link above.

Curry Paste Ingredients

We use the Maesri Massaman curry paste. For this brand, the ingredients include: garlic, sugar, soybean oil, dried red chili, tamarind juice, shallot, salt, lemongrass, coriander seed, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, kaffir lime, and galangal. Other massaman curry pastes may include ingredients such as tamarind paste, shrimp paste, nutmeg, thai basil, or other unique ingredients.

A bowl of chicken Massaman curry.

Variations

  • Massaman curry meat – more often than not, we use chicken breasts or chicken thighs as the protein in our Massaman curry (just because it’s what we have on hand most of the time) but we have also used beef and shrimp and loved it. Some people also use veal or lamb. To make vegetarian or vegan Massaman curry, you easily can use tofu instead of meat.
  • Veggies – the only two vegetables that seem to be in every Massaman curry across the board are potatoes and onions. Here are some of our other favorite vegetable stir-ins:
    • Carrots
    • Red bell peppers (yellow or orange can also be used)
    • Green beans
    • Peas
    • Baby corn
    • Zucchini
    • Cauliflower
    • Bamboo shoots
    • Asian Chillies

Tips For Making Chicken Massaman Curry: 

  • It’s not a bad idea to boil your potatoes for three-four minutes before adding them to your curry. This is a great trick for when you are in a hurry and just trying to get dinner on the table and don’t want to wait for the potatoes to soften in the curry sauce.
  • If you are adding extra vegetables, allow the vegetables to soften in the sauce for optimal flavor. If you are in a hurry, stir-fry the veggies until tender before adding to the sauce.
  • Shake the coconut milk really well before opening so it doesn’t come out in one big clump. You can also avoid this by opening the coconut milk can from the bottom. 
  • Make it as spicy or as mild as you would like! Add sriracha while cooking, or serve it on the side if people prefer different spice levels.
  • Instead of adding salt (if needed), try adding soy sauce. It gives you the salty flavor while also deepening the overall flavor of the dish.
  • Don’t forget the limes! Adding a squeeze of fresh lime right before serving ties all those delicious flavors together. This gives it a little extra boost over other Massaman curry recipes I have had.
Chicken Massaman Curry with potatoes in a square black dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the flavor of Massaman curry?

Massaman curry is very sweet due to the coconut milk and nutty due to the peanut butter. If you like sweeter curries, then you will love this one!

What makes Massaman curry different?

Massaman curry is mild, sweet, and full of Indian spices like cinnamon and cardamom.

What kind of rice is best with Massaman curry?

The best rice to use with ANY curry is Jasmine. Jasmine rice is a long-grain, dry rice that goes well with every Thai dish. It is more fragrant than most varieties, which is why it is also known as “aromatic rice”. Brown Jasmine rice can also be used. Basmati rice is a common substitute for Jasmine rice as well. If you can’t find any of these varieties, you can just use a simple, long-grain, white rice.

Can I freeze Massaman curry?

Yes! This chicken massaman curry recipe freezes beautifully. Just make sure to freeze it on its own without rice (the rice won’t freeze as well and will just absorb all the sauce). Just put the curry into a freezer safe container or Ziplock baggie and keep it in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, let it thaw in the refrigerator then heat on the stove in a frying pan. 

Where was Massaman Curry created?

Massaman curry is an Asian fusion dish that originated in Southern Thailand and has Malaysian and Indian influences.

Read Next: Lentil Curry

What To Serve With Massaman Curry

Because curry and rice can be a complete meal on it’s own, there really is no need to have additional side dishes. If you are expecting company or simply just want the meal to go further, you can try some of these tasty Asian-inspired Thai side dishes:

More Delicious Curry Recipes

No need to reach for the takeout menus, just try one of these flavorful recipes and enjoy a good curry right in the comfort of your own kitchen!

How to Make Chicken Massaman Curry

A bowl of chicken Massaman curry.

Chicken Massaman Curry

4.98 from 215 votes
Chicken Massaman Curry is one of the easiest and most delicious savory Thai curry dishes. With chicken and potatoes cooked into a sweet, slightly spicy sauce, it's a flavor explosion!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 10

Video

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat vegetable oil in an extra large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in curry paste; cook and stir for about 2-3 minutes. This is strong, make sure your windows are open and a fan is blowing.
    Massaman curry paste in a pan.
  • Add 1 can coconut milk and stir until well blended. Add ginger, cilantro, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil.
    Making massaman curry.
  • Thinly slice the onion and chicken, then add them to the sauce. Reduce to a simmer. When chicken is white and cooked through (about 5 min or so) add another can of coconut milk and bring back to a boil.
    Uncooked chicken in the massaman curry.
  • Peel and dice potatoes Peel and slice carrots. Add the potatoes, carrots, and remaining ingredients (except for the rice) and stir until everything is well mixed. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are no longer crunchy in the middle. Serve hot over Jasmine rice and garnish with extra cilantro and/or limes if desired.
    Chicken massaman curry on rice on a black plate.

Notes

  • It’s not a bad idea to boil your potatoes for three-four minutes before adding them to your curry. This is a great trick for when you are in a hurry and just trying to get dinner on the table and don’t want to wait for the potatoes to soften in the curry sauce.
  • If you are adding extra vegetables, allow the vegetables to soften in the sauce for optimal flavor. If you are in a hurry, stir-fry the veggies until tender before adding to the sauce.
  • Shake the coconut milk really well before opening so it doesn’t come out in one big clump. You can also avoid this by opening the coconut milk can from the bottom. 
  • Make it as spicy or as mild as you would like! Add sriracha while cooking, or serve it on the side if people prefer different spice levels.
  • Instead of adding salt (if needed), try adding soy sauce. It gives you the salty flavor while also deepening the overall flavor of the dish.
  • Don’t forget the limes! Adding a squeeze of fresh lime right before serving ties all those delicious flavors together.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 7gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 399mgPotassium: 185mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 3860IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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4.98 from 215 votes (84 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this curry! I cook it outside in my Instant Pot with the saute function. I use sweetened coconut milk from the Aldi refrigerated area instead of canned milk. It’s cheaper, and I have enough for 2 batches. I freeze 1/2 the milk to make it again later.

  2. 5 stars
    This is an awesome Authentic Thai Dish! Super Declicous and easy to make; the only think I added to this recipe was one shallot that I sliced thin and sautéed with the ginger…THank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Erica, this was a WOW flavourfull dish, thank you. I will definitely be doing this recipe again.

  4. Recipe calls for 1 28 oz can of coconut milk in ingredients but says “add another can of coconut milk” under recipe. This was confusing. I added 2 14 oz cans and then another 14 oz can and now it appears I’ve messed up the recipe. Lame.

    1. We apologize that we weren’t more clear in the recipe, it should be 28 ounces total (so 2 14-ounce cans). Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We fixed it on the recipe. Even if you added more coconut milk, hopefully it still tasted ok!

  5. 5 stars
    I first tastes massaman curry at my local Thai restaurant. I wanted something different to what i usually ate and saw the word curry. I’m crazy about it. The restaurant also makes fish massaman. Doesn’t light my fire.

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious! My husband loved this dish and he is not a fan of curries. This will be a regular dish in our household. It’s a winner!!

  7. 5 stars
    This was really delicious. Very easy to make and went down a treat. Drying to print it off and put in my ‘fav recipes folder’. Thanks so much.

  8. Delicious but confusing – ingredients say 1 can coconut milk but recipe calls for 2 cans. I added more of everything & the 2nd can. Was strange to add the peanut butter late in the process. Didn’t have worsteshire so substituted soy sauce. Used potatoes, carrots, green beans & onions. Delicious!

    1. The recipe calls for 28 ounces of coconut milk and the cans we usually get are each 14 ounces. Sorry for the confusion!

    2. 5 stars
      This recipe is perfection. I have now made this dozens of times, it is a family favorite. Thank you!!

  9. 5 stars
    OH MY GOODNESS! We consider ourselves connoisseurs of Massaman curry, and are always looking for the restaurant with the perfect version. I like this recipe as well as any I’ve had at our favorite Thai restaurants. And, it really was pretty easy to make. I know what I’ll be bringing to church potluck next week! Thanks so much for this recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    I love massaman curry and wanted to see if I could attempt it myself instead of always ordering take away. I used this recipe and it came out delicious! I did add some red and green bell peppers to it just for some extra veggies and because my favorite Thai restaurant does that as well. I also used the same curry paste as in the recipe as well. It was an instant hit!

  11. 5 stars
    This is the first time I have made Massaman curry and it was delicious. I made a few changes only 1tbls of brown sugar and fish sauce, I’ll instead of 2. Also left over Costco chicken. I did follow the recommendations of Worcester sauce and soy instead of salt, which really made a difference. My chef son said the dish was restaurant quality, the whole family enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

  12. 5 stars
    I love massaman curry and decided to try making it at home. I found this recipe and decided to try it instead of the others I found online. So glad I chose this one, it was AMAZING!!!! Just as good as the ones I have had at our local Thai restaurants. Thank you so much!!!!! It will be on regular rotation at home now.

  13. Excellent. I tweaked a little to fit Keto. Skipped potatoes but added some bell peppers and zucchini. Massaman curry has excellent flavor & not as hot as the panang.

  14. 5 stars
    This was an amazing dish. Massaman chicken is a favorite meal when dining out and to make a loved cuisine at home was a real treat. A good balance of vegetables and plenty of curry. I will likely add an additional pound of chicken the next time. This recipe was also super easy to make.

  15. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I had never tried to make curry before as it is a newly discovered dish. And now I can’t get enough!! Great easy to follow recipe!!

  16. 5 stars
    If you like potatoes and need to add a bit more deph to your dish, try this.

    Try cubing your potatoes and browing them before adding to the curry.

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