This Massaman curry paste recipe is a mix of Indian and Thai flavors with a mild level of spice, essential for Massaman curry, though quite versatile.
If you're looking to make Thai Massaman Curry at home, you'll need a good Massaman Curry Paste recipe, my friends.
Massaman curry paste is a Thai curry paste, though it's an interesting mix of Thai ingredients and Indian ground spices, as influenced by Indian cooks coming to Thailand and making Thai food their way.
Massaman curry is a result of this influence, a wonderful dish filled with flavorful dried spices and aromatic ingredients.
You can find Massaman curry paste in grocery stores, though homemade is so much better and fresher than store bought, and you can really control what you put into it.
You can also use it to make other Thai curries, as it is quite versatile.
Let's talk about how to make Massaman Curry Paste, shall we?
Massaman Curry Paste Ingredients
- Dried Chili Peppers. You can use a variety, though Massaman curry isn't typically hot, but it is spicy. I'm using japones and guajillo peppers. Dried California chilies or New Mexican chilies are good for lower level heat. Chile de Arbol are good for those looking for more heat.
- Vegetable Oil.
- Fresh Ingredients. Shallot, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, cilantro roots.
- Shrimp Paste. Adds a wonderful umami to the curry paste.
- Tamarind Concentrate.
- Spices and Seasonings. Bay Leaf, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg.
How to Make Massaman Curry Paste - the Recipe Method
Dry Toast the Chilies. Heat a small pan to medium heat.
Add the dried chilies and dry toast them for 1 minute per side, or until they darken and become slightly fragrant. Do not burn the skins.
PRO TIP. Toasting the chilies this way loosens the oils in the skins and provides a wonderful flavor boost akin to toasting seeds before grinding.
Soak the Peppers. Remove from heat and add enough water to cover the chilies. Soak until softened, about 15 minutes.
Process the Curry Paste. Remove the peppers and add them to a food processor or blender along with the remaining ingredients. Process to form a paste. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle.
Thin as Needed. If the paste is too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time and process until smooth. You can use some of the reserved chili soaking water for this as well.
Make Some Curry! Use as needed, or store in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use (up to 2 weeks). You can also freeze it.
This recipe makes about 1 cup of curry paste.
Boom! Done! Your Massaman curry paste is ready to serve. It's quite easy to make, and now you're ready to get making some Massaman curry! Yes!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Toast Your Spices. For an extra layer of flavor, toast your seeds lightly before grinding. Toasted spices that you heat until fragrant bloom with flavor and translate to your finished curry paste.
- Other Ingredients. This is a customizable recipe. I've seen the following additional ingredients used - kaffir lime leaves, white peppercorns, roasted peanuts, clove, mace, coriander seeds, white sugar, coconut milk, fish sauce.
Massaman curry paste will last 2 weeks or longer in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
You can also freeze it for 6 months or more. I suggest freezing it in small portions, such as in ice cube trays, so you only need to thaw and use what you need.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this Massaman curry paste recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Always happy to know!
If you enjoy Thai cooking, I recommend the following cookbooks.
- Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine with Authentic Recipes to Make at Home, by Pailin Chongchitnant. It's a great resource with lots of traditional Thai recipes. Very instructive! (affilliate link, my friends!)
- 101 Thai Dishes (You Nee do Cook Before You Die, by Jet Tila with Tad Weyland Fukumoto. (affilliate link, my friends!)
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Thai Red Curry Paste
- Thai Chili Paste (Nam Prik Pao)
- Homemade Yellow Curry Paste
- Green Curry Paste
- Panang Curry Paste (Prik Gaeng Panang)
- Homemade Curry Powder
- Curry Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Massaman Curry Paste Recipe
- 6 dried Japones chilies stems and seeds removed (or use chile de arbol)
- 1 dried guajillo chili stems and seeds removed.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small shallot chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass base and tops removed, minced
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh galangal skin on
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 teaspoons cilantro roots chopped
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Water as needed to thin
- Heat a small pan to medium heat.
- Add the dried chilies and dry toast them for 1 minute per side, or until they darken and become slightly fragrant. Do not burn.
- Remove from heat and add enough water to cover the chilies. Soak until softened, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the peppers and add them to a food processor or blender along with the remaining ingredients. Process to form a paste. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle.
- If the paste is too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time and process until smooth. You can use some of the reserved chili soaking water for this as well.
- Use as needed, or store in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use (up to 2 weeks). You can also freeze it.