Chicken massaman curry recipe


Massaman curry is one of Thailand’s signature dishes, popular in Thai restaurants throughout the world. Also, it used to be the world most delicious dish according to the survey of CNNGO.

Believed that massaman curry probably arrived in Siam (the former name of Thailand) with Persian traders in the reign of King Narai The Great in Ayutthaya kingdom period. Since it has wonderfully rich-mellow-mild flavour balanced among sourness, saltiness and sweetness, not only Thais, but also Western diners enjoy the dish.

The common feature of chicken massaman curry is the use of large-size parts of chicken, especially thighs and drumsticks. After finishing, cooks often let the dish stand for 4 to 6 hours or overnight at room temperature and then reheat before serving, making the sauce and flavours gradually penetrate into each tissue of chicken, ending up with the very juicy and delicious pieces of chicken.


  • 500 g chicken (preferably skin-on thighs and drumsticks), If using the thighs, halved crosswise
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 2 cups thin coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp massaman curry paste
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • 4 best cardamoms, roasted for 2 to 3 minutes to increase aroma
  • 2 2-inch cinnamon sticks, roasted for 2 to 3 minutes to increase aroma
  • 3 tbsp palm sugar
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 potatoes (about 500 g.), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered


  1. Heat a wok over a medium heat and then add the thick coconut milk. Stir slowly and regularly for 4-5 minutes or until quite thick and releasing oil. Add the massaman curry paste and cook for 2-3 minutes or until aromatic.
  2. Add the chicken and cook until firm and coated well with the curry paste. Add roasted peanuts, roasted best cardamoms, roasted cinnamon and thin coconut milk and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
  3. Once bubbling, stir in palm sugar, tamarind paste and fish sauce (taste if it is sour, salty and sweet). Reduce the heat to a gentle boil and then simmer until the chicken is just cooked.
  4. Add potatoes and onions, stir a little to combine and then simmer for 10 minutes, or until done. Turn off heat.
  5. Spoon the chicken massaman curry into a serving bowl.

Instead of chicken, beef, button or pork are also great for this.


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