Massaman curry

massaman curry

Massaman curry
serves 2-3

Massaman curry is a Malaysian curry that’s normally slow cooked with beef and potatoes. We’re lightening it up and speeding it up by using chicken thigh fillets and serving on a bed of baby spinach instead of the spuds.

500g (1lb) chicken thigh fillets
4-6 tablespoons massaman curry paste
400mL (14oz) coconut milk
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
4-6 sprigs fresh curry leaves, optional
4 handfuls baby spinach, to serve

1. Heat some olive oil in a large pot. Finely slice chicken and stir fry over a high heat for a few minutes or until no longer pink.

2. Add curry paste and stir fry for another 30 seconds before adding the coconut milk and curry leaves, if using.

3. Bring to a simmer and cook for another few minutes or until chicken is just cooked through.

prepare ahead?

Absolutely! Will keep in the fridge for over a week and reheats really well.

leftover potential

Will keep for over a week in the fridge.

variations for fun

carnivore – replace the chicken with beef chuck or stewing steak. Simmer gently for an hour or until the beef is tender.

nut-free – just skip the peanuts and serve with fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) instead.

vegetarian – replace the chicken breast with firm tofu chopped finely and some fresh cauliflower chopped into florettes. Simmer curry until the cauli is tender – 10 minutes or so.

vegan – replace the chicken with 2 cans drained lentils.

budget – serve with steamed rice to stretch the curry to 4 servings or stir in a few handfuls of cooked potatoes.

problem solving guide

watery – If you prefer a thicker curry, simmer for longer to reduce the sauce.

can’t find fresh curry leaves – frozen are good if you can find them. Or just skip them all together and keep it simple.

can’t find massaman curry paste? – replace with a Thai red curry paste OR make your own red curry paste using the recipe over HERE.

– don’t forget to be generous with the seasoning. A little more curry paste will help.

serving suggestions

I like this as a simple dinner on its own. Or serve as part of an Asian banquet with a stir fry and some steamed rice or cauliflower rice.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Judith Janse van Rensburg March 13, 2013

Hi Jules, this looks so delicious. I am planning to try a veggie version tomorrow night. I may also use some potato to bulk out a bit. Could you advise as to how much cauli and tofu to use in place of 500 grams of Chicken. Would one normally aim for about the same weight in veggies and other vegetarian ingredients as what the recipe suggests for the meat/chicken. Thanks! Judie


jules March 13, 2013

Great question Judie!
Normally I’d just use the same weight in veggie ingredients if they’re high in protein like eggs, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, beans, cheese etc. OR if they’re starchy like potatoes or sweet potato or pasta.

BUT for fresh veggies like cauli, zucchini, cabbage, mushrooms etc – since they don’t tend to be as filling I’d probably double the weight or at least start with 1.5 times the amount.

So I’d use 500g tofu instead of 500g chicken
BUT if I was using a mixture of tofu (say 300g) I’d probably add about 400g cauliflower.

Sometimes you’ll need to play around with quantities but that’s where I’d start.

Hope you enjoy the curry!


Judie March 15, 2013

Thanks Jules, That’s very helpful. I have 2 vegetarians and 3 meat eaters in my
house and always wish there was some kind of forumla for converting normal recipes to veggie ones. I’ll let you know how I go.


jules March 15, 2013

Great Judie!
Looking forward to hearing how you get on 🙂


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