Craving a flavorful and comforting Thai dish? Look no further than this amazing Chicken Massaman Curry recipe. Picture tender chicken pieces simmered in a rich and fragrant curry sauce, infused with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavors that will have your taste buds dancing with joy.
But here’s the best part – we’re going to make the curry paste from scratch too! Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. Just a quick blend of dried red chili peppers, shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and some aromatic spices, and you’ll have a homemade curry paste that’s bursting with authentic flavors.
Once you’ve got your curry paste ready, it’s time to cook up a storm. We’ll add chicken and onions in the pot, add in potatoes, coconut milk, chicken broth, tamarind paste, and a few more goodies. Then, let everything simmer until the chicken is tender, and the potatoes soak up all those delicious flavors.
Garnish it with a handful of roasted peanuts, sprinkle some fresh cilantro on top, and serve it steaming hot with fluffy jasmine rice. Trust us, this Chicken Massaman Curry will transport you straight to Thailand with its incredible taste and aromatic aromas.
History of Massaman
Legend has it that Massaman Curry has its roots in the ancient Kingdom of Ayutthaya, where traders from India, Persia, and beyond brought with them a treasure trove of exotic spices. These aromatic ingredients gradually found their way into local Thai cuisine, giving rise to the creation of the Massaman Curry we know and love today.
With its delightful blend of flavors, Massaman Curry is a delicious fusion of Thai, Indian, and Persian culinary influences. The curry paste itself draws inspiration from Indian curries, incorporating spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg, while the addition of peanuts reflects the Persian influence.
Originally, Massaman Curry was predominantly made with beef or lamb, reflecting the Muslim influence on Thai cuisine. However, over time, variations with chicken, pork, and even vegetarian options have become popular, making it a versatile dish that caters to different tastes and dietary preferences.
What makes Massaman Curry truly special is the slow cooking process that allows the flavors to develop and harmonize. As the chicken or meat simmers in a fragrant blend of coconut milk, curry paste, and an array of aromatic spices, the dish transforms into a symphony of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.
Today, Chicken Massaman Curry is celebrated worldwide for its enticing aroma, rich flavors, and creamy texture. It has become a staple in Thai restaurants around the globe, satisfying cravings for a taste of Thailand’s culinary heritage.
So, next time you savor a steaming bowl of Chicken Massaman Curry, remember that you’re not just enjoying a delicious meal – you’re also indulging in a piece of history, a culinary masterpiece that has traveled through time and cultures to delight your palate. Enjoy the flavors and savor the story behind this remarkable dish!
Why is Massaman curry so good?
Massaman curry is a fusion of Thai- and Indian-style curries, utilizing both a red-style curry paste (Thai influence) and dry whole spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg (Indian influence). Another essential ingredient is roasted peanuts, which add an extra layer of richness and texture to the curry.
Is Thai curry junk food?
Traditional Thai cuisine is quite healthy and largely based on vegetables, lean proteins, and fresh herbs and spices. Certain Thai dishes are high in refined carbs and may contain deep-fried foods, added sugar, or high amounts of salt.
Let’s make the paste!
Making your own Massaman curry paste is an adventure in itself. It’s not just about convenience, but about crafting flavors that are uniquely yours. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your mortar and pestle or trusty food processor, and let’s dive into the vibrant world of Massaman curry paste.
Ingredients for Massaman Paste
- * 4-6 dried red chili peppers, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
- * 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- * 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- * 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
- * 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed and sliced
- * 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- * 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- * 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- * 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- * 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste (optional)
Instruction for Massaman Paste
- Drain the soaked dried chili peppers and remove the seeds (if you prefer less heat). Set aside.
- In a food processor or blender, combine the soaked chili peppers, shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cardamom, and shrimp paste (if using).
- Blend the ingredients until a smooth paste is formed. You may need to scrape down the sides and blend again to ensure everything is well combined. Set aside.
Now you already have the paste, let’s gather your ingredients, get your apron on, and let’s dive into this flavorful adventure together!
How to make Massaman Gai (Chicken Massaman Curry)
- Cutting board To chop and prepare the ingredients.
- Knife To slice and dice the chicken, onions, potatoes, and other ingredients.
- Food processor or blender To blend the curry paste ingredients into a smooth paste.
- Large pot or Dutch oven To cook the curry.
- Wooden spoon or spatula For stirring and mixing the ingredients.
- Measuring spoons To accurately measure spices, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and other seasonings.
- Can opener If using canned coconut milk or chicken broth.
- Serving spoon or ladle To serve the Chicken Massaman Curry.
- Optional Mortar and pestle if you prefer to grind the curry paste manually instead of using a food processor or blender.
- Optional Rice cooker or pot, if you plan to serve the curry with jasmine rice.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 pounds chicken
- 1 onion sliced
- 2 potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 can coconut milk or 400 ml of coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- cooked jasmine rice for serving
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the curry paste to the pot and stir-fry for about 2 minutes to release the flavors.
- Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides.
- In the same pot, add the sliced onion, the potatoes, coconut milk, chicken broth, tamarind paste, palm sugar, fish sauce, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves. Stir well to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender and the potatoes are cooked through.
- Stir in the roasted peanuts and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
- Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning by adding more fish sauce, sugar, or tamarind paste if desired.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves before serving.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with jasmine rice.
- When preparing the Chicken Massaman Curry, feel free to adjust the ingredients and seasonings to suit your personal taste preferences. If you prefer a thicker curry, you can reduce the amount of chicken broth or simmer the curry for a bit longer to allow it to thicken. Conversely, if you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add a little more chicken broth or coconut milk.
- Additionally, if you want to add more vegetables to the curry, feel free to experiment with additions like bell peppers, carrots, or green beans. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure that the vegetables are cooked to your desired level of tenderness.
- Lastly, the garnishes and accompaniments are flexible as well. If you don’t have roasted peanuts, you can substitute with cashews or simply omit them. Fresh lime wedges can be served alongside the curry for a tangy twist, and Thai basil leaves can be used as an alternative to or in addition to cilantro for garnishing.
- Remember, cooking is an art, and recipes can be tailored to your liking. So have fun experimenting and making this Chicken Massaman Curry your own!
- Curry Paste: A mixture of ground spices, herbs, and aromatics that forms the base of the curry. In this recipe, the curry paste is made with dried red chili peppers, shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and various spices.
- Lemongrass: A tropical herb with a citrusy flavor commonly used in Thai cuisine. The tough outer layer is removed, and the inner part is sliced or pounded to release its aromatic oils.
- Tamarind Paste: A tangy, sweet-sour paste made from the pulp of the tamarind fruit. It adds a distinct flavor to the curry.
- Palm Sugar: A sweetener derived from the sap of certain palm trees. It has a rich, caramel-like flavor. Brown sugar can be used as a substitute.
- Fish Sauce: A condiment made from fermented fish. It adds a salty and savory taste to the curry. It’s a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine.
- Cinnamon Stick: A rolled-up piece of cinnamon bark used as a spice. It adds warmth and aroma to the curry.
- Bay Leaves: Dried leaves from the bay laurel tree. They have a herbal and slightly floral flavor, often used to enhance the taste of dishes.
- Roasted Peanuts: Peanuts that have been cooked or toasted to enhance their flavor and give a crunchy texture. They are commonly used as a garnish in Thai cuisine.
- Jasmine Rice: A fragrant long-grain rice variety with a subtly sweet aroma. It is commonly served with Thai dishes.
- Dutch Oven: A heavy, thick-walled pot with a tight-fitting lid, typically made of cast iron or enameled cast iron. It’s excellent for slow cooking and braising.
These are just a few key terms to help you understand the recipe better. If you have any specific questions about other ingredients or terms, feel free to ask!
Q: Can I use a different type of meat instead of chicken?
A: Yes! While the recipe specifies chicken thighs, you can definitely substitute it with other proteins like beef, lamb, pork, or even tofu or vegetables for a vegetarian version. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the protein you choose.
Q: Can I make the curry paste in advance?
A: Absolutely! Making the curry paste in advance can save you time when you’re ready to cook. You can store the paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze it for longer storage. Just thaw it before using in the recipe.
Q: How can I adjust the spiciness of the curry?
A: The spiciness of the curry can be adjusted by controlling the amount of dried chili peppers used in the curry paste. If you prefer a milder curry, you can reduce the number of chili peppers or remove the seeds before blending. Conversely, if you like it spicier, you can add more chili peppers or include some of the seeds.
Q: Can I omit or substitute any ingredients?
A: Yes, you can adjust the recipe to suit your preferences or dietary restrictions. For example, if you don’t have tamarind paste, you can substitute it with lime juice for a tangy flavor. If you have allergies or don’t enjoy certain ingredients, feel free to omit them or find suitable alternatives.
Q: How can I store leftovers?
A: If you have any leftovers, allow the curry to cool down before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for longer storage. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a little water or coconut milk if needed to adjust the consistency.