See also Beef Massaman. Lamb Shank Massaman. แกงมัสมั่น That nice curly script above is how we spell the name of this curry in Thai. I put it there because it won’t be long before someone tells me I’ve spelt it wrong in English! Truth is that you can’t always transcribe Thai to English accurately, two different alphabets and this can be spelt a variety of ways but I’ll go with this one. To my way of thinking there is a lot of Malay influence in this paste with the various spices, it’s also one of the very few dishes in Thailand that we cook with potatoes. One thing I can tell you is that I’ve made this paste from the traditional recipe and that it is one of the most time consuming and complex pastes to make so please treat it with respect 🙂 By that I mean please don’t use one of those dreadful “reduced fat” coconut milks, it just won’t work, the additives they put in that stuff to keep it together also break down in cooking and you’ll end up with a not very nice tasting soup! Quick guide here,Coconut Milk Summary or if you would like to see the difference between different brands of coconut milk the full article is here; Cooking Thai Curry with Coconut Milk. I’m using 1 can of coconut milk for around 500 g of meat and about 150 g potatoes for every 500 g of meat. You will also need an onion if you want to garnish it as in the top picture. The pastes are complete but it is always a good idea to have a little lime juice to hand to adjust sweetness to your personal taste, if needed, at the end of cooking. You also adjust saltiness by adding a little more fish sauce or salt if required.
If you want to garnish with some fried onions as above then best to cook them ahead. Slice thinly, cook and drain on kitchen paper and reserve. Halve some small potatoes and saute them in vegetable oil for about 10 minutes until just browned. Just wash them clean, don’t peel them or they may break up in the sauce. Remove potatoes from the pan and put to one side and add the chicken pieces. Brown for a few minutes and then remove, you’ll cook it fully in the sauce later. Add the paste to the pan with half a can of coconut milk. Heat gently while stirring. When it’s started to bubble return the chicken and potatoes to the pan and bring to a slow simmer Add some (or all) of the remaining coconut liquid depending on how thick you like your sauce.
Turn heat down and cover for 10 minutes. After 10 min remove the lid and cook on medium heat for about 15 min to reduce the sauce or you can also add more liquid at this stage if need be. Stir from time to time making sure the potatoes don’t break up and the sauce doesn’t burn. Garnish with the fried onion if using and serve with rice. Enjoy!
To my way of thinking there are few dishes more heavenly than a good Massaman curry, my only dilemma is what meat or fish I should cook it with as it seems to work with almost anything. We use potatoes so rarely in Thai cuisine but they just work so well in a Massaman curry dish it would be a sin not to include them. I’m confident I make the best Massaman curry paste you can buy, I have seen so many shortcuts in the recipes for Massaman curry paste that I often think it no longer deserves to be called Massaman. I have made a totally traditional Thai curry paste here, no shortcuts, just take a look here. Let’s get cooking, I promise you, it’s worth it:-)
f you are going to garnish with some fried onions as in the pictures above it’s best to cook them ahead. Slice thinly, cook and drain on kitchen paper and reserve. A cheat is to use the ready cooked fried onions available in supermarkets but I prefer to fry them as above,
Halve some small potatoes and sauté them in vegetable oil until they are just browned, this will take about 10 minutes. Don’t peel the potatoes or they may break up in the sauce.
Remove them from the pan and add the chicken sliced into large pieces as in the pictures, don’t be tempted to cut the pieces bite-size. Sear the chicken in the pan for a few minutes until brown and then remove it, the chicken will be fully cooked later in the sauce.
Add one packet of My Thai Curry Massaman Curry paste to the pan with half a can of coconut milk and bring to a simmer whilst stirring.
When it starts to bubble, return the chicken and potatoes to the pan and bring to a slow simmer. Turn the heat down and cover for 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce does not burn. These timings will ensure the chicken is cooked but test the potatoes with a fork to ensure they are also cooked. At this stage you can add the remainder of the coconut milk if you wish depending on how thick you like your curry sauce. Adjust seasoning if required.
Garnish with the fried onion if using and serve with rice. Enjoy!
As always using the “right” type of coconut milk is a game-changer. See here.