Thai Massaman Chicken Curry

Massaman chicken curry in a blue serving bowl garnished with roasted peanuts and coriander.

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Loaded with tender chicken, carrots, potatoes, baby corn, and peanuts, this Thai Massaman Chicken Curry is easy to make in one pot in 45 minutes with a store-bought curry paste and full of the BEST warming and fragrant spices! Serve with steamed rice for a cozy meal.


  • 500 grams / 1.1 pounds Chicken Thigh Fillets, skinless – cleaned, pat-dried, excess fat trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ medium Red Onion (note 1) – diced
  • 6 Garlic cloves – finely minced
  • 214 fresh Red Chilies (optional – Thai Bird’s Eye or any small hot red chilies – note 2), to taste – finely chopped
  • 26 Prik Kee Nu Green Chilies (optionalnote 2), to taste – finely chopped
  • 285 grams / 3 small potatoes (Yukon Gold or other waxy potatoes, or sweet potatoes) – peeled, diced
  • 165 grams / 2 medium Carrots – peeled, sliced into thin ¼-cm discs, then sliced in half
  • 67 pieces Baby Corn – cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ disc (12.5 grams) Coconut Sugar, to taste – shaved with a knife (note 3)
  • 2 TBLS Canola Oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 24 TBLS Massaman Curry Paste (note 4)
  • 500 ml / 17 ounces Coconut Milk
  • 118ml / ½ cup Water
  • ½ TSP Garam Masala (homemade preferred, but store-bought is fine)
  • 1 TBLS Tamarind Paste (note 5)
  • 1 TBLS Fish Sauce, to taste
  • ¼ TSP Thai Chili Powder (optional)
  • 3 TBLS unsalted Roasted Red-Skin Peanuts (or dry roasted peanuts – note 6)
  • To Serve: Steamed rice, chopped coriander (cilantro), finely sliced large red (mild) chili (optional)



  1. Prepare the ingredients: Clean and trim off the excess fat from the chicken thigh fillets and slice into bite-sized pieces. Chop/slice the red onion, garlic, red chilies, prik kee nu green chilies (if using), potatoes, carrots, and baby corn as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section. Finely shave the coconut sugar with a knife and set aside.

For the Massaman Chicken Curry:

  1. Sauté the onion and aromatics: Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large nonstick wok (or large pot) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic. Sauté for a minute until softened. Add the fresh red chilies and prik kee nu green chilies and sauté to combine for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  2. Add the veggies: Add the potatoes, carrots and baby corn. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until slightly softened.
  3. Add the curry paste and chicken. Add the Massaman curry paste and stir-fry for a minute until it starts to breaks down. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until the chicken is mostly no longer pink.
  4. Build the curry: Pour in the coconut milk and water. Stir until the curry paste has fully broken down. Stir in the coconut sugar, garam masala, tamarind paste, fish sauce and Thai chili powder (if using). Lower the heat the medium and cover. Simmer for 20-24 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
  5. Adjust seasonings: Uncover and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings by stirring in more sugar, tamarind paste and fish sauce if needed. Stir in half of the roasted peanuts and switch off the heat.
  6. To Serve: Transfer to a serving bowl/dish. Garnish with chopped coriander, the remainder roasted peanuts, and finely sliced large red chili (if using). Serve immediately with warm steamed rice.



  1. Red onion. You can use diced yellow or white onion, or 6 small Asian red shallots that have been cut into wedges instead if preferred.
  2. Fresh red chilies and Thai prik kee nu green chilies. Although Massaman curry is not typically very spicy, I’ve used Thai Bird’s Eye red chilies and Thai prik kee nu green chilies for an extra kick! You can use any small hot red and green chilies you like. Adjust quantity to taste based on your heat level preference. Leave them out for a milder and more traditional curry. The prik kee nu green chilies are listed as optional as they may be difficult to find outside of Asia. If you do find them, use with caution. They may be tiny in size but are fiery HOT!
  3. Coconut sugar. I used a Malaysian coconut sugar which is known as ‘gula kelapa’. Similar to Thai palm sugar, it comes in the form of form of hardened discs. You’ll need to shave it finely with a knife so that it dissolves more easily into the broth. You can swap for palm sugar, or granulated light brown or white sugar.
  4. Massaman curry paste. Massaman (also called Matsaman or Mussaman) curry paste is milder than most other Thai curry pastes. It’s made with dried red chilies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, makrut lime peel, shrimp paste, salt and warming spices such as cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I used a store-bought one to save time. I highly recommend using a massaman curry paste that’s produced by a Thai brand. Namjai (what I’ve used), Mae Ploy, and Maesri are excellent choices and will make the curry taste more authentic.
  5. Find it in a well-stocked supermarket or purchase it online. For a milder curry, start with just 2 tablespoons of massaman curry paste and stir in more later after simmering and tasting if desired.
  6. Tamarind paste. Also known as tamarind concentrate or puree. This light brown paste/sauce made from fresh tamarind adds a hint of tangy sweet flavors to the curry. Some brands produce more sour paste than others, so you might need to adjust the amount to taste. Be sure to use a Thai tamarind paste and not an Indian one. The latter is sticky and black and not the one preferred for this curry. Find a jar in Thai or Asian grocery stores, the Asian aisle of large supermarkets that are well-stocked with international ingredients, or purchase it online.
  7. Roasted Red-Skin Peanuts (unsalted): Peanuts are a key ingredient and they set this curry apart from other Thai curries. They add an extra layer of texture and a slight nutty flavor. You can use dry roasted peanuts if you can’t find roasted red-skin peanuts. If you find raw red-skin peanuts, you can roast them gently in a pan with a little oil (or without) until they smell nutty and their skin has turned a deep shade of reddish brown. Feel free to add more peanuts than what I’ve specified and up to ½ cup if desired.
  8. Leftovers and storing. Store leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until hot throughout. To freeze, transfer to a freezer-safe container or sealable bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for smaller individual portions or on the stove in a pot for a larger quantity.


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