Thai massaman chicken curry

Thai massaman chicken curry

This delicious chicken massaman curry has a lot of ingredients but very few stages – the paste also makes enough for two curries.


For the massaman curry paste

For the chicken curry

To serve

  • steamed sticky rice
  • 1 large red chilli, sliced diagonally


  1. For the massaman curry paste, heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the cardamom, cumin and cloves and dry-fry for 1–2 minutes, or until fragrant.

  2. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.

  3. Blend the ground spices with all the remaining curry paste ingredients in a food processor, until smooth and well combined. (Alternatively, pound the paste until smooth in a pestle and mortar.) Chill until needed, covered.

  4. To make the chicken curry, heat the oil in a medium, flameproof, lidded casserole. Add the onions and fry for 8–10 minutes, or until softened and light golden-brown.

  5. Increase the heat, push the onions to one side, then add the chicken to the other side and fry for 2–3 minutes on all sides, or until sealed all over.

  6. Add half the curry paste (see tip). Stir well to coat the chicken and onions in the paste. Fry for 1–2 minutes, or until fragrant.

  7. Add the potato, chillies, stock, coconut milk, tomatoes, lime leaves, star anise, fish sauce, palm sugar and soy sauce to the casserole. Stir well and bring to the boil, then cover with the lid and reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. Simmer for 12–15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (do not overcook the chicken as it will become dry). Season to taste with a little more fish sauce or some lime juice.

  8. Just before serving, stir in the basil leaves and half the roasted peanuts.

  9. To serve, spoon the Thai massaman curry into bowls and garnish with the extra Thai basil leaves, the sliced red chilli and remaining peanuts. Serve with steamed sticky rice.

Recipe Tips

Tip 1: To remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, lightly crush them with the side of a knife, then tip them into a small container and discard the husks.

Tip 2: The curry paste mixture makes enough for two curries. Store the remaining paste in the fridge for 2–3 weeks or freeze for up to a month.