Homemade Thai Massaman Curry Paste

This Thai Massaman Curry Paste is my take on a simply delicious and unique base for a curry.

Portrait close up image of a homemade massaman curry paste surrounded by ingredients

The Secret Behind Massaman Curry.

The first time I ordered Massaman Curry from the Thai restaurant it blew my mind.

Sure it had all of the usual Thai flavours like lemongrass, fish sauce and shrimp paste.

It was sweet, sour and salty with a hint of spice too, just like all good South-East Asian food.

But there was so much more, there was an earthiness and fragrant spiciness that made me go googly-eyed!

These are flavours that are of Persian influence and came via the Malay peninsular apparently.

The addition of ingredients like Mace, Cloves, Cumin and Coriander Seeds really do make this curry sing.

Overhead portrait image of a Thai beef massaman curry served with jasmine rice in a white bowl
Thai Beef Massaman Curry with Jasmine RIce

Ingredients and Substitutions.

I make no bones about where I live and the recipes I create aim t replicate global flavours with ingredients that I can source.

As a result of this, this recipe, like many others contains subs that some my find “controversial”. Suck it up!

We start out with Ginger, the Thai version of this recipe would use galangal. If you have so feel free to swap it out at a like for like volume.

Next up we have lime zest, Kaffir limes are somewhat of a rarity here in central Europe. Feel free to use some if you can find them, again like for like in the amount.

Lemongrass really is hit and miss here but I always keep lemongrass paste in stock. It works well but each brand needs a different amount to replace fresh lemongrass.

Finally shrimp paste, no subs here, just get some no matter what you have to do!

It smells nasty and if you try it before you cook it then it tastes even worst. But omit it at your peril, if you can’t find it cook this recipe later.

Portrait close up image of a Thai beef massaman curry served with jasmine rice in a white bowl

Techniques.

There ain’t a lot to add here other than to mention the final step in my methodology.

You can stop at the blending of the paste if you like, but if you have a large pestle and mortar then use it!

Your blender will in the main cut up all the ingredients and combine them.

What you really want is to pound those ingredients. This bruises them, makes them release oils as the cell structure gets damaged.

It really is the true secret to a great curry paste, it does not matter whether it is this or Thai Red Curry Paste, or even Thai Green Curry Paste.

Massaman Curry Paste Recipe

Massaman Curry Paste Recipe

Yield: 8 Portions of Curry
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

This from-scratch Thai Massaman Curry Paste stays pretty close to traditional roots whilst using common European ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 5 Dried Medium Chilli Peppers
  • 2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Blade Mace
  • 6 Cloves
  • 4 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 10 Garlic Cloves
  • 100 g Shallots
  • 10 g Ginger
  • 6 Red Thai Birds Eye Chilli Peppers
  • 2 Lemon Grass Stalks
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Shrimp Paste
  • Zest of two Limes

Instructions

  1. Soak the dried chillies in just enough boiling water to cover for 5 minutes.
  2. Toast the coriander, cumin, mace, cloves, cardamom pods and black pepper in a dry pan for 60 seconds.
  3. Transfer to a blender.
  4. Peel the shallots, ginger and garlic and add them to the toasted spices.
  5. Take the tops off the birds eye chillies and add them too.
  6. Chop and add in the lemongrass stalks, salt, shrimp paste and lime zest.
  7. Remove the dried chillies from the water and add to the blender and blitz.
  8. The final step is optional but really helps create a smooth paste and better curry!
  9. Turn the paste out into a pestle and mortar and pound the snot out of it until you get a really smooth paste!

Notes

This amount of curry paste (around 200g) will make 8 portions of Massaman Curry.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 64 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 4mg Sodium: 782mg Carbohydrates: 15g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

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