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Homemade Thai Massaman Curry Paste

Homemade Thai massaman curry paste is really easy to make at home & its fragrant bold flavours feature in some of my favourite Thai curries.

It takes around 15 minutes to prepare, requires no cooking and it will freeze wonderfully meaning you can always have some at hand.

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

Homemade Thai Curry Paste

I spent 13 years living in rural Hungary a place where Thai curry pastes were not readily available.

As a result, I developed a series of my favourite pastes to use in my recipes.

This Thai massaman curry paste joins a Thai red curry paste and Thai green curry paste as part of my homemade offerings.

Massaman paste has all of the usual ingredients expected of Thai food, lemongrass, chilli, garlic and lime leaves.

But there is so much more, there is an earthiness and fragrant spiciness that make me go weak at the knees!

Flavours like mace, cloves, cumin and coriander really do make this curry sing and are a result of influences from Persia, the Malay peninsular and the Indian sub-continent.

Overhead close-up spicy Thai beef massaman curry with potatoes, shallots and peanuts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will this last after it has been made?

It will last for a week to 10 days in the fridge, but if you are planning to keep it for longer than a couple of days put it in a jar and cover it with enough oil to submerge the paste.

The oil is great for starting off a massaman curry!

Can I freeze this curry paste?

Yes, Thai curry pastes freeze perfectly. I tend to freeze them in ice cube trays and then pop them out into a bag.

You can use the pastes straight from the freezer too!

Can I make any substitutions?

Yes, of course!

I would not omit the mace, coriander, cumin, cloves and cardamom because they really are defining flavours as far as I am concerned.

But you can play with lemongrass paste rather than fresh lemon grass, onions instead of shallots and if you struggle to get lime leaves just increase the amount of lime zest that you use.

Why do you transfer the paste to a pestle and mortar after blending?

I do this in order to bruise the ingredients, blenders tend to chop rather than bash and bruise. Bruising releases more oils and unlocks an extra level of flavour.

Is this vegan or vegetarian?

My version of massaman curry paste is vegan as as a result vegetarian too. Some iterations use shrimp paste, which is wonderful, but I choose not to use it in my recipes.

Overhead vegan satay sweet potato curry with a coconut milk sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Of course, the obvious dish that uses Thai massaman curry paste is the glorious slow-cooked beef massaman curry.

However, I also have a couple of quick cook massaman recipes, a stunning prawn massaman curry and a delicious vegan massaman curry with tofu.

It also features in my vegan Thai satay sweet potato curry.

Other wonderful ideas include this wonderful duck massaman curry and Lamb Massaman Curry!

Portrait overhead image of a Thai Prawn Massaman Curry with potatoes and green beans served in a white bowl

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Mini blender and or pestle & mortar.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Kettle to boil water to soak the chilli peppers.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Citrus zester.
Square image of a homemade massaman curry paste surrounded by ingredients
Yield: 8 Portions of Curry

Thai Massaman Curry Paste Recipe

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.


  • 5 Dried Medium Sized Chilli Peppers
  • 2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Blade Mace
  • 6 Cloves
  • 4 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 10 Garlic Cloves
  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Shallots
  • 15g (Half of a Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
  • 6 Red Thai Birds Eye Chilli Peppers
  • 6 Lime Leaves
  • 2 Lemongrass Stalks
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • Zest of two Limes


  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. Remove the stems from the lime leaves and discard them and toss the leaves into the blender.
  6. Take the tops off the bird's eye chillies and add them too.
  7. Chop and add in the lemongrass stalks, salt, and lime zest.
  8. Remove the dried chillies from the water and add to the blender and blitz.
  9. The final step is optional but really helps create a smooth paste and better curry!
  10. Turn the paste out into a pestle and mortar and pound the snot out of it until you get a really smooth paste!


This amount of curry paste (around 200g) will make around 8 portions of massaman curry in most of my recipes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 64Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 782mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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