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Prawn Massaman Curry Quick & Easy

Thai prawn massaman curry is a boldly flavoured quick dinner that tastes like it took way longer than the 25 minutes you spent making it!

The flavours of mace, cardamom, and cloves are not the norm in Thai cuisine but sing gloriously in a classic massaman curry paste.

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

Thai Shrimp Massaman Curry

I love cooking with prawns, in fact, I love cooking with fish and seafood.

This quick fish curry joins my Thai red prawn curry, Thai prawn stir-fry, prawn Panang curry and tom yum soup as prawn recipes with a Thai influence.

I also have a Thai red salmon curry and Thai green cod curry.

Many consider cooking prawns to be a “dark art”. But they really are simple to cook with and the secret is speed!

This easy massaman curry cooks in under half an hour and the shrimp cook for just 5 minutes!

As I mentioned in my Thai beef massaman curry recipe, the massaman is an outlier in Thai food.

The flavours of mace, cardamom, and cloves are atypical but add a glorious flavour.

When combined with the classic sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavours of Thai food something special happens!

If you want other variants, be sure to check out my vegan tofu massaman curry and Thai Lamb Massaman Curry if you want something the same but different check out my satay sweet potato curry, it also uses massaman curry paste as the base!

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use store-bought or homemade curry paste?

I love making curry pastes and homemade Thai massaman curry paste is one that is easy to make and tastes exceptional.

But I know we ain’t all like me and I have been putting in some leg work on store-bought pastes. I am good to you I know!

My two favourite varieties are Lobo and Maesri. Lobo comes in a 50g packet which is perfect for cooking for two. Maesri in a 125g tin, but it does freeze well.

What size prawns should I use?

I like to go large in this recipe! I use size 16-20 which refers to the number of prawns you get per pound.

Are frozen prawns ok?

Most definitely! There ain’t exactly a wild trade in fresh prawns here in rural Hungary.

But I always ensure that I defrost before I start to cook, you can do this quickly by running them under cold water for 5-6 minutes.

Can I use pre-blanched or cooked prawns?

Yes, but cook them for less time. In fact, you don’t need to cook them, you just need to heat them through, so throw them in for the last 2 minutes.

Can I use other vegetables?

Of course, I like potatoes in my Massaman curries, you can swap them out for sweet potatoes if you want.

But if speed is your priority how about using broccoli or cauliflower?

They will not even need blanching, just make up the base of the curry and add them in, cook for 5-7 minutes then add the prawns for the last 5 minutes.

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

Serving Suggestions

I’d say just add rice and if you can’t be bothered to do that increase the vegetables and you have a complete meal.

There are however a few garnishes that would work well with this recipe.

You could add some sliced chillies if you want to go hotter. A little coriander and maybe sliced green onion.

If you wanted something a little more then these crispy fried onions would make a fantastic garnish!

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

Equipment Used

I only mention specific 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.

  • Stovetop.
  • Wok.
  • Saucepan for cooking potatoes, use something around 15-18cm or 6-7″.
  • Small mixing bowl.
  • Fine mesh sieve.
  • Kettle to boil water for soaking the tamarind.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Square image of a Thai Prawn Massaman Curry with potatoes and green beans served in a white bowl
Yield: 2 Servings

Prawn Massaman Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This Thai prawn or shrimp massaman curry, is hot, sour, sweet and salty and chock full of big bold flavours, no one will believe it took you less than half an hour to make it!


  • 350g (12 oz) Large Prawns
  • 125g (1 Cup) Potatoes
  • 35g (Approx 1" or 25mm Cube) Tamarind Pulp
  • 100g (2/3 Cup) Green Beans
  • 75g (½ Cup) Onion
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Massaman Curry Paste
  • 165ml (~⅔ Cup) Tin Coconut Milk
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon
  • 2 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Cashew Nuts
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Chicken Stock
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Tbsp Oil


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 2-2.5cm (¾-1") cubes and cook for 15 minutes in boiling water until just cooked.
  2. Pour 35ml (2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) of boiling water over the tamarind paste and allow to sit for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Then pass the soaked tamarind through a fine-mesh sieve.
  3. Remove the heads and shells from the prawns and devein them if necessary.
  4. Cut the green beans into 3-4 cm (1½-1¾") lengths.
  5. Cut the onion in half then peel and slice it into 2-3mm (⅛") thick half-moon shapes.
  6. Heat a wok over a medium-high heat and add in the cardamom pod, cinnamon, and star anise and toast for 60 seconds.
  7. Add the oil and the onion and stir fry for 2 minutes
  8. Add the massaman curry paste and fry off for 60 seconds.
  9. Pour in the stock, fish sauce, brown sugar, and add the coconut milk, then stir to form a sauce.
  10. Add the tamarind pulp and prawns and cook for 3 minutes.
  11. Throw in the potatoes, green beans, and cashew nuts then heat through for another 2 minutes.
  12. Now is a good time to taste and add more fish sauce if you need salt.
  13. Serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze in at the table.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 781Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 379mgSodium: 3496mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 6gSugar: 20gProtein: 54g

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!


Sunday 10th of July 2022

Really did not enjoy this. Overwhelming sweet taste of the tamarind.

Brian Jones

Monday 11th of July 2022

We all like different flavour constructs, however, I am a little lost because tamarind does not have a sweet taste, it is sour and earthy. Are you sure that you did not use a tamarind sauce or chutney?

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