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Easy Thai Lamb Massaman Curry

Lamb massaman curry is a wonderfully easy & delicious slow-cooked curry, my version features potatoes, shallots, peanuts, mint & Thai basil.

This recipe takes a while to cook but it is straightforward, there is no searing or sauteeing, it’s a simple matter of preparing ingredients and throwing them in the pan in the correct order!

Overhead slow-cooked Thai lamb massaman curry with potatoes, shallots and peanuts.

Slow-Cooked One-Pot Thai Massaman Curry

Lamb is a meat that is not often associated with Thai cuisine, but it is much favoured by Muslim communities in the south of the country.

Now lamb is my favourite meat and massaman curry is my favourite Thai curry, as a result, this combination is my idea of a match made in heaven!

This recipe joins two quicker versions of the dish in the shape of a vegan tofu massaman curry and a prawn massaman curry.

I also have a much more classic beef massaman curry that is slowly cooked and this recipe shares its technique.

However as it is lamb, I have changed the flaovur profiles a little in terms of the balance of sugar, fish sauce and tamarind.

I’ve also moved from coriander as the herby aspect of this dish to mint and Thai basil because mint and lamb are heavenly together!

This is a simple dish to cook with the most time-consuming process being the tedium of peeling shallots.

Other than that you just need to return to the pot a few times to throw additional items in and drink in the aroma!

Close-up shallot in a Thai lamb massaman curry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What cut of lamb do you use?

I usually use diced boneless lamb shoulder and this is what the recipe timings are based on.

If you can get mutton feel free to use that but the initial cooking time should be increased from 90 minutes to at least 2 hours if you use mutton.

What brand of massaman curry paste do you use?

I like to make my own curry pastes and my Massaman Curry Paste Recipe is superb, but I would say that right?

They do take a little time to make and can be more expensive to make than store-bought varieties. The upside is an incredible vibrancy in taste and flavour.

If I am buying paste then I use either Maesri or Lobo brand.

Can I use any type of potato?

Yes, use anything you like! I use baby new potatoes in my beef massaman curry and here I use some floury potatoes.

If you are using floury potatoes you need to be careful not to overcook them or they break down and turn to mush.

Can I cook this in a slow cooker or Instant Pot?

I have not been happy with any of my slow cooker experiments for this dish however, the Instant Pot has been a slightly happier hunting ground.

Set the IP to saute mode and boil the milk and curry paste until it splits. Then add the lamb and water, then cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.

Release the pressure, add the remaining ingredients other than the herbs and cook for 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally and add the herbs and lime juice before serving.

Slow-cooked Thai lamb massaman curry with potatoes, shallots and peanuts.

Serving Suggestions

I consider this lamb massaman curry to be a perfect one-bowl dinner! It has meat and potatoes, shallots and peanuts all wrapped up in a delicious sauce.

If you want to add a little extra then rice is a great option. Plain steamed jasmine rice would be my first choice but a nice coconut rice would work equally well.

For extra veggies, you could add some green beans, sugar snap peas or mangetout to the curry for the last 2-3 minutes. You could also add something like this garlic and chilli pak choi on the side.

If you want a glorious garnish that adds to the dish then consider frying up some crispy onions!

Close-up Thai lamb massaman curry with potatoes, shallots and peanuts.

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.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan with a lid.
  • Fine mesh sieve.
  • Small mixing bowl to soak the tamarind.
  • Fork and spoon for mashing and passing the tamarind.
  • Kettle to boil the water for the tamarind
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Thai lamb massaman curry with potatoes, shallots and peanuts.
Yield: 2 Servings

Thai Lamb Massaman Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

A delicious one-pot slow-cooked Thai lamb massaman curry loaded with potatoes, shallots and peanuts that gets fragrant herby tones from mint and Thai basil.


  • 300g (11oz) Diced Lamb Shoulder
  • 200ml (⅔ Cup + 2 Tbsp) Coconut Milk
  • 100g (¼ Cup + 2 Tbsp) Massaman Curry Paste
  • ½ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 6 Cardamom Pods
  • 10cm (4") Cassia Bark
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Water
  • 35g (25mm or 1" Cube) Tamarind Paste
  • 35ml (2 Tbsp) Boiling Water
  • 200g (1 Cup) Potatoes
  • 125g (8-10) Small Shallots
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Toasted Peanuts
  • 2 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • Fresh Mint
  • Fresh Thai Basil
  • 1 Lime


  1. Heat a 20cm or 8" saucepan over a medium-high heat and pour in the coconut milk, then bring it to a boil.
  2. Stir in the massaman curry paste and when it returns to a boil reduce the heat to medium or until eh coconut milk reduces to a simmer. Stir and cook until the oil begins to separate on top of the sauce.
  3. Throw in the lamb shoulder, star anise, cardamom, cassia bark and water, reduce the heat to low, add a lid and cook gently for 90 minutes.
  4. After the lamb has been simmering for 75 minutes, pour the boiling water over the tamarind pulp, give it a gentle mash and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Then pass the tamarind through a fine mesh sieve.
  5. Whilst the tamarind is soaking peel the potatoes and cut them into a bite-sized 20-25mm (¾-1") dice.
  6. Trim up the furry ends of the shallots and peel them.
  7. After the lamb has had 90 minutes, remove the lid and add the tamarind, potatoes, shallots, brown sugar, fish sauce and toasted peanuts (keep a tablespoon of the peanuts back for garnish later). Give everything a stir, turn the heat up to medium, return the lid and cook for another 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.
  8. Whilst the curry is cooking, shred the Thai basil and finely chop the mint.
  9. When the potatoes are cooked remove the lid and stir in the Thai basil and mint (keeping a little back for garnish).
  10. Have a taste and squeeze in lime juice to your liking and serve with the reserved herbs and peanuts.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 977Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 178mgSodium: 2517mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 9gSugar: 27gProtein: 69g

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

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