Chris Cooks

How to Make the Best Thai Massaman Curry

February 25, 2024

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Let’s address the elephant in the room – no, I am not from Thailand. I’ve never even been (though it is a dream of mine)! I know that tends to make people feel some kind of way, especially with International cuisine. But I feel that I need to share this authentic Massaman curry recipe anyway, because the woman who taught it to me 15 years ago encouraged me to share it broadly.

The Best Authentic Thai Massaman Curry

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I learned this authentic Massaman curry recipe from a Thai woman I met when I lived in Utah. She ran a small Asian market there and was always so helpful and passionate about wanting everyone to love and appreciate the food of her country. I’ve done my best to stay true to her instruction, making only one adjustment. When cooking with beef or pork, I braise it for 90 minutes first in beef bone broth before beginning the other steps. I do beef stew the same way. I do this for timing, so that the beef is tender but the carrots and potatoes don’t get mushy.

The Best Authentic Thai Massaman Curry
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Everything else is as she wrote it, and it hits every time. If you’re not familiar with Massaman curry, it’s one of the best introductory Thai curries. It has so much depth to it, but isn’t spicy like other curries can be. Massaman curry is perfect for the “in-between-seasons” time as it’s hearty and comforting but fresh and vibrant with flavor.

The Best Authentic Thai Massaman Curry

So if you’re looking for the best authentic Massaman curry recipe, I think you’ll love this one. And though you may not trust me to know the difference, I’m only a messenger for someone who definitely does. And if you are from Thailand, I would love to hear your thoughts on the recipe! Does it seem legitimate to you??

The Best Authentic Thai Massaman Curry
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5 from 2 votes

Authentic Thai Massaman Curry

A recipe given to me by a woman from Thailand I met 15 years ago. I've kept this recipe with me, written down all this time and have made it so much I know it by heart. Never misses.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 8


To Braise the Beef

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp Massaman Curry Paste Mae Ploy brand preferred
  • 2.5 lbs Beef chuck roast fat trimmed, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 cups beef bone broth

For the Curry


Braise the Beef

  • Turn the oven to 325º and place a medium dutch oven (with a lid) on the stove top on medium heat. Heat the coconut oil in the dutch oven for a minute or two then add the curry paste and stir fry until fragrant. Add the beef cubes, stir around to coat evenly in the curry paste and brown slightly. Add the beef stock, stir, turn the temp up and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn off the heat and put the dutch oven in the heated oven for 90 minutes.

Make the Curry

  • Once the beef is done, remove the meat into a bowl and set aside. Put the dutch oven over medium high heat and reduce by about half.
  • While that reduces, heat another large dutch oven (with a lid) on the stove top on medium heat. Add the coconut oil and curry paste and stir fry until fragrant. Add 1/2 can of coconut cream (or coconut milk) and mix to combine. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles red.
  • Add the reduced cooking liquid from the beef, the remaining coconut milk, the braised beef, potatoes, and carrots, and kefir lime leaves to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the temp to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add the fish sauce, sugar, tamarind liquid and peanuts and cook for another 15 minutes. Taste the liquid – if too salty, add water 1/4 cup at a time.


  • Traditionally this is served with rice. My wife can't have grain so we started using a mix of finely chopped cabbage and cauliflower rice, quickly stir fried in a little olive oil with salt and pepper. Because of the potatoes, eating with rice can be a bit heavy so we've come to prefer the cabbage/cauliflower, but a good scoop of jasmine rice is hard to beat with this.
  • Serve in a bowl topped with some chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

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What do you think?

  1. BG says:

    Way too much tamarind concentrate. Before adding the concentrate, it was tasting almost like the restaurant Massaman curry that I love. Maybe you meant to say 3 tsp and not tbsp? Good recipe otherwise, thank you.

  2. Meaghan Pollock says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious! Even our three year old cleared his plate. Added some pineapple to the curry and served over white rice. Will definitely be adding to the rotation!

  3. Gretchen says:

    Looks great! Have you tried making this with fish or shrimp instead of beef?

  4. Christie says:

    Hello, so is it the Lime Massaman Curry Paste. Your link takes me to that with the Lime highlighted. Ty

  5. Jennifer McAllister Berry says:

    5 stars
    Wonderful!!!! Will make again.

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