November 2, 2009

Thai Vegetable Massaman Curry and my Brain (heh)

massaman curry

Yeah, so here’s where I go on and on about how much I love Thai food again. This time I’m bringing to you my version of Massaman curry. It is a popular dish in many Thai restaurants (I should know- I’ve been to way too many!) which I believe was created by Thai Muslims (hence the name ‘massaman’). The combination of spices in this dish just screams “ASIA!” in you face. It really is fantastic.

You can buy Massaman curry paste ready made if you do not have the time to make your own (c’mon don’t be a food snob; there’s nothing wrong with buying it from the shop!) This dish is great with tofu (yes, my favourite thing in the world- not including humans and animals- but not to eat). Okay I could have written that sentence better but I’m gonna leave it there just to show you how strange and awkward my thought processes are. What I meant to say was, “This dish is great with tofu which is my favourite thing in the world aside from people and animals because as you know, I’m vegetarian so I’ve gotta love all mammals, right?”

Hang on, are people ‘things?’ Are animals ‘things?’ Vegetables aren’t mammals and I love those too. What does all of this mean???
Omg, my brain has turned to a molten slop of goo as a result of doing a university dissertation assignment all day. Damn bibliography. *glare*


Maybe I need something to eat? Or a Jacuzzi? Just to calm my mind.

Here’s the recipe guys, please find some comfort in this great Autumn dish. I serve mine with jasmine rice (which is awesome). And remember, you can use whichever veggies you like. Please don’t feel compelled to stick to what I’ve put in- the world is your oyster. Or should I say coconut? *uhh now I’ve gone cross-eyed*


For the Curry Paste

Grind together:

1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp ginger
3 chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp coriander seeds
¼ cup water or coconut milk

massaman curry paste ingredients

Grind us up, please!

For the Curry

1 sweet potato, cubed and cooked (I microwaved mine)
100g green beans (French beans), trimmed and cut in half
100g spinach, washed
1 small potato, cubed and cooked (again, I microwaved)
50g mushrooms, wiped and quartered
1 cup firm tofu, deep fried
1 onion, sliced lengthways
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 star anise (or 2 tsp star anise powder)
100g chickpeas (garbanzo beans- I used tinned)
4 tbsp peanut butter (yeah, I’m a total cheat- use ground peanuts if you like)
2 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
500ml coconut milk
1 to 2 tbsp sugar (sweet is goooooood!)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp tamarind juice
1 tbsp maggi liquid seasoning (ehehehe… shh, don’t tell anyone!)
Salt to taste

massaman curry veggies


1. Grind up all the ingredients for the curry paste.

2. Heat the oil in a wok, add the curry paste and cook this on a medium heat until aromatic and when the oil separates from the paste. Add the peanut butter. Keep stirring and don’t let it burn.

3. Add the coconut milk, star anise, ground cumin, cardamom powder, sesame oil, dark soy sauce, sugar, maggi seasoning, salt, tamarind juice. Allow to simmer until it becomes a little thicker.

4. Add the tofu, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, onions and chickpeas. Simmer for five minutes. If your mixture becomes too thick just thin it out using a little water.

5. Add the spinach and turn the heat off. It will cook perfectly in the heat of the curry.

6. Remove the whole star anise before serving. Enjoy with beautiful Thai jasmine rice.

Epic fail on the chit chat front today, I know. Hope the recipe makes up for it!

Did you make this?

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20 responses to “Thai Vegetable Massaman Curry and my Brain (heh)”

  1. Nandini says:

    *sneezing and coughing terribly* You know how much I love Thai foods! I can solidify your brain again! XD Anyways, that massaman curry looks nice and droolworthy! So appetizing and palatable!

  2. MaryMoh says:

    mmm….I love Thai food. Just the mention of it makes me drool. I think I have fallen deeply in love with it. I have just cooked Pumpkin, Prawns and Coconut Soup, Thai style, but so sorry not for you as it's not vegetarian. You can use tofu though. Will be posted tomorrow. Love your recipe here. I can eat a whole pot. Cooking is an awesome way to de-stress 🙂

  3. Rohini says:

    Was searching for perfect thai curry as this is one cuisine I havent ventured much. Will try it soon and link back to you! Hope you dont mind!

    BTW, your write-up and one-liners left my funny-bones tickled!! As always!! 😀

  4. Divina Pe says:

    This is an awesome vegetarian dish. And I'll people about the maggi seasoning. :D. I love Thai food too and the use of different spices. Love it.

  5. Sanjana says:

    Nandini- Haha please solidify my brain, please! Glad you liked the recipe! 😀

    Mary- Aww, I'm glad you like thai food so much too (hehe now I'm not the only one!) Your dish sounds fantastic if I could replace the prawns with tofu. I look forward to reading it! I do love pumpkin! Oh and I know, cooking is probably the only thing that takes my mind away from stressful goings on!

    Rohini- I hope it's the perfect one for you! It is really yummy and good for someone used to East Asian spices (like I once was too!) to make the transition from loving the curries they ate growing up, to equally enjoying the curries South East Asia have to offer. Please do try it and of course I do not mind if you link back, I would really be honoured if you did.

    Divina- Thank you so much! Hehe, the Maggi seasoning is so taboo yet sooooo good to use when cooking. it's perks just about anything up I think! Thai food is just awesome, huh 😉 Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  6. experimentalculinarypursuits says:

    yum! I love Massaman curry! And yes, I have no shame buying ready made curry paste.

  7. Arti says:

    ooouuhh yummy…someone has a lot on their brain at the moment! …im missing the 'Thai Restuarant' 🙁

  8. laura says:

    sanjana, can't wait to try this! i love massaman curry, had a really good one in a veggie restaurant in cork called cafe paradiso (if you ever find yourself in ireland it's well worth a visit, absolutely brilliant – also the cookbooks by dennis cotter, the owner, are great). will let you know how it goes!

  9. Sushma Mallya says:

    wow so colourful dish,love thai food…looks delicious

  10. Suma Rajesh says:

    i am too a lover of thai cuisine..urs looks soo tempting and mouthwatering curry..

  11. Malar Gandhi says:

    Love thai food, this is very inviting…indeed. nice pictures too.

  12. Stacy says:

    Looks absolutely delicious! And your pictures are gorgeous! I'm craving Thai food!

  13. Mae says:

    I love that this has sweet potato in it. It's beautiful and I really want some… Love the site: gorgeous inspiring colors and recipes!

    Peas Love Carrots

  14. Mae says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog as well. I left a reply, but wanted to make sure I shared this link with you! 🙂

  15. Sanjana says:

    experimentalculinarypursuits- Ahh I'm so happy to hear you buy ready made Thai curry pastes too! Now I know I'm not the only one!

    Arti- Haha my brain hurts 🙁 Save me! I know you miss the Thai restaurant! Come up to visit!!!

    Laura- So glad you're going to try it! The place in Ireland sounds amazing (I just wish I would wake up and find myself in Cork…) I'll have a google on Amazon and see if I can find any books by him! Please do let me know how the curry goes!

    Sushma- Thank you so much, Thai food is super addictive!

    Suma- Thank you for your lovely comment! Loving your blog too!

    Malar- Thanks so much, really enjoying the recipes on your blog too!

    Stacy- So nice of you to say so! I'm loving the pumpkin and ginger butter recipe on your blog, I've always wanted to make pumpkin butter!

    Mae- Thanks so much for your sweet comments! 😀 I'm definetly buying a dragon fruit asap! And making 'poor student's ice cream' 😉 Cheers for the link!

  16. Mr. P says:

    You realise, don't you, that massaman is my favourite curry… Along with all my other favourites.

    Looks yum though. And good on you for upping the quality of the UK food blog! 🙂

  17. Sanjana says:

    Mr. P- Massaman is truly an awesome curry which is sometimes totally underrated. Cheers for your comments! I'm on a mission to make that stand out of plates from your blog now, I just hope it doesn't break… 😐

  18. My Little Space says:

    Sanjana, I'll have to say you've a very interesting & lovely blog. All those delicious vegetarian recipes sound really fantastic. Have a great weekend & cheers!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I am still craving for the delicious green Thai curry you served me. I hope to be served again some day.

    saint bapu

  20. Anonymous says:

    Ran a search in google for "vegetarian massaman curry" and stumbled upon your page. This sounds fantastic! I went to lunch today at a restaurant called Thai Basil and suddenly realized how much I've missed curry since leaving London this past summer. I'd had the best curry there, with and without meat but nevertheless… I'm recently vegetarian and always looking for good main dishes like this. Thank you!

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