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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!

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Tuesday 12th of January 2021

Hi Sanjana. I’m thinking of making your massaman curry. How many people does it serve? Also I can’t use Maggie liquid seasoning as my son is coeliac and this contains wheat flour. Could I substitute it with a knorr stock pot instead or anything else you recommend? Many thanks

Bhanu Priya

Friday 27th of September 2019

Thanks for good sharing valuable information


Thursday 7th of October 2010

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!


Saturday 28th of November 2009

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

saint bapu

My Little Space

Saturday 7th of November 2009

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!