Warm spices of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg add a hint of sweetness to this spicy vegan Massaman curry with peanuts, potatoes, and cardamom.
massaman curry with peanuts, potatoes, and cardamom

Call me a creature of habit (I am), but at Thai restaurants I always order the red curry.

Alllllwwwaaayyysss the red curry.

It’s kind of my thing.


Can you blame me though? It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it lingers on your tongue and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside…it’s one of my spirit foods. I’m sure of it.

But today we’re not talking about the red curry.

Because the thing is, when you order the same curry Every.Single.Time…you only get to taste the same curry

Every. Single. Time.


We have to branch out! Live life! Eat all the things! Taste all the flavors!

Now before you think I actually went into a Thai restaurant and ordered something other than the red curry (let’s not get too crazy now)…I have to tell you I did the next best thing.

I made it myself. Curry paste and all.



When this ludicrous curry-paste-from-scratch thought first entered my head, I had a similar reaction. I was convinced I was going to have to dedicate a whole precious Sunday to hopping from specialty store to specialty store to find ingredients, and doesn’t that warrant some kind of ungodly shriek?

(It does. It really does.)

But it doesn’t to be that way!  Apparently. And this curry paste proves it.

The hardest-to-find ingredient is probably the lemongrass, but most grocery stores carry it now and if they don’t have the fresh stuff, they probably have it in a jar in the International food aisle. Use whatever’s easiest to find – I won’t tell. Aside from that, the hardest part is running around your kitchen actually gathering the ingredients, but from there it’s smooth sailing. Just throw them into a food processor and press GO.

Really. It’s that easy.


What sets Massaman curry apart from red or green curry is that it’s infused with all sorts of warm spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom, which impart a hint of sweetness to this otherwise spicy dish. It is thought that the addition of these flavors comes from Muslim influence in the southern part of Thailand.

In Thai restaurants, this curry is usually served over rice with potatoes and peanuts. Always daring to be different, I threw it over some farro (I think we were out of rice –> #FOODBLOGGERFAIL) and added some tofu and sweet potato into this slurpable mix.

Honestly, I can’t really tell you how this compares to what you get at your local takeout joint, seeing as how I’ve never had it from my local takeout joint (see my ode to red curry above), but I can assure you that it was GOOD.

I-refused-to-share-my-lunch-leftovers good.

I-may-never-order-red-curry-again-because-I’m-too-busy-making-Massaman-curry-at-home good.

That good.

Massaman Curry with Peanuts, Potatoes, and Cardamom
Warm spices of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg add a hint of sweetness to this spicy Massaman curry with peanuts, potatoes, and cardamom.
Yield: 4 servings
For the Massaman curry paste
  • 15 dried red finger-length chiles, such as chiles de arbol
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped shallots
  • 8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
For the curry
  • 14 oz coconut milk, divided
  • 2 tbsp Massaman curry paste, or to taste
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  1. To make the curry paste, stem the chiles and shake out as many of the seeds as possible. Break the chiles into large pieces and soak in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small dry skillet, fry the coriander and cumin seeds over medium heat, until darkened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add to a spice grinder along with the peppercorns and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
  3. For the lemongrass, trim away and discard any root section below the bulb and cut away the top, leaving a stalk about 6 inches long. Remove any dried or yellowed leaves. Finely chop the stalk.
  4. In a food processor or blender, combine the chiles, lemongrass, ground spices, cilantro, shallots, garlic ginger, lime zest, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Grind to a smooth puree, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary and adding up to 2 tbsp of water to move the blades. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up a month until ready to use.
  5. To make the curry, shake the coconut milk can well. Add ⅓ cup of the coconut milk to a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook until thickened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in the curry paste and cook, stirring to soften the paste and combine with the coconut milk, for 3 minutes. Add in the tofu and onion. Stir to coat with curry paste. Add in the remaining coconut milk, potatoes, vegetable broth, sugar, soy sauce, and salt. Put the cardamom pods in the center of a coffee filter and tie shut to form a small sack using a rubber band. Put in the saucepan. Bring to an active boil. Lower heat to a simmer and then cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Add in the peanuts and stir gently. Season to taste with salt or more curry paste.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼th of recipe

 More Thai curries:

thai penang vegetable curry

Thai Penang Vegetable Curry

golden thai curry with green beans

Golden Thai Curry with Green Beans

thai green curry burritos

Thai Green Curry Burritos

From Around the Web:

Thai Kabocha Squash Curry from Oh My Veggies

Eggplant and Chickpea Coconut Curry from The Flourishing Foodie

Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Chowder from Veggie and the Beast

Thai Massaman Butternut Burgers from Connoisseurus Veg

Red Thai Curry Noodle Soup from Amuse Your Bouche


massaman curry with potatoes, peanuts, and cardamom
Share →

37 Responses to Massaman Curry with Peanuts, Potatoes, and Cardamom

  1. Beth says:

    I’m in the same kind of rut at my local Thai restaurant. Great idea to break out of that rut by making it at home!

  2. Johanna GGG says:

    wow that looks great – though my knees get all wobbly at seeing 15 chillis – had to check you didn’t use the whole lot of paste in one batch of curry – that would be super hot – and potatoes and peanuts are such great comfort food – so I am in (wish I had a regular thai takeaway place that I loved)

  3. Curry paste from scratch? RESPECT! 😀

  4. SallyBR says:

    Methinks your facing the curry paste adventure has to do with that Whole Foods in the vicinity of your home…. am I right?

    I’ve never been that brave but flirted with the idea of doing it – the problem is finding ways to use the paste after, I tend to forget and ignore it and next thing I know it’s a big waste of ingredients. I should get better at this….

    beautiful recipe!

  5. Barbara says:

    Great to have your recipe for curry paste, Joanne. Looks wonderful. I am so impressed.
    Lovely looking dish with two kinds of potatoes and tofu!

  6. oh my gawd, woman!!! I LOVE THIS!!!! that Massaman curry paste?!!! oh my gawd, can’t wait to try this!!! WOWZA! looks so good!

  7. Lisa says:

    Red curry paste is my favorite too and I always make my own. It really isn’t too complicated at all. Next to Indian, Thai food is probably my next favorite. Lovely dish that I would be sure to enjoy.

  8. My favourite Thai restaurant does the BEST massaman curry. For some reason, I have never tried making it myself. This recipe looks simple enjoy, so I’m going to give it a try.

  9. Kinsey says:

    Yum! I love, love, love making thai curries at home, but I normally just use my beloved Thai Kitchen red curry paste. Looks like it’s time to branch out a little bit!

  10. Deena Kakaya says:

    One of my absolute faves! Except yours looks much more colourful x

  11. Joanne – this sounds fantastic – and looks way better than the restaurant stuff – I must admit I have never had curry with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg listed all together – I am so intrigued!

  12. I’m all for warm and fuzzies on the inside. I’m kind of obsessed with nuts on savory meals lately. Like all the time, so you’ve convinced me for several reasons to make this dish.

  13. I never made Masseman Curry, have had red curry paste. I need to try this one! I loooove all the spices! Spring is coming!

  14. I am sooo giddy to try your massamam curry paste! I always buy the paste because I’m too lazy to figure out how to do it on my own. I feel like as a food blogger, I should make a vague attempt at trying it on my own! And the whole curry over farro thing? I’ve tried it before too…it just doesn’t feel right without a big bowl of rice to pour the sauce on!

  15. I alternate red and green curries regularly – have never tried massaman!

  16. That Massaman curry paste sounds like a straight up DREAM! Totally want this now, but I’m definitely saving it for the weekend!! This body needs more curry.

  17. Oh yummy, I don’t think I’ve ever had a massaman curry…all those warming spices sound wonderful. Although, I admit to leaning towards red most times, myself – I’m definitely up for trying this!

  18. I’ve never had red curry or massaman curry! I need to start living!

  19. Courtney says:

    This looks so good! I think I’ve only ever had green curry, but this sounds like something I would love. I totally need to try it to find out!

  20. Oddly enough, I often order massaman curry! Although I do branch out on occasion that one is my go-to. So I am super excited to try this!

  21. Mmmm – I love Massaman curry and making my own curry pastes and blends – they taste so much better then bought and yours looks fantastic – Joanne.

  22. I have never had Massaman curry..Can’t wait to make this!!

  23. Danguole says:

    I’m swooning! I think I have had this before, but can’t remember the name. It’s amazing–and I’m a red curry girl too!

  24. Oh my goodness, this looks so good! I have got to say, when I go to a Thai restaurant I always get something different… and yet I don’t think I have tried red curry! I should try next time. Or make this curry instead. I don’t think I’d WANT to try red curry after this!

  25. Mmm, those big chunks of tofu make this dish look so ‘meaty.’ MOVE ASIDE CHEESEBURGERS and make room for Massaman Curry!

  26. The potatoes soaked in peanutty gravy are always my favourite bit of a Massaman curry anyway, so leaving the meat out sounds ideal to me!

  27. Lily Lau says:

    You’re such an artist, Joanne! Love this creation, but I don’t know if I’d dare to prepare it, yours look perfect!

  28. Brian says:

    I always go for the curry that has coconut milk, but I do agree that it needs to have a bit of heat. This looks especially wonderful seeing how cold it is out! Ugh! Will it please be spring already?!?!

  29. This is such a lovely curry Joanne that I’ve only ever had home made as well 🙂

  30. Girl, you’re killing me with these thai tofu recipes (my fave comfort food right now!) I’m legit still planning on making your green curry burritos (but like, NO TIME, you feel me?) and now there’s another one that I’m dying to devour? Spare me 🙂 This looks amazing of course, pinning!

  31. Christine says:

    This is so funny…I was just looking at some recipes for making Massaman curry a few days ago. Ran across it while looking up curry dishes. But as you said, looked at the long list of ingredients and set the idea aside. I may have to reconsider this based on the gorgeous photos of your dish!

  32. Eileen says:

    Hooray for curry! I definitely like red curry, but green and panang are my usual go-tos when we go out. Oh, and prik khing. And pad kee mao. And fresh summer rolls with mint. And pretty much anything else on the menu. I may have a problem with Thai food, is what I’m saying. 🙂 This sounds delicious and fresh! Love the idea of making curry paste from scratch.

  33. Katie says:

    massaman is the curry I order every time I go to a thai restaurant! xx

  34. Sarah says:

    Can’t believe you did the DIY curry paste thing. You go girl!!

  35. Kate says:

    I always get the green curry!

  36. […] Un curry aux saveurs indiennes qui me donne drôlement faim! […]

  37. Sanjay says:

    This was very good – ended up freezing 10 extra tablespoons of the paste (5 more curries!).

    I would highly suggest adding Tamarind (about 2 tablespoons) to get the real deep flavour of Massaman. I also doubled the soy sauce (1 teaspoon). Other than that this was perfect! An excellent vegan alternative to the classic dish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.