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Masaman Curry

Source: Lisa Turner adapted from Thai Vegetarian Cooking

  • 6 tablespoon Sesame Oil

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 lemon (juice)

  • 2 large schallots chopped

  • 1 cup potato diced

  • 2 tablespoon masaman curry paste

  • 1 can 15 oz coconut milk

  • 1 lb tofu (FTS style) diced

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice Optional

  • 1 cinnamon stick Optional

  • 2/3 cup cashew Optional

  • 2 pinches cardamom Optional

  • 2 leaves bay leaf Optional

Peel and cut up potatoes into big chunks, 1" x 1" x 1". Cut up tofu and onion into the same size.

Heat coconut milk and masaman curry paste in a pot over medium to low heat and stir. Break up the paste and mix well with coconut milk. Stir constantly to keep the mixture from sticking. When you see the red oil bubbling up (about 5 minutes), add the tofu and stir to cover it with curry. Add half a cup of water or enough cover all the tofu. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for potatoes, onion and cashew. Simmer for 10 minutes then add potatoes, onion and cashews. Let simmer for 20 minutes more. The liquid should be reduced and you should be able to see some chunks. But, if the liquid is very low, add more water.

Serve with cucumber in vinegar.

Serve hot with cold cucumber in vinegar

Tips and substitutions

Masaman tastes great if you let it sit overnight so that the spices penetrate the tofu and potatoes. I find that the tastes just don't come together until the next day.

I usually make enough masaman to have for days.

*We used firm tofu instead of paneer cheese.

**You can make your own Massaman Curry Paste. However, Shakta found a vegetarian Massaman Curry paste pre-made on-line. The brand name is ‘Maesri.’ You can find ‘Maesri Masaman Curry Paste’ on Amazon.

***Shakta also added pea pods, diced carrots, tomatoes, broccoli and sweet potato. Any non-leafy veggies would work. Also, if you’re not a fan of cashews in your curry try topping the dish with roasted peanuts right before serving instead!

Masaman Curry Paste (if you cannot find pre-made mix)

  • 10 or less! red chili peppers dried

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 2 each cardamom pods

  • 3 each cloves

  • 6 tablespoons garlic chopped

  • 4 tablespoons shallots chopped

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 10 each peppercorns

  • 2 tablespoons lemon grass chopped

  • 1 teaspoon galangal chopped

  • 1 teaspoon bergamot skin

  • 1 teaspoon coriander root chopped

  • 1 cup palm sugar

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 4 tablespoons tamarind juice


Coarsely chop the chilies and soak in water for 10 minutes. Drain.

Dry-fry the cumin and coriander seeds, cardamom pods and cloves over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes until they are aromatic and slightly browned.

Saute the chilies, garlic and shallots in the oil until lightly browned.

Pound in the following order: a) garlic, shallots and chilies; b) coriander, cardamom pods, cumin, cloves and peppercorns; c) lemon grass, galangal, bergamot, coriander roots.

Mix all the above ingredients plus the sugar, salt and tamarind juice to form a fine paste.