Massaman Curry

I don’t think my meal preparation qualifies as cooking, from a hardcore Lao or Thai cooking expert standard anyway, but looks can be deceiving.

I’ve been very fortunate this summer to have fresh herbs in my garden and I’ve been cooking with it almost daily.

One of my favorite Thai dishes is Spicy Thai Curry soup, this is what I often order if I go to a Thai restaurant, and I’ve been trying to make my own version ever since, but nothing that I did came close to it.ย  My GI Joe sister then told me about the soup broth in a can imported from Thailand, and I tried several versions and my favorite one is Massaman Curry soup, you can find this in any Asian Market.ย  I use soy milk as a coconut substitute, and add fish sauce for taste.

I like chicken breast best, but you can substitute this with pork, meat or seafood.

Heat up the pan with butter, put in the herbs and sliced chicken breast.

After cooking chicken for about 2 minutes, it should look about done, then add the Massaman Curry and soy milk.

When the soup comes to a boiling, put in basil and turn off the stove, it’s done.

This is something simple that I like to do, it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare.


    • Dallas, I think the vanilla flavor is what made it tastes like coconut milk, this one is extra sweet, the only kind that Lee would drink and I use it a lot in my cooking, even made a spaghetti sauce for her with this, mix with butter and salt. Good with coffee also, and if you drink tea with milk like the Chinese, then this is perfect with tea. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. It’s true, photos can be a bit deceiving esp when it comes to ordering FOOD unless you have already tasted it yourself. Yet, presentation is very much what I like in a food, and Asian delicacies are so good at that. Whoever thinks that a chili and the herbs make a perfect garnish out of your food?

    I thought the first photo was a fish soup. So of course it’s pretty spicy and I soooo love your cooking here, very authentic. Herbs from your garden? Wow, that’s so appetizing. Does it tastes like the popular thai soup, tom yums?

    Recipe pls.

    • Hi K, it’s not in the same family as the Tom Yums, but this one has a thicker paste soup broth. It comes in the Red, Green, or Massaman curry flavor. The Massaman Curry is very much like the Red Curry, but it’s a bit thicker paste soup broth.

      Ingredients: 1 Massaman Curry soup broth can, see picture here, this one is Massaman Curry, but they also come in Red Curry and Green Curry. Then the herbs: chili pepper, basil, lemongrass, Kaffir Lime leaves from my garden, I didn’t have Thai eggplants, but I had them over the summer and it was good with this soup. I used vanilla soy milk, this one is extra sweet, and use it as a coconut substitute, but you can use the real coconut milk also, I think it’d taste better with coconut milk. After it’s completely done, then add fish sauce for taste, but make sure you taste it first, you might find that you do not need fish sauce at all.

  2. Nye, I never use massaman curry bye Aroy-D. I have always use CHAOKOH coconut milk and it is not too bad. Your dish looks great and makes me hungry by looking at all those pictures.

    • Hi seeharhed, I don’t know if CHAOKOH make curry soup broth, only heard of the coconut milk. This would be great for a single guy, what I made was a serving for 4 people, so it’s not bad. You should give it a try, I think you’ll like it. But some people don’t like the Massaman Curry, you might want to try the Red Curry, the Green Curry looks a bit odd to me, but it tastes good also, if you can get pass the green looking soup, then you’ll be fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Nye, I usually cook for serving 3 or 4 people, this way I can have some next day lunch. Plus, I try to avoid cooking every night:-). I’ve been eating pretty good lately and trying to eat healthier too. So far I’m doing okay and staying away from instant noodles. LOL!!

        I have to give Massaman Curry a try and I’ll let you know. Plus, I only know how to cook few thai dishes anyway. The Thai chef from NC taught me how to cook them. I need to go hang out with Mom for the weekend and watch her cook some lao dishes.

        • seeharhed, my oldest sister would make a big pot and freeze them, she has a busy schedule and doesn’t have much time for cooking. I always have some left over for lunch or dinner the next day, and when I reheat the soup, I always add more fresh basil, and lots of it.

  3. Any reason you used the ‘soy milk’ and not regular cow milk? The vanilla flavor from the soy milk ruined the dish for me last time I made one…I can taste the vanilla.

    And I love fresh basil in this dish, I add it like crazy. Of course I make it in bulk and freeze it up for work, etc. The green pepper can be added in plenty and cook along, great taste for those who want it HOT!!

    • PaNoy, I can’t drink cow milk, I’m lactose torrents and we only have soy milk at home, this is the kind that Lee drinks and it’s extra thick and sweet, I think it’s the closest to the coconut milk, more so than the regular milk.

      Bo complains if I make it too hot, he can’t eat spicy, so I normally put the pepper whole in the soup, but he still ended up eating one or two, just his luck I think. The basil grows real fast, I’m thinking about bring it indoor this winter, I hope it’ll survive.

  4. This dish looks really good! This is the first time I’ve heard of this type of curry. I’ve only had green, red, or yellow curry. And it’s all very good.

    But I can’t imagine how curry would taste minus the coconut milk. I will have to try out your recipe one day and see for myself. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Cambree, the Massaman Curry is thicker and they put cubes of pumpkin in there also. I hardly buy coconut milk, my mom used the real coconut when I was growing up and we always had to fight for the coconut juice, it’s not a lot to go around. ๐Ÿ™‚ My mom grated the coconut and added a pinch of salt and squeezed out the coconut milk, this is better than the can kind, no preservative added.

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