At the base of nearly every delicious curry is a great curry paste. This authentic massaman curry paste has such great depth of flavor, you'll never go back to store bought!
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When I shared my beef massaman curry (slow cooker) a while back, I intended to share this curry paste soon after, but somehow it didn't quite happen. My bad. However it's now time to set that straight!
I will be honest, this massaman curry paste comes with two warnings:
- It does take a little bit of time to make, but it's time well spent and everything is easy.
- You may never go back to store bought after trying this homemade curry paste!
Why is this not as quick as some other spice pastes?
Before you get too put off with me saying this takes a little time, let me explain why.
Massaman curry is more about depth of flavor and to get this, some of the spices need a bit of preparation before you mix them all together.
How is massaman curry paste different from other Thai curry pastes?
Yes, it has a number of those in there, but massaman curry paste uses dry chilis and gets its depth of flavor from dry spices like cumin, cloves, nutmeg and coriander.
You need a fairly broad range of ingredients, and a few of them are grilled first before you blend them all together.
But then the magic happens.
The grilling brings out the flavors, and the whole combination just works so well together.
I did a bit of digging into what should be in there to try to make this as authentic as possible. I ended up drawing heavily on this recipe with my own slight twists, mainly to make things a little easier.
Aromatics and spices
The core ingredients in massaman curry paste are:
- mild red chilis
- coriander seeds
- cumin seeds
Yes, I know it's a fairly long list but believe me, when you mix them all together the flavor is wonderful.
Is massaman curry paste hot?
Yes there are some chilis in this curry paste, but massaman curry is one of the milder Thai curries. The chilis in this paste are relatively mild and the curry also includes coconut milk which brings down the heat.
Can you store massaman curry paste?
One of the great things about this paste is you can make extra to use it more than once. It will keep refrigerated for up to a month, possibly longer. It will keep best if it is in a sealed container, ideally with a thin layer of oil over the top.
Massaman curry has such a wonderful flavor that all starts with a delicious massaman curry paste. This recipe has all the essential elements and as I say, you won't want to go back to store bought after, it's that good.
Looking for more curry recipes with from-scratch sauces? Try these:
- Thai red curry
- Lamb rogan josh (cooked in the slow cooker)
- Goan fish curry
- Plus get more Southeast Asian recipes in the archives.
Massaman curry paste
- 2 shallots large
- 1 bulb garlic
- 4 California chili or other mild chili
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 6 cardamon pods
- ½ tsp cloves
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemongrass Finely chopped fresh (woody part removed) or use pre-prepared
- 1 ½ tbsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- Grill or roast the shallots and garlic until soft and gently charred on outside. Leave to cool then peel.
- Toast the chilis, coriander, cumin and cardamon in a dry skillet until fragrant. Remove the stem and seeds from the chilis and roughly break up. Pop the seeds from the cardamon and discard the outer shell.
- Put everything in food processor and blend until smooth.
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