InterExchange Cooks Massaman Curry!


2 minute read

A bowl of massaman curry on a purple placemat
InterExchange’s Smita is here to walk us through massaman curry preparation, which can be made with beef, chicken, or even tofu!
Image courtesy of Guilhem Vellut via Flickr

Whenever my family visits a Thai restaurant, we often stick to regular favorites, such as Pad Thai or Basil Fried Rice. But on one rare occasion, we decided to try Massaman Curry, and it did not disappoint! The vegetarian version at this particular restaurant was rich, creamy and extremely flavourful.

When I did a little research about this curry, I read how it has a lot of South Asian influences. The raw spices mixed with coconut and peanuts brings out a very good flavour of the vegetables. While this dish is generally made with meat, I decided to make a vegetarian/vegan version. It’s also a little hard to find the traditional Massaman curry paste, so I substituted that with the Thai Red Curry paste. Inspired by one of my favorite food bloggers Dana Shultz of the Minimalist Baker, this is an easy, one-pot comfort dish to make for a weeknight dinner.


  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) peanut oil/vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) whole cumin seed
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) whole coriander seed
  • 5 Tbsp (73 mL) red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 1 ½ cups (283 grams) baby potatoes cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 14-oz. (414 mL) cans light fat coconut milk
  • 1-1 ½ (283 grams) cups water
  • 1/4 Tsp (1.25 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash each cardamom and nutmeg
  • 2-3 Tbsp (30-60 mL) Soy Sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 mL) maple syrup or coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) roasted peanuts
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 mL) lime juice (or lemon)
  • Baked tofu
Rows of spices on a shelf
Spices are an essential part of Thai food!
Image courtesy of Pexels

Sauce Preparation:

  • Heat a medium- or large-sized pan. Once hot, add the vegetable oil. Saute the onions until it gets golden brown. Add the dry spices (cumin & coriander seeds) and stir frequently. Add the curry paste and mix it until fragrant.
  • Add the potato and carrot pieces and stir to coat it with the paste. Pour the coconut milk, add cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg, soy sauce, and maple syrup.
  • Cook the vegetables in the liquid for 15 minutes. Add the peanuts pieces at the end to keep it crunchy.
  • Once the curry is ready, add the baked Tofu on the top.
  • Serve the curry with white rice. (I topped the dish with lemon juice).

Smita’s Takeaways:

  • This was one dish where I had most of the spices and ingredients in my pantry.
  • I baked the tofu and added that as my main source of protein.
  • You can add other vegetables to the curry; I used potatoes and carrots.

Stay tuned for more in our InterExchange Cooks series! And, in the meantime, be sure to follow us on Instagram!

Smita Jayaram By

Smita is our Work and Travel USA Communications and Data Coordinator. She holds a Master's in Communication from St. Joseph's College and a Bachelor's in Journalism, English & Psychology from Mount Carmel College.

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