Potato Massaman Curry

An aromatic potato and coconut curry



Prep time

30 minutes

Cook time

1 hour

With its roots in the Muslim population of Thailand, this aromatic curry has a distinctive flavour and is widely regarded as one the worlds favourite dishes.


200g plain peanuts 
70g ginger 
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 
2 stalks of lemongrass, thinly sliced
2-4 dried chillies 
500g  potatoes, large cubes 
20g palm sugar or granulated sugar
4-5 tbsps tamarind sauce
800g tinned coconut milk 
1 brown onion, sliced 
1 red onion, roughly chopped  
2-3 tbsps fish sauce 
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cloves 
1 tbsp  cardamom
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
salt, to taste


1. Preheat and oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ gas mark 4, once hot, roast the peanuts till brown then set to one side.

2. Place a pan over a medium heat and dry fry the cardamom pods, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, dried chilli and black pepper for approx 1 minute then remove from the heat. 

3. Take the cardamom pods, burst and crush the contents with a pestle and mortar, discard the outer shell. Then, add the rest of the dry fried ingredients and crush to a powder. Add the cinnamon to this and set to one side.

4. Next take the garlic, red onion, ginger and lemongrass and lightly dry fry until a light browning occurs, take care not to burn the garlic. Once done, place in a blender with the dry fried spices and blend into a paste. 

5. Place a large pan over a medium heat add approx. 3 tbsp of coconut milk, once this is bubbling, add the spice paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add more coconut milk as necessary to avoid sticking, reduce heat if necessary. 

6. Now, add the potatoes and fry for 3-5 minutes, mix constantly to ensure an even spread of spices over the potatoes and there is no burning, add coconut milk if necessary.

7. Now, add the remaining coconut milk, brown onion, tamarind sauce, peanuts, fish sauce and enough water to sufficiently loosen the mixture. Bring to a very gentle simmer.

8. Add the palm sugar and mix until dissolved. Place the lid over the pan  and leave on a low simmer until the potatoes are cooked through: this may take between 30 minutes and 45. Stir regularly and and more water as necessary to stop the mixture going dry and sticking. Serve with rice, lime and coriander. 

Chef’s tips

If you want to speed up the process, you can parboil the potatoes in water before adding to the curry.

Add a bay leaf for extra flavour.


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