Pah's Chicken Massaman Curry
Thai Recipe

Pah's Chicken Massaman Curry
Serves 4

Most people in the south of Thailand are Muslim (rather than Buddhist, the main religion in Thailand), as in neighbouring Malaysia. The name Massaman curry is derived from the Thai word for Muslim and this sweetest curry is influenced with spices brought from traders from the Middle East and India.

This authentic recipe using chicken has been written down after watching our friend Pah make her version of Massaman curry several times. We have also tested the recipe extensively to make it in the UK, with ingredients available at our supermarkets and in our kitchens. If you are new to Tell Tale Travel do sign up for our newsletter on the right hand side (you can do this without leaving this page) and amongst other things, find out when we have new recipes up.

curry paste ingredients:
1 shallot
2 garlic cloves
1 stalk of lemongrass
10 peppercorns
10g dried chillies
Piece of yellow turmeric root (approx 1cm)
3-4 pods Luk Krawan*
other ingredients:
Several tablespoons of vegetable oil
500g of chicken thighs or breasts
2 sweet potatoes
1 tin of coconut milk
2-3 teaspoons of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
* Luk Krawan is often available in Thai food shops in the UK but you can also substitute 5-6 green cardamon pods.


Slice the onion and garlic cloves, but leave the other curry paste ingredients whole.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, then shallow fry all the curry paste ingredients for a few minutes. Remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon, the ingredients should be well coated in oil. Leave to cool then put them into a pestle and mortar and slowly pound into a smooth paste.
Tell Tale Tip: You can also use a spice mill/grinder or a blender/food processor that can handle very small quantities but the flavour won't be quite the same.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 2cm cubes.

Heat up the coconut milk in a large saucepan. Once it has reached boiling point, stir in some of the curry paste and bring the liquid back to the boil.
Tell Tale Tip: Pah would stir in all of the prepared curry paste, but she likes her curry hot... You could try half the curry paste (and save the rest in the fridge), or start with a tablespoon of curry paste, adding more spoon by spoon and tasting as you go along, until it's just the right level of spiciness for you.

Now add the chopped chicken to the saucepan and bring the mixture back to the boil. Finally, add the chopped sweet potatoes, fish sauce, sugar and salt.

Simmer until the sweet potato is tender when tested with a fork, approximately 10-12 minutes.

Now all you have to do is serve up the curry with some steamed rice.

Tell Tale Tip: To make an impression, garnish with cinnamon sticks, chopped spring onions, sprigs of coriander, or a small handful of cashewnuts or peanuts.

Pah's story

Pah lives in Krabi on the Andaman coast with her husband and baby son. They live on her parents' smallholding. The main crop is rubber so they are surrounded by the tall trees but they also grow other things like cashewnuts. Pah is one of the best cooks in the area, her fragrant curries and sizzling stirfries are out of this world. See if you can stand the heat in Pah's kitchen as part of a cooking holiday with Tell Tale Travel!

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Pah's Chicken Massaman Curry

Pah's Chicken Massaman Curry

Pah's Chicken Massaman Curry