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Massaman Curry Paste Recipe

by jughandle

Massaman curry paste ingredients are easy to find. Most ingredients are available at local grocery stores, or at an Indian market. Roasting the ingredients prior to processing them in the mortar is the difference between Massaman Curry Paste and other Thai curries.

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Massaman Curry Paste Recipe

Massaman curry paste ingredients are easy to find as most ingredients are available at local grocery stores, or at an Indian market. Roasting all ingredients prior to processing them in a mortar is the difference between Massaman Curry Paste and other Thai curries.
Course Condiment, paste
Cuisine Thai
Keywords Massaman Curry Paste
Cooking Method Grilling, Mortar and Pestle
Hot/Cold Dish Cold
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Pounding in mortar 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings

What You Will Need:

  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinnamon - 2 inch piece
  • 5 cloves - whole cloves
  • 1 Tbsp coriander - dried
  • 1/3 Tbsp cumin - round the corner
  • 4 Bird chiles - whole Dried or 2 fresh
  • 1/2 inch galangal - julienne or ginger root
  • 1 head garlic - medium size head peeled
  • 1 stalk lemongrass - prior to using it in the mortar, Make your job easier by pre-grinding in a food processor.
  • 1/3 Tbsp peppercorns - Black or red or a combination of the two.
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt - Coarse Kosher salt is used as an abrasive in the mortar. The paste will be diluted in the curry. Cut back if you must.
  • 3 shallots - peeled and cleaned
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 Mace - one pod of mace ground
  • 1 Nutmeg - one whole nut ground. Cut back if you don't like nutmeg



  • Grill or roast garlic and shallots with skin on. In Thailand, the garlic and shallots are buried in hot ashes below the fire in the charcoal stove.
  • Roast until the flesh is soft and cooked and the skin is charred. Cook about 5-10 minutes depending on your roasting method. Put them directly on the grill over gas stove like you would when roasting peppers.
  • Using low flame, it takes about 5 minutes. Peel the skin and remove any charred spots after garlic and shallot are cool to touch.
  • Tear the chile stems off and remove the seeds.
  • Cut or tear the chiles into big pieces whether or not you are using fresh or dried peppers,
  • Slice galangal or ginger into thin pieces and julienne them.
  • Slice lemongrass thin. You only need about half of the stalk, about 6-7 inches. Use the part of the stalk closer to the root. Process in your food processor a few pulses before putting it in the mortar.
  • Toast the chilies and lemongrass until slightly brown in a pan, over medium heat. It should take about 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the roasted chile peppers and lemongrass.
  • Add the rest of the spices, except for the garlic and shallots and toast them by moving them around in the pan.
  • Roast the spices until they are fragrant, for about 2 minutes. Remove the spices from heat.

Pounding In The Mortar:

  • Start with the roasted chile peppers and salt.
  • When your chili peppers are roughly ground, add the toasted processed lemongrass.
  • Pound until the lemongrass is roughly ground.
  • Add all the other toasted spices, except for roast garlic and shallots.
  • Pound until well blended, it may take up to 30 minutes depending on your biceps and the size of your mortar and pestle.
  • Add the roasted garlic and shallots.
  • Pound again until everything is mixed in and smooth.
  • Add shrimp paste and pound to mix everything together.
  • Finely Ground and fragrant Massaman Curry Paste is dark red, from roasted the ingredients.


Keep the Massaman Curry Paste in refrigerator for up to a month and a year in the freezer.


Nutrition Facts
Massaman Curry Paste Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 34 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 10mg3%
Sodium 1197mg52%
Potassium 127mg4%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 40IU1%
Vitamin C 9.3mg11%
Calcium 37mg4%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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