Thai Chicken Massaman Curry

This southern Thai dish apparently came to be when Muslim spice traders from around Malaysia crossed paths with people in southern Thailand. The aromatic, rich spices from distant lands, such as cumin, coriander, and clove were used in tandem with existing Thai curry ingredients, such as fish sauce, lemongrass, galangal, and garlic; and what resulted was the truly exceptional curry. 

I adore massaman curry because it combines two of my favorite types of cuisine: Thai and Persian. Massaman curry, or “the curry of Muslims,” is the perfectly-balanced product of mishmashed cultures and ingredients. It’s one of the most flavorful and comforting dishes you’ll ever eat. In fact, CNN’s ranking of the world’s best foods placed massaman curry right at the top, and I can think of very few dishes that would be so deserving of that honor. 

So if you have never eaten massaman curry, you better make this soon because you just might be missing out on the best meal of your life.


1 ½ lb. chicken breasts (or thighs if you prefer), cut into thinly sliced bite-sized pieces

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

2 carrots, sliced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves of garlic,minced

3-4 Tbsp. massaman curry paste

3 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 15 oz. cans of coconut milk

Lime juice from one lime

Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Handful of peanuts, for topping

Fresh cilantro, for topping

Lime wedges, for serving

You’ll want to prepare this in a large, deep skillet because there will be a lot of sauce, chicken and veggies. Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the chicken, curry paste and fish sauce and cook until the chicken is browned, about 5 minutes. 

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the potatoes, carrots, lime juice, and coconut milk. Stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Taste and add salt and red pepper flakes as desired.

Serve with rice and lime wedges. Top with cilantro and peanuts.

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