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a bowl of massaman curry chicken

Thai Massaman Curry Chicken มัสมั่นไก่

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  • Author: Pailin Chongchitnant
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


Authentic and easy recipe for Thai massaman curry with chicken. It's a 1-pot dish that's Thai food beginner-friendly. See modifications for other proteins and a vegan version in the blog post. Gluten free.


  • 2 cups (500 ml) coconut milk, divided 
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons (75 to 90 ml) massaman curry paste, store bought, semi-homemade or homemade
  • 3 tablespoons (36 g) finely chopped palm sugar or light brown sugar, packed 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) tamarind paste, store-bought or homemade
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) fish sauce 
  • 2 pounds (1 kg) chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, bone-in, skin-on 
  • 10.5 ounces (300 g) waxy potatoes, such as new or red-skinned potatoes, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm ) chunks 
  • ½ large yellow onion, cut in ½-inch (1.2 cm) strips 
  • ¼ cup (35 g) unsalted roasted peanuts 
  • Jasmine rice, for serving 

Ingredients & Kitchen Tools I Use


Place ½ cup (125 ml ) coconut milk in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. 

Add the curry paste and stir to mix well, and let the mixture thicken, stirring frequently, until the mixture is very thick and the coconut oil separates from the paste, about 5 minutes (the oil may not separate depending on the coconut milk you’re using; this is okay ). If the paste sticks to the bottom of the pot, deglaze with a bit of coconut milk. 

Add the remaining coconut milk and stir to mix, scraping the bottom to make sure no curry paste is stuck. Add the palm sugar, 2 tablespoons (30 ml ) tamarind paste, and 1 tablespoon (15 ml ) fish sauce. Stir to mix well, then taste the sauce and add more fish sauce as needed. You will need to adjust the seasoning again after it’s done, but it’s important that the chicken is cooking in a well-seasoned sauce.

Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer gently over low heat, partially covered, for 35 minutes. (Time to make your rice now if you haven't done so!)

Add the potatoes, onions, and peanuts; if there is not enough liquid to keep the potatoes and onions barely submerged, top it up with more coconut milk or water (using coconut milk will make a richer curry ). Cook the potatoes over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until they are fully cooked.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with more fish sauce or tamarind paste as needed. Serve with jasmine rice. 

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