Hearty Healthy Massaman Curry
Of all the Thai restaurants I’ve ever gone to and all the Thai dishes I’ve ever had the one that stands out the most is massaman curry I had in Houston with avocados. Massaman Curry is a milder Curry that is typically more friendly to Americans and people who are afraid of the spiciness of Thai food.
Massaman Curry has a beautiful Rich orange color and a rich flavor as well making it one of the best comfort food recipes. In this version we use potatoes which also give it a hearty flavor and makes it very filling.
This is a great recipe for entertaining large groups because it is so widely loved. There are several things you can do to alter the recipe and make it friendly for anyone.
- Less Spicy: At most Thai restaurants there is a heat scale, usually from 1-5. I usually go with a 3. If it’s too spicy with any Thai dish, you may want to make a milder version with more coconut milk to cool it off a bit. This dish uses coconut milk so that is how we are adjusting the spiciness. We did a large pot with the typical spice/ heat you would find in a massaman curry. We also made a smaller sauce pan with a less spicy version. Honestly, this was a request we got that we accommodated but the less spicy version was barely touched and the regular spicy version was all gone. Massaman curry is not one of the spicier Thai curries and I would rate it as a 2 out of 5 with 5 being the spiciest.
- Peanut Free: Especially if you are entertaining you will want to know if someone has a peanut allergy. If so just leave the peanuts out and at least in the Mae Ploy curry paste there is no peanut ingredient so it may be okay. I say it may be okay because with a food allergy you can never be too careful and there is always a risk of cross contamination. Many Thai dishes use peanuts as an ingredient so it’s hard to know if peanuts were used around the factory, kitchen or the quality of the product coming from another country.
- Tamarind Extract: Typically, Massaman curry has a tangy flavor that is delicious if you ask me but not necessary. We have left the tamarind extract out when making it for my American family with rave reviews.
Making It Healthier
To make this recipe healthier we did the typical things do for any recipe. We used an olive oil rather than a vegetable oil and brown rice rather than white rice to lower the glycemic index. I wish there were a lower glycemic index (GI) white potato which has the same favor as a russet potato. Sweet potatoes have a lower GI but we have yet to try that in this recipe. We will let you know if we try it and it still tastes as good. The glycemic index is a scale used to describe how fast a food converts to blood sugar. The russet potato scores 85, just 15 short of the 100 score of glucose. That’s not very good. :/ Let us know if you have an idea for this ingredient.
I serve this recipe the way they did at Nara Thai restaurant in Atascocita, Texas. They have the best masaman ever and I am copying what they did the best I can without asking for their secret. The thing that is obvious is that they include avocados on top. I chose to top it with cilantro just for aesthetics. I think it looks good and I dig the aroma of it when you pull it apart.
Massaman curry is an common favorite in Thai restaurants with its hearty filling rich flavor making it a comfort food. Historians have theories on the origin of the recipe with one that it came from an Arab Muslim traveling through central Thailand. Another theory is that it is from South Thailand with Indian influences due to the tamarind ingredients giving it a more Indian curry tangy flavor.
- • 14 oz. sliced chicken breast or your choice of protein
- • 1 lb. cubed potatoes
- • 2 large avocado quatered
- • 3.5 oz. (about 4 tbsp) Masaman curry paste
- • 27 fl.oz. lite coconut milk (2 cans for A Taste of Thai)
- • 2 tbsp olive oil
- • 1 small bundle cilantro for garnish (optional)
- Heat a olive oil at medium high in a pot (3-4 quarts size).
- Add Masaman curry, stir fry it for few seconds. You'll be able to smell the aroma.
- Add ⅔ of the lite coconut milk. Break the curry paste, so it dissolves in the coconut milk. Let cook until the coconut mild starts to boil.
- Add sliced chicken (or your choice of protein) and stir in cooking until the chicken changes color from pink to white.
- Add cubed potatoes and the rest of the coconut milk, and cook until the potatoes are soft (about 10 - 15 minutes, depends on the size of the cubes)
- Serve over brown rice or by itself garnished with the sliced avocado and/or cilantro leaves
Add tamarind extract as a desire, it will give a new taste, a little bit sweet. Imagine Indian curry with yogurt in it.