Sweet and creamy, chicken massaman curry is mild and richly flavoured with spices.
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Heat the oil in a medium-sized heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until it starts to soften. Add the massaman paste, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise. Cook, stirring, for 1 min or until aromatic. Add the coconut milk, sugar, tamarind puree or lime juice, fish sauce and lime leaves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins or until sauce thickens slightly.
Add the potato and simmer for 10 mins or until it is slightly tender. Add the chicken and simmer for 20 mins or until the potato is tender, the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens.
Serve the curry with rice and lime wedges. Sprinkle it with peanuts, lime leaves, chilli and coriander.
You’ve probably seen massaman curry most commonly made with beef, but here we’re combining those aromatic spices, peanuts, coconut milk and tender potatoes with chicken – and the mix is a winner. It cooks more quickly, which makes it a perfect weeknight dinner.
Chicken is actually a common addition to massaman, which – according to Thai food aficionado David Thompson – originated in 17th century Thailand at the court of Ayutthaya, thanks to the Persian merchant Sheikh Ahmad Qomi. Massaman is known as a Thai dish, but its flavours are actually a fusion of different cultural influences from Persia, Malaysia, India and Thailand. The spices (such as cardamom, star anise and nutmeg) were brought to Thailand from traders from all over the Malay Archipelago and were combined with local Thai flavours, such as lemongrass, shrimp paste and galangal. These days, we can use a handy store-bought curry paste to create the classic massaman flavours, but here we’ve layered in more complex ingredients – think tamarind, fish sauce and lime leaves – for a flavour-loaded chicken massaman curry recipe.
You can store massaman chicken curry in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If there is leftover rice, place it in a separate container and store it in the fridge. This curry also freezes beautifully – place it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and keep it in the freezer for up to 1 month. To reheat, defrost it in the fridge then reheat on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave.
Massaman curry with chicken is an excellent place to start your massaman adventures. Next, give it a go with beef in this quick one-pot massaman beef curry, or lamb or chicken with our massaman lamb chop and potato curry and chicken and pumpkin massaman curry recipes. For a vegetarian version, whip up this curried chickpeas and vegetables dish.