This Thai Massaman Curry recipe is easy to make and is ready in just 30 minutes for a fast and simple vegetarian dinner. This vegetarian curry is made with tofu, snap peas and peppers but can be customized however you like!

two bowls of vegetable and tofu massaman curry with rice

What is Massaman Curry?

Massaman curry is mild Thai curry with a Persian and Indian influence. This curry originated in the south of Thailand near the border of Malaysia. It’s made with a unique blend of spices including cardamom, cinnamon and coriander.

Massaman curry has a slightly sweet and tangy flavour and is a little more unique than a typical Thai Red Curry or Thai Green Curry. It’s often served over rice and topped with crushed peanuts.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Ready in 30 minutes: this vegan curry recipe is ready in just 30 minutes and is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner
  • Healthy dinner: if you’re looking for a perfect healthy “meatless monday” dinner recipe, this curry is for you. It’s packed with veggies and tofu for a healthy balanced meal.
  • Customizable: use any type of protein or vegetables you love in this massaman curry! If you prefer to use chicken or beef in this recipe, you can use that instead of tofu.

Massaman Curry Paste

While it’s possible to make your own curry paste, (you can view an authentic recipe here on how to make it) most people will just buy massaman curry paste since it’s much easier and doesn’t require you to purchase a variety of spices.

Where to buy massaman curry paste

It’s easy to find red, green or yellow Thai curry paste at most grocery stores, but you might not find massaman curry paste at all grocery stores. But don’t worry, here are a few places you can definitely find this curry paste.

  • Your local Asian grocery store
  • Some health food stores
  • Amazon

What to do if you can’t find massaman curry paste

If you can’t find massaman curry paste in your neighbourhood or online, you can still make this recipe with Thai green, red or yellow Curry Paste and add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 tsp coriander seeds. This will give you a similar flavour.

Thai Massaman Curry ingredients

ingredients to make massaman curry
  • Tofu: if you want to pan-fry the tofu to make it crispy before adding it to the curry, use firm or extra-firm tofu. If you love the texture of soft tofu you can use soft or medium tofu and just add it directly to the tofu without frying it first.
  • Onion: this is a key ingredient to build up the flavour in the curry.
  • Garlic: another key ingredient. Make sure to use fresh garlic.
  • Massaman curry paste: the star of the show! This curry paste is what will give the curry its unique flavour.
  • Vegetables: I use a combination of carrots, red bell peppers and snow peas. Feel free to swap out or add in any veggies you love. Some good options would be zucchini, baby corn, green beans, bok choy or broccoli.
  • Coconut milk: you want to use full-fat coconut milk from a can when making coconut curry. Don’t substitute for a carton of coconut milk.
  • Coconut sugar: this is used to lightly sweeten the curry. Traditionally in Thailand, palm sugar is used. You can use palm sugar if you have it on hand, or even just some brown sugar.
  • Tamari: or soy sauce or fish sauce. (for a non-vegetarian version of the dish)
  • Lime juice: a squeeze of lime juice helps balance out the flavours in the curry.
  • Peanuts: to top off the curry.

How to make Massaman Curry

Step 1

Cut the tofu into cubes, then pan-fry the tofu cubes in a pan with some avocado oil on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.

Step 2

Sauteé the onios and garlic in a pot with some avoacdo oil, then add in the chopped vegetable and sauteé for a couple of minutes.

Step 3

Add in the curry paste and mix everything together. Then add in the coconut milk, coconut sugar, tamari and lime juice. Cook on medium heat until the vegetables are tender.

Step 4

Add te tofu to the pot of curry and stir everything together to combine. Serve the curry as is or over jasmine rice and top with crushed peanuts.

What to serve with this Thai curry

Massman curry can be served in a bowl on its own, or over a grain like rice or quinoa. In Thai cusine, Thai dishes are usually served family style with a variety of different dishes on the table. Here are some great dishes you can pair with this curry.

How to store and freeze

Fridge: store leftovers of this curry in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.

Freezer: let the curry cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. To defrost let thaw on the countertop.

Expert tips for making Massaman Curry

  • Massaman curry is generally mild, but some brands can be spicier than others. If you don’t like too much spice start with 1-2 tablespoons of massaman curry paste and increase if needed.
  • If you like soft tofu in your curries, you can skip the step to pan-fry the tofu. Soft tofu can be added directly to the curry.
  • Cook some rice before you begin making the curry. This way the rice should be ready to go as soon as your curry is ready.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Depending on your personal taste and the brand of curry paste you use, you may need to add slightly more tamari, coconut sugar or lime. Always taste your curry and add any seasoning if needed.
  • Full-fat coconut milk is best. If you want a lightened-up curry, you can use a can of light coconut milk, however full-fat coconut milk will result in a tastier curry.
  • Check the label of the curry paste if you want to make sure to make this dish vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Some brands of curry paste have shrimp paste in them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does massaman curry taste like?

Massaman curry has a mild taste with notes of cinnamon, cardamom and cumin. It’s a little sweet and tangy and deliicous served with rice and crushed peanuts.

What makes massaman curry different?

All types of curry pastes are made with different ingredients and have slightly different flavours. Massaman curry paste has some Indian and Persian influences and uses a blend of spices that give it a unique taste compared to some other types of curry paste.

Is massaman curry very hot?

No, massaman curry is a very mild Thai curry. (Though it still has a little bit of heat to it.)

Can I make this curry ahead of time?

Massaman curry can be made ahead of time, however it is best enjoyed fresh. Since the recipe only takes 30 minutes to make, I recommend preparing it right before serving.

a bowl of massaman curry with rice

Try these curry recipes next!

If you tried this Easy Thai Massaman Curry or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on PinterestInstagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!

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a bowl of massaman curry with rice

Massaman curry

  • Author: Jessica Hoffman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stir fry
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This easy Thai massaman curry is ready in just 30 minutes!


Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (can sub vegetable oil)
  • 1 block of firm tofu, cut into cubes (approx 14oz)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 23 tbsp massaman curry paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup snap peas, cut in halves
  • 14oz can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • peanuts to top (optional)
  • Jasmine rice to serve (optional)


  1. Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy and golden brown.
  2. Transfer the tofu to a bowl or plate then heat the remaining 1 tbsp of avocado oil in the skillet.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and let cook for 2 minutes, then mix in the massaman curry paste and let cook for another minute.
  4. Add the carrot, pepper and snap peas and cook on medium-high for another 3 minutes, string occasionally.
  5. Add the coconut milk, coconut sugar and tamari and lime juice and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Add the tofu cubes and mix together.
  7. Taste and adjust any seasoning if needed.
  8. Serve on its own or over rice with crushed peanuts on top.


Depending on the brand of curry paste you use, you may find you need a little more/less saltiness or sweetness to the curry. Always taste and add a little more soy sauce or coconut sugar if needed.

Store leftovers in the fridge for 3 days.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 300
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 400mg
  • Fat: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 11g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Protein: 7g

Keywords: thai massaman curry, vegan massaman curry, vegetarian massaman curry