Vegan Massaman Curry is a deliciously rich and decadent Thai curry. It's sweet and spicy, creamy and nutty. Packed with aubergine and potatoes this is such a great date night dinner.
It will come as no surprise to you that I love curry. I have a healthy amount of them here on the blog. My mushroom curry is one of my all-time most popular recipes. They are the perfect vehicle for using up any leftover vegetables and they are my perfect kind of comfort food. Thai food is also one of my favourite cuisines, I love the fragrant flavours and richness in the curries. My very first Thai curry was a homemade Thai green curry using a shop-bought sauce, it wasn't even a paste! Since then I've grown to love making my own curries and I no longer buy sauces!
Massaman curry is one of my newer favourites and it's taken me a long time to attempt making one successfully from scratch, especially one that takes a little less time. The recipe for this vegan massaman curry is a rough adaptation of Meera Sodha's aubergine and sweet potato massaman curry. The paste is almost the same and you really should try the original too to see the comparison. This version is less spicy and uses regular potatoes instead of sweet. I've added green beans and switched it up a bit to suit our own tastes. I hope you love this as much as we do.
How to Make Vegan Massaman Curry
- Start by making the massaman paste. Get all the paste ingredients together in a blender or food processor.
- Add water to the paste then blend until you have a smooth paste. If you're using a food processor scrape down the side with a spatula to catch anything that slides up the side then blend again.
- Next, add the paste to a large hot pan. you will need to stir it continuously for 5 minutes until it is dark brown and shiny.
- Slowly add the coconut milk then add the potatoes. Leave those to bubble away for 5 minutes then add the aubergine. Pop the lid on the pan then simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the aubergine has collapsed. Add the green beans about 5 minutes before you are ready to serve. Then serve with rice, coriander leaves, and lime wedges.
Tips for Making your Best Vegan Massaman Curry
- Make sure you cook that paste for 5 minutes and stir it continuously. The pan will need to be hot over medium heat. It's important not to let the paste burn, that will be disastrous for your curry.
- Pour in the coconut milk slowly again stirring all the time. If you add it too quickly it will split.
- Let the sauce simmer on a very low heat. Make sure you give it a stir every now and again so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Make sure the potatoes are cut to roughly the same size, the bigger the chunks of potatoes the longer they will take to cook.
- I use small waxy salad potatoes for this vegan massaman curry and I leave the skin on. Floury potatoes will not work here they will fall apart in the sauce. I have made this using sweet potato as in the original recipe, they work very well too.
- If you find the sauce is getting too thick add a little water to loosen it up a bit.
Making Ahead and Storing
You can make the paste up to a week ahead if you want. Store it in a sealed container in the fridge until you are ready to use it. This vegan massaman curry is great served immediately but any leftovers can be stored in the fridge and heated up on the hob. The sauce will need a good stir as it may separate slightly.
Can I freeze Massaman Curry?
Yes, you can. Leave the curry to cool then transfer it to a freezer bag or container. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the curry overnight in the fridge then reheat it on the hob. You may need to give the sauce a good stir and it may need some water to loosen it up a bit.
Looking for More Tasty Date Night Dinners?
- Butternut Squash & Chickpea Curry
- Chickpea and Lentil Curry
- Red Pesto Pasta
- Pasta with Mushroom and Spinach
Vegan Massaman Curry
For the Paste
- 2 birds eye chillies
- 4 shallots roughly chopped
- 2 sticks of lemongrass just the bottom part, tough outer layers removed, base trimmed, then roughly chopped.
- ½ cup fresh coriander/cilantro (30g) leaves removed and set aside for serving, just the stalks are going into the blender.
- 4 ½ tbsp smooth peanut butter (100g)
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 ½ level tsp ground cumin
- ¾ level tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ level tsp ground cloves
- 1 ½ level tbsp galangal paste if you can't find galangal paste then ginger will do, use about a thumb-size piece peeled then finely grated
- 1 ½ level tbsp tamarind paste
- 2 level tsp brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp salt
For the Curry
- 1 medium aubergine/eggplant (295g) cut into chunks
- 2 ½ cups of waxy salad potatoes (550g) skin on, cut into quarters
- ½ a cup fresh or frozen green beans (100g) cut the beans in half
- 1 lime, the juice of + more for serving
- 2 ½ cups of coconut milk (600ml) I used reduced fat coconut milk, full fat coconut milk works very well too.
- The reserved coriander/cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
- Plain rice
To make the paste
- Add all the paste ingredients to a blender or food processor along with 100ml of water and blend until you have a smooth paste. If you are using a food processor then you may need to scrape down the sides and blend again.
To make the curry
- Heat a large pan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Once the pan is hot add the paste. Cook the paste for 5 minutes stirring continuously, making sure that the paste doesn't burn. The paste should be a dark brown in colour and shiny.
- Slowly add the coconut milk, again stirring all the time.Once all the coconut milk has been added add the potatoes to the sauce. Let the sauce bubble up around the potatoes then after 5 minutes add the aubergine/eggplant and the lime juice.Stir everything together then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Pop the lid on the pan then leave to simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes stirring occasionally.
- 5 minutes before the end of cooking add in the green beans to the sauce then pop the lid back on the pan.The curry is done when the potatoes are cooked through and the aubergine/eggplant has collapsed. If you find that the sauce is too thick stir in a little water.
- Serve immediately with the reserved coriander/cilantro, plain rice and lime wedges.
- Nutritional Information - is approximate and is calculated using an online nutrition tool. It does not include rice.
- Lemon grass - I used 3"/ 7 cm of the bottom part of the lemon grass. Trim off the base then remove the tough outer layers.
- Chillies - Massaman curry is not meant to be overly hot, I found that just two birds eye chillies was more than adeqate for this curry. I love spicy food and can handle quite a lot of heat. I've tested this with 3 and 4 chillies and found that they were too much altogther. So if you like it really hot then go for 4 but if you like a milder curry than 1 may be the way to go.
- Galangal paste - you should be able to find this is in larger supermarkets, in the world food section. I found this easier to find than fresh galangal. If you can't find it then a thumb-size piece of ginger, finely grated is a good substitute.
- Tamarind paste - again I found this easily in my local larger supermarket in the world foods/speciality section.
- Making the paste - you will need a blender or food processor for this, it should be strong enough to blend the ingredients into a smooth paste.
- Coconut Milk - I have made this curry with both full-fat and reduced-fat coconut milk. I found that the reduced fat coconut milk was better in this curry as it is quite rich. If you are going reduced fat make sure and get a good quality one if you can.
- Storing - you can keep any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezing - You can freeze this curry, just let it cool then transfer to a labelled freezer bag. Store for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before cooking. Reheat it on the hob, it will need a good stir and possibly a little water.
- Recipe source - this recipe is roughly adapted from Meera Sodha's aubergine and sweet potato massaman curry. While Meera's curry is gorgeous, we found it very spicy and very rich. I made this 4 or 5 times apapting it slightly each time until it until I ended up with a less spicy, less rich curry.
- Is this curry gluten-free? Yes it is.