My massaman vegetable curry is rich, creamy, sweet-sour, and packed with vegetables. Made in one pot, ready in under 40 minutes, completely vegan. (This article has been updated from its original January 2020 version).
This massaman-ish vegetable curry is a one-pot weeknight savior. A heap of fresh vegetables, plus a handful of fridge door staples and a can of coconut milk, and you’ve got a rich, nourishing, intoxicatingly fragrant meal in under 40 minutes. Read on for the history of this recipe, the reason for that “ish” in the name, as well as cooking tips and substitution ideas.
What is Massaman Curry
Massaman curry is a classic Thai dish characterized by its rich coconut-peanut broth flavored with middle eastern spices. It’s a Thai-Muslim fusion dish, which explains the presence of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom not typically found in Thai food. (According to Wikipedia, the name “massaman” is taken from the term “mosalman”, an archaic Persian word meaning “Muslim”.)
This curry is typically made with meat and potatoes, and the coconut broth features peanuts, palm sugar, and massaman curry paste (made of red chilis + spices).
What’s In This Version
This creamy massaman curry consists of red onion, bell peppers, potatoes, and broccoli in a rich sweet-sour coconut-peanut sauce.
My vegetarian version is heavily adapted from the original to be cooked as quickly as possible using basic supermarket ingredients. For starters, instead of massaman paste, I use red curry paste, which you can get in most stores these days. I use a bit of ground cinnamon to give it that signature massaman warmth. Instead of palm sugar, I use raw sugar, and instead of toasting whole peanuts, I incorporate peanut butter into the broth. All of this to say, this version is not at all authentic, but rather inspired by the flavors of the original.
How to Make This Massaman Vegetable Curry
Make the base: Start by chopping up and cooking a red onion and bell pepper until they’re browned; this caramelization is key to flavoring the curry overall. Next, stir in the curry paste and cook it for about a minute. Then incorporate the peanut butter.
Create the broth: When the base is ready, add the coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar, cinnamon, and a chopped potato. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a knife, about 15 minutes.
Finish the curry: Add the broccoli and cook it just for a few minutes until it’s bright green. Yes, this really only takes 2 to 3 minutes. Do not cook your broccoli to death – you want it to retain its crunch and color. Lastly, season with lime juice.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Coconut oil: I love to push that coconutty flavor whenever I’m making Thai-inspired dishes. But really, you can use any oil you have here.
- Onion: The sweetness of red onion is ideal for this curry. If you only have white/yellow onions, that’s okay, too.
- Red curry paste: You can get this condiment in most supermarkets; look for it in the Asian or international foods aisle. If you can get your hands on massaman curry paste, use it!
- Coconut milk: This refers to the canned stuff – not the watered down version sold in cartons in the refrigerated section. Look for it in the Asian or international foods aisle, and be sure to buy an unsweetened, full-fat version (i.e. not “lite”).
- Sugar: It may seem out of place, but it’s key for balancing out the tanginess of lime. Go for raw or light brown sugar here, or even maple syrup.
- Potato: The creamy, waxy texture of a white or Yukon Gold potato is perfect for this dish.
- Broccoli: You can swap it out with cauliflower, green beans, snowpeas, or even mushrooms.
Making This Curry In Advance
Yes, this recipe does work for meal prep since the curry is arguably even better after it sits. You can keep it in the fridge for about 4 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
More weeknight-friendly meals…
- Creamy Miso Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
- The Easiest Veggie Stir Fried Noodles
- Thai Salad with Seared Tofu and Peanut Dressing
- Lemony Cauliflower Pasta with Fried Breadcrumbs
This rich and fragrant massaman vegetable curry features a creamy coconut-peanut broth, crunchy vegetables, and tender potatoes.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, or any other oil
- 1 medium red onion, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 1 bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened peanut butter
- One 13-ounce can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon raw or light brown sugar (in a pinch, you can use maple syrup or white sugar)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large Yukon gold potato, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 3 cups bite-size broccoli florets
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice, to taste
- Cooked brown rice, for serving
- Cilantro or basil, for serving
- Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat and add the onions and peppers. Cook until they’re browned in places, stirring once or twice, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in 3 tablespoons curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Then add 2 tablespoons peanut butter and stir to incorporate. Add 1 can coconut milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and the chopped potato. Cover tightly with a lid and bring to a boil. Simmer gently until the potatoes are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and cook for another 3 minutes or so, just until it’s bright green.
- Turn the heat off and season with 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 250
- Fat: 19.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 15.6 g
- Fiber: 4.5 g
- Protein: 5.3 g
Keywords: vegan, massaman, curry, thai