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Masaman Curry. Mai's version

Updated on February 4, 2013

Masaman Curry, à la Mai

This curry is a family favourite going back to the 60s when we lived in Johore Bahru, Malaysia. I think it’s was an adaptation taught to me by a Sri Lankan friend who’d lived in Malaysia for many years. So anyone who can cook a Masaman properly, please forgive the adaptations. We love it.

This is my version and makes enough for 4 people. Adjust the ingredients for more or less people.

This is an easy dish and from preparation to serving probably takes around 45 minutes.


  • 1 large Onion
  • · 6 cloves of Garlic
  • · 8 small, round, green Asiatic Aubergines
  • · 3 Bell peppers
  • · 1 packet Masaman curry paste.
  • · 2 x 500ml cartons of coconut milk
  • · Oil (olive or canola), small amount.
  • · Juice of 3 Limes (or lime powder)
  • · 2 chicken breasts or
  • · ½ kg large prawns, fresh or prepared. Or large frozen prawns.

  • Rice. ( we love Basmati)


  • · 1 teaspoon (tsp) Turmeric
  • · 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • · 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • · 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • · ½ tsp Chilli powder (this makes a mild Masaman. Add more for a sizzling chilli taste)
  • · 1 tsp paprika
  • · Salt and Pepper.

To make:

Cook the rice whilst preparing the main dish. If using a rice cooker this can be done long before you want to do the rest of the cooking. It will remain at the right temperature all day. I love my rice cooker. I’m hopeless at cooking rice so it’s been my life saver since living in Thailand.

Prepare all the ingredients.

Combine the spices in a small dish.

Open the Masaman paste packet.

Shake the coconut milk and open.

Chop the vegetables as you like them

Halve the chicken breasts. Or if using prawns..............

Prepare fresh prawns or defrost frozen ones.

  • In a wok, gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil over a medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Chop the chicken breasts in half and add.
  • Add the combined spices and stir to coat the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent the ingredients sticking to the pan.
  • Add the lime juice (and half a glass of dry wine if you like).
  • Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the Masaman paste and coconut milk. Rinse the cartons and add that to the mix. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the aubergines and peppers. Mix well.
  • Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes.

If using prawns, do not add until the last 1 or 2 minute. Fresh or frozen prawns take very little cooking. With frozen prawns defrost 1 hour prior to using them.

Eat and Enjoy!

Place the curry and rice in separate serving dishes.

Use any other dishes you enjoy with your curries, ie. Poppadoms, Nan bread, Salad, Cucumber raita etc

…………. call your friends round and enjoy!!!


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    • yoginijoy profile image

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      I am going to try this recipe. I love curry and thai food in general. You are so lucky to live there and get to eat the food all the time. Thanks for the recipe. Take care!