8 Tasty Massaman Curry Paste Substitute [Homemade solution]

Ever had a dish that you loved but, for some reason, never made it again? For me, one of those dishes is Massaman Curry. 

I absolutely love the sweet and spicy taste of this popular Thai dish, but because it’s a little involved in the preparation process- with lots of different spices and a number of steps to follow- I don’t make it often enough. 

But I found an easy Massaman curry paste substitute making my favorite curry at home! 

Let’s have a look.

What is Thai massaman curry paste?

Massaman curry paste is a traditional Thai curry paste. The name “masman” comes from Arabic, meaning “meat,” so you can guess straight away what the origin of this particular curry recipe is. 

Massaman curry is cooked with beef or lamb, potatoes, peanuts, and onions in coconut milk. Frequently used spices are cumin, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon. 

The Thai massaman curry paste is a complex mix of spices, herbs, and aromatics. It gives the dish its characteristic flavor.

What Flavour is Massaman curry?

The flavor of massaman curry is not as strong as some of the other curries. It is a mix of spicy, sweet, and salty flavors. 

Massaman curry paste ingredients

The main spices used in this type of curry are cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. These spices are combined with coconut milk, potatoes, and chicken or beef. 

The result is a unique combination of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors.

8 Massaman Curry Paste Substitute

There are 8 different ingredients that can substitute for Massaman curry paste to make Thai flavor. Below all alternatives, my all-time preferable is Green Curry Paste, Thai Yellow Curry, Korma, and so on.


Thai Red Curry Paste contains dried red chilies, lemongrass, shallot, galangal, garlic, coriander root, kaffir lime leaves, and salt.

thai red curry paste is a famous substitute for massamam curry paste.

The main ingredient here would be the dried red chili which gives the curry paste its characteristic red color.

When added fresh or dry roasted, it has a fragrant smell. It doesn’t taste like the leaves known as cilantro in US or coriander in European countries. 

The last ingredient here is salt which is used to balance the heat and flavors of this paste.


Thai green curry paste is a type of curry paste used in Thai cuisine. It is made from various ingredients, including green chilies, lemongrass, garlic, shrimp paste, and galangal. It’s used in Thai green chicken curry and other Thai dishes.

Thai green curry paste is made from fresh ingredients and minimally processed, which makes it a good option for people who are health conscious. 

This is one of my favorites while I cook Thai dishes. If you want to try and don’t find out, try green curry paste substitutions.


It’s no wonder that Thai food is among the greatest in the world.

But what may not be so well known is that many of the flavors in Thai cuisine come from a paste made from ground chilies, coriander, cumin, and other spices. 

This paste, called “yellow curry,” is a key ingredient in many Thai dishes, including the national dish, Pad Thai.

Making yellow curry paste from scratch can be a bit daunting. Still, luckily there are many pre-made pastes available at Asian grocery stores. 

Mae Ploy, which can be bought in most larger stores, is my personal favorite. Mae Ploy yellow curry paste is made with fresh ingredients and contains no hidden chemicals or preservatives.


Vindaloo is mostly similar flavor to Massaman curry paste. Vindaloo is a type of curry dish that originated in the Indian subcontinent.

you can replace massamam curry paste with vindaloo.

The traditional Vindaloo is a heavily spiced dish made with pork or lamb. Modern interpretations of the dish may use beef, chicken, shrimp, or other types of seafood. The dish is usually served with rice.

There are many variations of the Vindaloo dish. The most common ingredients include vinegar, garlic, ginger, red chili peppers, and black pepper. Other ingredients include cumin, turmeric, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves.


Laksa is a type of curry that is popular in Malaysia and Singapore. The paste is made with dried shrimp, chilies, lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger), turmeric, shallots, and belacan (shrimp paste).

Most Thai dishes are made with various types of curry pastes. If you have them in your pantry, it’s very easy to make one dish or another.

We will use Laksa paste instead of massaman curry paste. You can find Laksa paste in the Asian section of most grocery stores. The taste same appears.


Suppose you can’t find massaman curry paste or simply try a different flavor. In that case, Panang curry paste is a great alternative. 

It has a slightly different flavor profile than massaman curry paste, with hints of ginger and lemongrass.

Read More- 5 Kitchen alternative to Ginger Garlic Paste

To use Panang curry paste in your dish, follow these simple steps:

1. Brown your meat in a little oil, if necessary. – If you are using Panang curry paste for beef/lamb, you will need to brown the meat before adding it into the pot with the curry paste.

2. Stir fry your aromatics – After browning the meat, remove it from the pot and add in your aromatics (onions, garlic, ginger, etc.).

3. Add the Panang curry paste and cook for a minute or two.

4. Add the coconut milk and bring it to a simmer.

5. Add the meat back in and let it cook through.

6. Serve over rice and enjoy!


There are a few different ways that you can make a Korma curry. 

The most common way is to use coconut milk, although you can also use yogurt (yogurt substitutes also go well) or cream. 

You can either add the ingredients directly to the pan or cook them in a saucepan first and then add them to the pan.

If you use coconut milk, you will need 1 can of coconut milk and 1 tablespoon of korma curry paste.

For yogurt or cream, you will need ½ cup of yogurt or cream.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat to make the Korma curry. 

Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes more or soften.

Add the coconut milk (or yogurt/cream), korma curry paste, garlic, ginger, and salt. 

Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with rice and naan bread. 

Read More 12 Alternatives Ingredients for Aji Paste

Vegan Massaman Curry Paste

Although I’m neither vegetarian nor Vegan always cook both recipes so I can give them to you. While You have a Vegan lifestyle, many options will be short enough; that’s why I always make the same dishes on vegan-friendly ingredients.

It’s true sometimes the result is amazing, and sometimes it’s miserable. But is there any vegan massaman curry paste option available or not! Make it own with a simple recipe and store for up to 2 weeks.


  • 1 can of coconut milk (or 1 cup of shredded coconut and 2 cups boiling water)
  • 10 chilies (slit, de-seed and soak them in warm water for 5 minutes, so they soften), 
  • 1 large onion, 4 cloves garlic, 
  • 3-inch piece of ginger (peeled and chopped), 
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, 
  • 1 teaspoon of cardamom pods, 
  • 1cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon salt.

To make the paste: put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little more coconut milk or water until you reach the desired consistency.

Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.”

Now that your vegan massaman paste is ready, it’s time to cook the curry! 

Heat up some oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or wok and add the paste. Fry for a minute or two and add the vegetables, water, and soy sauce. 

Stir everything well and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If needed, add a little more water.

Is Massaman curry paste the same as red curry paste?

Red curry paste is a popular Thai seasoning made from red chilies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, shrimp paste, and salt. It is used to make various dishes, such as red curry soup and massaman curry.

Massaman curry paste is also a popular Thai seasoning made from red chilies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, shrimp paste, and salt.

It is not used as frequently as red curry paste but can be found in massaman curries and also is a key ingredient in Thai satay sauces. 

However, unlike red curry paste, massaman does not always contain fish sauce.

Red curry paste is slightly spicier than massaman curry paste. It can be made hot or mild depending on the number of red chilies used. 

Most Thai restaurants will offer both types of curry pastes for their dishes, so you can order a dish mixed with both if you want a more interesting blend of flavors.

So, is the massaman curry paste the same as red curry paste? The answer is both “yes” and “no.” They are both Thai seasonings that are made from similar ingredients, but they have different flavors. 

If you’re not sure which one to order, ask your server for a recommendation. You won’t be disappointed!

How to use Massaman Curry Paste ( Best Way)

Some recipes will call for a specific amount of massaman curry paste, while others will just give a range. 

In general, start with 2-4 tablespoons of paste, and then add more to taste. If the recipe doesn’t call for any coconut milk, you can add 1/2 cup to make the curry richer and creamier.

· Massaman Chile Dip with Peanuts & Coconut

· Massaman Beef Rib Stew with Saffron & Potato

· Massaman Lamb Shank Pie

Wrap Up On Substitute for Massaman Curry Paste

By now, you should have a good idea of what Massaman curry paste is and its substitutes. You also know that this flavor can be tough to find in your local grocery store or even specialty market. 

If you’ve been looking for an alternative substitute, we hope these recipes will help satisfy your craving! 

Hopefully, one of them inspires you the next time you want to cook up some Thai-style food at home!

FAQs Related to Massaman Curry Paste & its Alternatives

Q1. What’s the difference between massaman and yellow curry?

The main difference between massaman and yellow curry is that massaman curry is made with coconut milk while yellow curry is not. 

Both curries typically include onion, garlic, ginger, and spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cardamom. 

However, the flavors of each curry can vary depending on the ingredients used, the region it’s made in, and who’s cooking it.

Massaman curry is most often made with beef or chicken, potatoes, onions, carrots, bay leaves, fish sauce (called nam pla in Thailand), various spices, including star anise, coriander seed, cumin seed, white peppercorn, and cardamom pods. 

The sauce is usually a bit sweeter and more complex than yellow curry.

So, if you’re looking for a richer, sweeter, and more complex Thai curry, go for massaman. If you want a brighter, spicier curry with a touch of creaminess, yellow is your choice.

Q2. What makes massaman curry different?

The main difference is that massaman curry has a much sweeter flavor than most other curries. This sweetness comes from spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. 

Additionally, massaman curry typically contains potatoes, which add a creamy richness to the dish.

Another unique ingredient in massaman curry is peanuts. Peanuts are ground into a paste and added to the curry, giving it a thick, nutty flavor. 

Some people also add chicken or beef to their massaman curry. Still, it can also be made vegetarian-friendly by using tofu or other meat substitutes.

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