Easy Chicken Thigh Massaman Curry

Normally I wait until the light is just right to photograph dishes in my tiny kitchen studio – and usually because I’m making dinner – that’s in the afternoon. Today though, the light was just so nice that I shot this one in the full sun.  It’s a different look.

Massaman curry is one of my favorite Thai dishes – or at least one of my favorite Thai restaurant dishes.  The dish was fusion cuisine before fusion cuisine was a thing – a blend of South East Asian, Middle Eastern, and South Asian culinary traditions that developed as cooks developed dishes to suit the palate and traditions of traders arriving from the west.

It includes a lot of the familiar Thai flavors – coconut, ginger or galangal, chilis, lime, shallots, but also includes South Asian spices that in the U.S. and Britain, we tend to think of as baking spices – nutmeg, cloves, star anise – and often potatoes.  You can make Massaman curry spicy, but traditionally it’s a mild dish, and sometimes even a little on the sweet side.


This recipe takes couple of big short cuts that both get it to the table more quickly, but also mean you can make the dish with a couple of pantry items you may already have.  Essentially, in place of making a massaman curry paste, or even buying a premade paste, we’ll combine store bought red curry paste with a touch of garam masala to give us the base of the curry – and a fragrant medium in which to sauté our chicken.  A can of coconut milk, some peeled diced potatoes, and you’re ready to go in just about 45 minutes.

Easy Chicken Thigh Massaman Curry

Recipe by DrewCourse: MainCuisine: ThaiDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



A quick and easy version of the Thai classic, Massaman Curry


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • ½ cup chicken stock

  • 1 medium russet potato

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or other neutral oil

  • 2 tbsp red curry paste

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 tsp minced galangal or ginger

  • 2 lime leaves (opt)

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • 1 tbsp thai fish sauce


  • Peel trim, and finely mince the garlic.
  • Peel and cut the potato into 1-2 inch pieces.
  • Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces.
  • Add the coconut oil or other neutral oil to a pan over medium heat.
  • Add the curry paste, garam masala, garlic, and ginger or galangal to the oil and cook for 2 minutes, or until very fragrant.
  • Add the chicken and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, potato, lime leaves if using, and fish sauce and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer covered until the chicken is very tender – about 30-40 minutes.
  • Season with lime juice before serving.
  • Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!


  1. If using the lime leaves, should they be added with the other aromatics or with the coconut milk and chicken stock?

  2. With the coconut milk. I’ve updated the instructions.

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