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How To Make Thai Massaman Curry Paste

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Pounding your own homemade Massaman curry paste will achieve a paste far better than anything you can purchase in a jar.

I’m happy to share my homemade massaman curry paste recipe with you. Bursting with aromatic spices and rich flavours, this paste is the key to creating an authentic and irresistible massaman curry. With just a handful of ingredients and a little bit of effort, you can make a paste that will transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Thailand.

From fragrant lemongrass to earthy spices, each ingredient adds depth and complexity to this beloved curry. Get ready to try a  homemade massaman curry paste and don’t forget to try my other Thai recipes.

Homemade Massaman curry paste

If you want to know how to make Thai Massaman curry paste, look no further! I’ve got you covered with this one. 

What is massaman curry paste?

Massaman curry paste is an amazing blend of spices and ingredients that you will love making from scratch. It serves as the flavorful base for the hugely popular massaman curry.

With aromatic lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallots, and a medley of spices like cumin, coriander, and cardamom, this paste creates a symphony of sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavors. When you use this homemade paste, it elevates ordinary ingredients into an authentic Thai culinary masterpiece. 

Is it difficult to prepare this curry paste?

Preparing massaman curry paste from scratch can require some effort, but it is definitely worth it for the incredible flavours it brings to your dishes.

Gathering the necessary ingredients and properly processing them into a paste will take you about an hour using a pestle and mortar. That is the traditional way to make it but you could also use a food processor which is much faster and easier. 

How long can you keep massaman curry paste in the fridge?

Massaman curry paste can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 weeks when stored properly. To maximize its shelf life, transfer the paste to an airtight container and make sure it is tightly sealed.

This helps prevent air exposure, which can lead to flavour degradation and spoilage. Remember to always use clean utensils when scooping out the paste to avoid introducing any contaminants that may shorten its storage time. 

Can you freeze this curry paste?

If you need to store the paste for a longer period, you can also freeze it in portions for up to 2 to 3 months. It freezes really well.

Then you just need to let it defrost and use it in your massaman curry.


  1. Toast and grind your spices: To enhance the flavor profile of your curry paste, toast whole spices in a dry skillet until fragrant. Then, grind them into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. This step will release the oils and intensify the aroma of the spices.
  2. Soak dried chilies: If you’re using dried chilies in your curry paste, soak them in hot water for about 15-20 minutes before blending. This softens the chilies, making them easier to blend into a smooth paste and ensuring a well-balanced heat distribution in the final curry.
  3. Properly store for longer shelf life: After making the curry paste, transfer it to a clean, airtight jar or container. To maintain freshness and extend its shelf life, pour a thin layer of oil on top of the paste, creating a protective barrier against oxidation. Store it in the refrigerator and always use clean utensils to avoid contamination.


toasting the whole spices in a pan

Toast the whole spices until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking.

Grinding the toasted spices.

Allow to cool and then grind to a fine powder

All of the paste ingredients in a pestle and mortar.

Transfer the ground spices to another bowl and then add the fresh aromatic ingredients.

The pounded massaman curry paste

Pound to a fine paste. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Adding shrimp paste to the other massaman curry paste ingredients.

Add the shrimp paste and the ground spices and pound some more until you have a very fine, buttery paste.

Massaman curry paste

Your Massaman curry paste is ready. It can be kept in the fridge for 3 days and it freezes really well.

Yield: 250ml

Beef Massaman Curry Paste

Homemade Massaman curry paste
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of cumin seeds
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tsb black peppercorns
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • The seeds from 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 - 5cm (2 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 12 large dried red chillis deseeded and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • 2 - 3 small shallots finely sliced
  • 1 long stick of lemongrass white part only
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of galangal
  • 8 cloves garlic - smashed
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste


  1. Heat a pan over medium high heat and toast the whole spices until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking. Transfer to a pestle and mortar to cool and then pound to a fine powder.
  2. Transfer the ground spices to a plate and then add all the aromatic spices to the pestle and mortar. Pound the spice for 15 to 20 minutes until it is broken down into a paste.
  3. Add the shrimp paste and ground spices and pound for another 5 minutes or so until you have a delicious, buttery curry paste.
  4. The paste will keep in the fridge for about three days and it freezes very well.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 147Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 506mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 8g

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