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The Ultimate Vegan Massaman Curry

Binny Liu
Written by Binny Liu

Massaman curry is a traditional Thai dish usually made with beef, lamb or chicken. It's got a slightly tangy flavor that differs from other curries, usually due to the fish sauce and tamarind flavoring. I love the scent of lemon grass and kaffir leaves, so I thought I'd turn this into a vegan dish with tofu and lots of vegetables. Loaded with sweet potatoes, beans, carrots and red pepper, it's a healthy vegan alternative with the same thick coconut, tangy curry flavor. It's easy to make and stores in the freezer wonderfully to have for later.

The first step is to make the paste. You can always get store-made paste, but make sure it's vegan. I love making everything from scratch; the fresh ingredients make this paste divine.

Ingredients (Curry Paste)

  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lime rind
  • 3 inch piece of ginger
  • 3-4 keffir lime leaves
  • 2 dried chili (depending on taste)
  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Ingredients (rest of dish)

  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 med sweet potato
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red capsicum (Bell pepper)
  • 1 pack firm tofu
  • 3 bay leaves
  • fresh coriander (cilantro)


1. Combine all the ingredients for paste in a blender and blend on high speed until it turns into a smooth paste. This should make up roughly a cup. It is best to let it sit in fridge for a couple of hours, just to let it set and the flavors integrate.

2. Cube the sweet potato and tofu into 1 inch size chunks, chop the beans, carrots and Bell pepper into 1 inch length pieces — I always like chunky vegetables in my curry.

3. Heat the coconut cream, vegetable stock and bay leaves in a large pot until boiling, then turn it down to medium heat and let it simmer.

4. Add in the sweet potatoes on medium heat for 6-7 minutes.

5. Give it a stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, then add in carrots for another 5 minutes.

6. Gently stir, then add in the beans for another 5 minutes.

7. Stir again, then add the Bell pepper for about 3 minutes.

8. At the end, add in the tofu and turn off the heat. The residual heat will cook the tofu without making it too soft.

9. Let sit for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors soak in. Serve over rice or lentils and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

* The curry tastes fantastic after it's been sitting for a while. Usually if I have it in the evening I'll make it in the morning and leave it in the pot. When it's dinner time, I'll heat it up and have it then.

* I freeze the leftovers into individual portions and keep in the freezer to have for later.

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