Vegan Thai Tofu Massaman Curry

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  • Tofu
    : 500 gms
  • Baby Potatoes
    : 4
  • French Beans
    : 6-8
  • Crushed roasted Peanuts
    : 3 tablespoon
  • Onions
    : 2 spring
  • large Lime leaves
    : 3
  • Coconut Milk
    : 800 ml
  • Oil
    : 2 tablespoon

For the paste:

  • Roasted Peanuts
    : 1/2 cup
  • dried Red Chillies
    : 8
  • Galangal/Ginger cubes
    : 1” x 6
  • Garlic cloves
    : 5
  • shallots
    : 3
  • Ground Cloves
    : 1/4 teaspoon
  • Ground Cinnamon
    : 1/4 teaspoon
  • Pepper powder
    : 1 teaspoon
  • raosted Cumin Powder
    : 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric
    : 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder
    : 1 tablespoon
  • Cardamom ground
    : 1/4 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg crushed
    : 1 tiny piece
  • lemon grass (around 1/4 cup)
    : 1 stick
  • Lemon’s juice
    : 1
  • Soy sauce
    : 4 tablespoon
  • Palm sugar concentrate
    : 3 tablespoon


First of all let me wish one and all a Happy Diwali. This recipe was supposed to be shared yesterday right in time for the festivities. Since I’m facing some technical issues with camera my shoots have been disrupted and my images not the usual standard. I will update the pictures as soon as I get hold of my camera and videos will be uploaded in time as soon as my point and shoot camera is back after service.

Last of my special posts for the festivities, though this will continue on and off, since so many “special days and festivities are there all along these months till the New year. In between I’m planning to do some posts which are healthy and can be had during diet days plus new recipes coming up from Morocco and Spain along with my travelogue and foodlogue.

I had posted a Thai coconut rice which is the ultimate easy peasy recipe to for any special day and especially for festivities like Diwali. To pair with this, today I’m sharing a vegan Thai curry where the star of the dish is Tofu along with some potatoes and French beans. Though this dish is made multiple spices and is powerhouse of flavors, this curry also can be made within half hour. No oil is used for cooking except for the pan frying of tofus. Healthy and nutritious, this is a simple dish which can be whipped up without much effort.

Massaman curry is served during special occassion in Thailand. As every dish has got it different versions, this dish also has some variations though the basic ingredients remain the same. The history says it all. Considered by some to be the most famous, and the most delicious, dish in Thai cooking, the story of Massaman curry is interwoven with trade, politics and religion in 17th-century Siam. The story is filled with mighty kings, legendary explorers and unsolved mysteries, adding an air of magic and power to this already-heavenly perfumed dish, and thickening the plot of this full bodied, coconut-based curry’s birth.

Massaman is usually made with chicken, beef, lamb, mutton or goat. Sometimes the meat is fried in butter or fat, prior to simmering it in sweet spices and coconut milk until the meat softens and the curry thickens, a process called khao gathi. But now the vegetarian version expecially with tofu can be seen commonly. In the Arabian culinary tradition, almonds, peanuts or sultana raisins are included to add joy and richness; and the dish is seasoned to a sour-leading sweet, to follow the taste with a pleasant, throat-cooling sensation.

The Thais adapted this curry using Thai ingredients such as fermented shrimp paste (kapi), lemongrass, tamarind and bitter orange juice, and making it spicier. Sometimes potatoes were added, and even pineapple – Massaman curry was considered a dish reserved for special occasions and religious ceremonies.

Massaman curry, or ‘the curry of the Muslim’, was popular among Siam’s residents of Muslim descent for many centuries. The Thai word moot salim, or ‘Muslim”, is derived from the Persian/ Arabic word moot limaan.

Massaman was introduced to Siam directly via Muslim Persian traders in the 17th century. Massaman was created in Siam’s Muslim communities, using Muslim culinary codes and Siamese ingredients, during the Ayutthaya period or as late as the Thonburi era (18th century).

The relationship that developed over two centuries between the Siamese and Persian-Arab communities prior to the first mention of Massaman curry in the poetry written by King Rama II; we have also revealed the impact of the influential Muslim communities of Bang Luang during the Thonburi and early Ratanakosin periods; and the position  that enabled the sharing of their culinary codes with the aristocratic food culture. These are all factors that contributed to the culinary exchange between the Siamese and the Muslims, a fertile ground from which Massaman was born – a Muslim curry that incorporates Thai ingredients and has become a truly Thai dish. (input courtesy :

I have come up with this vegan tofu massaman curry inspired by Alissa of I have adapted it to our taste and flavor slighlty by reducing the lemon contents and adding the chillies more. I’ve also cut short the sweetness and have used palm sugar concentrate for sweetness. Instead of going with a whole lot of veggies, I kept tofu as my hero, baby potatoes and french beans as supporting heros.

As I’ve mentioned in my video, I soaked the dried red chillies in boiling water for half an hour. After half an hour you will see that the chillies have blotted up. Take a pointed scissors ( I used crab scissors) and insert on the stem hole and cut along diagonally and remove the seeds. I will be soon posting this technique in my website.

I have used the massaman curry paste heavily since we do not prefer blant, flavorless dishes. If you prefer the curry to be mild you can add half the paste or according to your preference. Tamarind is used in the original massaman recipe but since I’m a fan of Thai lime leaves, I gave a shot at it along with some lime juice. I’m sure you will be able to make this dish in this weekend when you have guests and the festivities continue.

Step 1

Cube the tofu. Peel and wash  the potatoes and cube it.  Wash and remove the peels from both sides of the french beans and halve it.

Step 2

In a grinder, add all the ingredients, except lime juice, soy and plam sugar. Grind coarsely.

Step 3

Add the liquid ingredients and transform it into a smooth fine thick paste.

Step 4

Take 400 ml coconut milk and mix the desired amount of prepared curry paste. Combine thoroughly.

Step 5

Transfer it to the cooking pan. Keep on the stove on medium flame. Clean the grinder with rest of the coconut milk and add to the curry

Step 6

Add lime leaves and desired amount of salt.

Step 7

Allow it to boil. Reduce the flame and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook till done and gravy thick.

Step 8

Fry the tofu suing 2 tablespoon oil till lighlty golden and firm. DRain and keep.

Step 9

Add the beans to the curry once the gravy starts thickening and potatoes cooked.

Step 10

Simmer for 2 minutes, then add the fried tofu and adjust seasoning.

Step 11

Simmer on very low flame for 2-3 minutes.

Step 12

Finally add the chopped spring onion and crushed peanuts.

Step 13

Serve with Jasmine/Basmati/Coconut rice

Happy cooking and Festivities

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Vegan Thai Tofu Massaman Curry
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