Thai Prawn Massaman Curry

New Year came and gone. Another chapter, a fresh start to a new life. Last year has been pretty eventful for this blog, but I guess I would skip the year in review and bring you straight to a healthy start of the year with this aromatic Thai style curry. Who says curry can’t be healthy?

Given our love for rice and poultry as main dish, I always try out new recipes. Thanks to a lot of food related projects last year, I have begun to develop my own recipes with a twist to make them healthier. At times it was challenging to change the old habit and come out of the rut, but one of the easiest ways is to substitute the old devils with healthier version- I have been using a lot of homemade, low fat yogurt in place of coconut milk ( and even cream!), raw sugar in half quantity or honey instead of sugar for my bakes, etc etc, with wonderful results.

I also realised that some cuisines are a lot healthier, with no adjustment needed. Ditto mediterranean diet; a lot of Thai foods, bar the coconut milk, tends to be on the healthier side.

 Thai food is so familiar to me, as literally it is just a border away from Malaysia, and they share the same basic kitchen staples like kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass and galangal; spices which bring in the flavours.

Massaman curry is famous in southern part of Thai and is a Muslim dish originally, as it imparts Arabian flavours, on top of the basic Thai spices. After years of experimenting, I made my own curry paste this time, and omitted the coconut milk which is usually present in authentic Massaman curry. it still tastes awesome! The homemade curry paste can be kept well in fridge for about 2 weeks, and frozen for even few months.

I chose prawns instead of the popular chicken for my massaman, just for a change and also because we love seafood! Love those big jumbo sized king prawns, which is available all year round here, and fresh too.

Try out this delicious curry recipe for a healthy start of New Year.

Thai Prawn Massaman Curry

For massaman curry paste:
10 dried red chillies- soak in hot water for 10 minutes
2 inch galangal
3 cloves garlic
5 shallots
5-6 kaffir lime leaves
1 small stalk lemon grass – pound slightly
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tbsp shrimp paste (belacan)
1 tbsp fish sauce/ Nampla – optional ( I find the smell can be off putting for some)
1/4 cup peanuts
Roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, nutmeg and peanuts until aromatic.
Put all the ingredients including dry roasted spices in a food processor. Add 1/4 cup water and blend until smooth.
 This makes a small jar of curry paste, for which you only need 3 tbsp for the recipe below.

 For prawn curry

20 king prawns (1 kg)- deveined
3 tbsp massaman curry paste
2 bay leaves
1 fresh red chilli- sliced finely
1 large onions-sliced
4 sprigs curry leaves
2 tomatoes- diced
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp tamarind paste

1. Heat the oil and tip in the onions, bay leaves, chilli and curry leaves. Fry until onions are translucent.
2. Add the massaman paste and temper until it splutters.
3. Add in tomatoes and prawns.
4. If you want more gravy, add 1/2 cup water,together with tamarind paste.
5. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until prawn is cooked and well immersed in gravy.

Optional: For authentic massaman flavour, replace water with coconut milk.


  1. says

    hi dr jehannemy compliments on your great photography works…very pleasing to eyes and palate.. ha ha, one dietician said the prawn head has high cholesterol, not the body… love that news. your prawns look delicious

  2. says

    Wow Jehanne.. its first time am hopping to your Page and already I have scrolled through almost all your posts.. Love the way you arrange your props and make use of lighting.. And the recipes are just too tempting to try immediately..

    You have got a new fan in your list Girl !! Looking forward for more such posts from you ..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *