Massaman curry

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Massaman curry
Kaeng matsaman kai.JPG
Type Curry
Place of origin Thailand
Main ingredients Meat (beef, duck, tofu, chicken), coconut milk, onion, peanuts or cashews, potatoes, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, star anise, palm sugar, fish sauce, chili and tamarind sauce
Cookbook:Massaman curry  Massaman curry

Massaman curry (Thai: แกงมัสมั่น, RTGS: kaeng matsaman, IPA: [kɛːŋ máàn]) is a Thai dish that is an interpretation of Malay curry dishes.


Massaman or matsaman is not a native Thai word. It is generally thought to be refer to the Muslims of the Malay coast, and earlier writers refer to it as Mussulman curry, Mussulman being an archaic form of the word Muslim.[1][2] Alternate theories derive it from the Malay word masam ("sour") or from Wan Mat Saman, a turn of the 19th century chief minister of Kedah.[citation needed]

Massaman curry is extolled in a poem attributed to Rama II (1767-1824).[3] According to one account, the dish originated in central Thailand at the court of Ayutthaya in the 16th century through a Persian envoy and trader.[4] According to others it originated from the south's Thai Malays.[5] Due to its Muslim roots and therefore Islamic dietary laws, this curry is most commonly made with beef, but can also be made with duck, tofu, chicken, or, for non-Muslims, with pork (as pork is a forbidden food for Muslims, this variety is not eaten by observant Thai Muslims).

The flavoring for Massaman curry is called Massaman curry paste (nam phrik kaeng matsaman). The dish usually contains coconut milk, roasted peanuts or cashews, potatoes, onion, bay leaves, cardamom pods, meat, star anise, palm sugar, fish sauce, chili and tamarind sauce. Traders brought spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, cloves and nutmeg from Indonesia to the south coast of Thailand. The dish is served with rice and sometimes with pickled ginger or "achat" (Thai: อาจาด,  [aːtɕàːt]), an accompaniment made with cucumber and chili peppers macerated in vinegar and sugar.

Media coverage[edit]

In 2011 CNNGo ranked Massaman curry as number one in an article titled World's 50 most delicious foods.[6] However, CNN's voter's survey later that year ranked it only 10th.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Magazine of Domestic Economy, Volume 5, p.63 (Google eBook), W.S. Orr & Company, 1840, accessed 2014-08-17: "A Mussulman Curry is made in the same way..."
  2. ^ Sorties into Thai cultural history, Office of the National Culture Commission, Ministry of Education, 1982, accessed on Google Books 2014-08-17
  3. ^ de:Kaeng Masaman translates a couplet.
  4. ^ "Thai cooking,food thai,Thai menu, pad thai recipe". Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ CNNGo staff (21 July 2011). "World's 50 most delicious foods". CNNGo. Cable News Network. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  7. ^ CNNGo staff (7 September 2011). "World's 50 most delicious foods". CNNGo. Cable News Network. Retrieved 29 September 2012.