Massaman Curry Paste

This Thai curry paste was developed from Indian Muslim ingredients, consisting of many dry spices.

Makes around 250g
Prep: 20 minutes



  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 star anise
  • 3cm stick cassia or cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 8 shallots, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2cm piece galangal or ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 5cm stalk lemon grass, finely chopped
  • 2 lime leaves, vein removes and finely chopped
  • 10 dried long red chilies, soaked in hot water to soften and squeezed dry (you may vary the amount of chillies to your taste


  1. To Prepare: Place all the dry spices in a food processor and grind it in a food processor until it is powder or grind them in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Pour a little oil in a pan and sauté the shallots, garlic clove, galangal or ginger and shrimp paste, over a moderate heat until they brown slightly. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Then place it in a food processor with the ground spices and the remaining ingredients (lemon grass and lime leaves) and puree the mixture until you have a smooth paste or grind them in a mortar and pestle.
  3. To Store: Place the paste in a well sealed jar and keep it refrigerated. It will keep for up to 3 months in the refrigerator or divide into portions and freeze.