Kaeng Masaman Kai (“Muslim Style” Chicken Curry)

Kaeng Masaman Kai (“Muslim Style” Chicken Curry)

Rating: 21


  • 1 pound of chicken, cut into "bite sized pieces"
  • 5 small potatoes, peeled and partly boiled
  • 5 peeled, but whole, small onions (the type sometimes sold as "pickling onions")
  • 3 cups of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons palm sugar (you can use a light brown sugar instead if youcan't get palm sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind juice (this is the "sour" ingredient - youcan use white vinegar instead if you can't get tamarind juice. The juice is madeby soaking tamarind paste in a little water then squeezing it out, and runningit through a sieve to extract the juice from the pulp)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts (unsalted), broken
  • 1-3 tablespoons masaman curry paste (see below)
  • 1-3 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 roasted cardomom fruits (i.e. the whole pod) a small piece of roasted cinnamon bark


  • Allow the coconut milk to separate, bu leaving it standing in a cool place,and you will have about 1 cup of thick "cream" and two cups of thin "milk".In a small saucepan bring the milk to a simmer and add the chicken or pork. If you are using beef you will need another two cups of milk. simmer the meat untilit is beginning to become tender (beef takes longer, hence the additional milk). Put the coconut cream in a wok and bring to a boil, add the masaman pasteand "stir fry" until the flavor is brought out and maximised. The coconut oil will seperate out and can be skimmed off with a spoon or ladle.(this removes much of the vegetable 'cholesterol', and makes the dish much lesstrouble for those watching their weight or heart). Add the remaining cream and curry paste to the meat. Add the peanuts. taste and adjust the flavor until it is (just) sweet (byadding sugar), sour and salty (by adding tamarind juice, lime juiceand fishsauce). Add the remaining ingredients and cook until cooked. Note: The potatoes act as a"moderator" to reduce the heat of the curry, and should not be left out.
  • The curry paste can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge in apreserving jar for several weeks or even months. The potatoes used can be 'normal' western style potatoes, or any of thesweet potatoes. (I prefer the latter, as it seems to complement the flavour ofthe curry, and western style potatoes are for from common, and quite expensivein Thailand, so clearly not the normal authentic component of the dish). This recipe can also be prepared with pork (kaeng masaman mu) or beef (kaengmasaman nuea). A recipe for the masaman curry paste can be found below.