Mussaman Curry Gaeng Mussaman

Mussaman curry is probably the most 'un-Thai' style of Thai curries. It's more like a stew than other Thai curries. The word mussaman has no meaning in Thai, other than as the name of this curry. It may be, like several words in the modern Thai language, a corruption of a foreign word, probably Persian if the stories around this recipe are to be believed. The legend of the dish's origin is that it is derived from a recipe bought by the first Persian ambassador to the Court of Ayutthaya (the capital of old Siam). The envoy remained in Siam for the rest of his life, and established the Bunnag family, which even today is among Thailand's most powerful clans.

There is another theory that mussaman curry originated in southern Thailand, where it may have been based on dishes introduced by Arab traders. Since this curry is one of the few well know Thai dishes that uses beef rather than pork, it seems possible that the name mussaman is a corruption of 'Muslim.'

Mussaman curry is one of the most complex of all Thai curries. It uses many more ingredients than most curries, and also takes more time to prepare than almost any other dish. The extra time is largely due to the use of potatoes, although a 'long time' to prepare a Thai dish is 20 minutes or more, compared to most other curries that require 10 minutes at most.

Mussaman Curry
Mussman Curry with Chicken

Mussaman Curry Paste

First, you have to make the curry paste.


Dried chillies30
Coriander seeds1 Tbsp
Fennel1 tsp
Cloves td>5
Cinnamon stick1 centimeter
Cardamom seeds5
Roasted shallots20 bulbs
Roasted garlic10 bulbs
Galangal1 Tbspchopped
Lemongrass2 Tbspsliced
Roasted peanuts250 g

To prepare the curry paste, grind together the dried chillies, coriander seeds, fennel, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds, shallots, garlic, galangal and lemongrass to form a fine paste. Add the roasted peanuts and grind them into the paste.

Mussaman Curry Recipe

(Serves 4)


Coconut cream880 ml
Coconut milk880 ml
Beef or chicken1 kg
Roasted peanuts250 g
Cardamom leaves15
Cardamom seeds20
Small ('new') potatoes10
Shallots10 bulbs
Fish sauce11 Tbsp
Salt1 Tbsp
Tamarind juice11 Tbsp
Palm sugar2 Tbsp
White granulated sugar3 Tbsp

Preparation Method

Heat the coconut cream in a large pot to simmering. Stir in the prepared curry paste and continue to simmer until the fragrance is released. Add five tablespoons of fish sauce, five tablespoons of the tamarind juice and two tablespoons of the granulated sugar. Mix well until the fragrance returns, then add one tablespoon of the palm sugar.

Heat the coconut milk along with the meat in a pot. When it begins to simmer, pour in the coconut cream mixture along with the remainder of the seasonings.

Add the new potatoes and test the taste. Add more tamarind juice to make it more sour, or additional salt if needed.

When the potatoes are nearly done, add the onions, shallots, peanuts, cardamom leaves and cardamom seeds. Remove from heat.

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