Krung kaeng masaman

Krung kaeng masaman

Muslim curry paste

The Complete Asian Cookbook
1 1/2 cups
Alan Benson

You can make this curry paste two ways — either using the whole spices, roasting and grinding them (you will need a large mortar and pestle for this) or by using ground spices. I have tested this recipe both ways and they are equally successful; already ground spices are a boon when you are pushed for time.


Quantity Ingredient
7-10 dried red chillies
or 2 teaspoons chilli powder
2 tablespoons coriander seeds or ground coriander
2 slices fresh galangal, chopped
or 2 teaspoons laos powder
5 whole cloves
or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cinnamon stick
or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 cardamom pods
or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 blade mace
or 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
2 tablespoons oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried shrimp paste
1 teaspoon cumin or fennel seeds
or 1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon lemongrass, finely chopped
or 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated


  1. Break the chillies, shaking out and discarding the seeds, then roast lightly in a dry frying pan. Pound using a mortar and pestle. Roast the coriander seeds until aromatic and dark brown, shaking the pan frequently or stirring. Pound in a mortar until reduced to a fine powder (if spices are pounded while hot they are easily pulverised). Roast the cumin seeds until they crackle and start to pop, then grind to a powder. Add the laos powder to the ground spices.
  2. Parch the whole cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and mace in a dry frying pan over low heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan. If you separate the cinnamon stick into layers, it will roast more quickly. Grind all the spices using a mortar and pestle to a fine powder and combine with the previously roasted and ground ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the dried shrimp paste and stir-fry for a minute longer, crushing it in the oil with the back of a spoon. Put this fried mixture, when it has cooled slightly, into a food processor with the lemongrass and process to a paste. If using fresh galangal, add at this stage. If necessary, add a little coconut milk or water to assist processing. Turn into a bowl and combine with the dry ground spices. The curry paste is now ready to use.
  4. If using ready-ground spices, dry-roast the ground coriander and fennel over low heat, stirring constantly and taking care they do not burn. Roast until they turn a rich brown and have an aromatic smell. It is not necessary to roast the chilli powder or the other ground spices.
  5. If a food processor is not available, crush the onions and garlic as much as possible after they are cooked, using a mortar and pestle, then combine with the spices.
The Complete Asian Cookbook
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again