Massaman Curry Paste

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  An exotic and fragrant curry paste that is used as the basis of the famous Thai Massaman Curry.


  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 blade of mace
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp  dried shrimp paste
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 sticks of lemongrass
  • ½ bunch of fresh coriander
  • zest of 1 lime
  • vegetable oil


  1. Dry toast the fennel and coriander seeds, cardamom pods, mace, cloves, peppercorns and chilli flakes in a heavy pan and on a medium heat until they just start to colour and smell aromatic.
  2. Crush the cardamom pods and remove the seeds, and discard the pods.
  3. Add all the toasted spices into a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar, then grind/pound it all up until very fine.
  4. Peel the garlic, ginger, onion and lemongrass, then roughly chop and put them  into a food processor.
  5. Next add the ground spice mixture, the turmeric, cinnamon, shrimp paste, fish sauce, coriander , lime zest and a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  6. Blitz to a fine paste, pausing halfway to scrape down the sides, if needed. Add more oil if required.
  7. Use immediately for best results, but will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator if put into  a sealed glass jar.

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