Massaman curry paste is a delicious take on curry that is a combination of Thai and Indian style flavors, though it originated in Thailand. Its main ingredients are cardamom pods, whole clove, cinnamon stick, coriander, whole peppercorn and dried Thai chilis. It’s brightly red in color and creates a beautiful dish. Massaman is considered a red curry, which can have different flavors than other curries including yellow curries. Substituting Massaman curry paste is quite easy as long as you stick to a similar flavor.
Although Massaman curry paste has its own special flavor, there are other things you can use to mimic that same flavor if you do not have Massaman curry paste. Thai red curry paste, Thai yellow curry, vindaloo, Laska and korma are all great Massaman curry paste substitutes.
Massaman Curry Paste Substitutes
1. Thai Yellow Curry Paste
Although Thai yellow curry paste will not have the same red color that massaman has, the flavors are very similar. Thai yellow curry paste is a combination of ground yellow chilis, coriander, lemongrass, and ginger.
2. Thai Red Curry Paste
Thai red curry paste is another great substitute. If color is something you are worried about, there is no need to worry when using Thai red curry paste as a substitute for massaman curry paste. Thai red curry paste holds that beautiful red color, while holding a similar flavor. Thai red curry paste is made with red chili peppers, garlic, salt, lemongrass, turmeric, and shrimp paste.
Vindaloo is the best option for picking something that has the closest flavor to massaman curry paste. Vindaloo is used in many dishes, but goes great with pork or lamb. Vindaloo has many different varieties and flavors, however the one most similar to massaman curry paste would be a combination of vinegar, garlic, red chili peppers, clove, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
4. Laksa Paste
Laska is from the Singapore and Malaysia countries. Laska is commonly made with dried shrimp, chilies, lemongrass, thai ginger, coriander, shallots, and garlic. The ingredients are subject to change depending on where you go and who is making the dish, however this is a fun one because it can be changed so much to however you like it.
5. Korma Paste
Korma also has a very similar flavor to massaman curry paste. Korma paste is made with cumin, coriander, cardamom, garam masala, ground turmeric, green chilis, ginger, garlic and it is made in a tomato puree.
Luckily, curry is such a fun dish to make because if you don’t have something specific like massaman curry paste, it’s very easy to create something similar using what you have. There are basically no rules to curry, which make substituting things fun and easy.