gaeng massaman jay - vegan massaman curry of winter squash, peanuts and roasted shallots


gaeng massaman jay

vegan massaman curry of winter squash, peanuts and roasted shallots


Massaman curries are rich coconut cream based curries, mild in chilli spice but redolent of Indian spices such as anise, cassia and cumin - which came to Thailand along the spice routes.

Serves 2.



For the squash

A large handful (around 250g) of seasonal squash (e.g butternut, kabocha or acorn squash) peeled and cut into large chunks

For the shallots

150g of shallots (round shallots, or small banana shallots), unpeeled.

2 tablespoons of thick coconut cream - the thick part from the top of the tin.

1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces.

1 star anise.

For the curry

60g of som saa vegan massaman curry paste.

1.5 tablespoons of raw, skinless peanuts.

1 tin of organic coconut milk.

2 tablespoons of coconut oil.

1 level tablespoon (around 15g) of palm sugar - ideally good quality 100% coconut sugar.

1.5 tablespoons of vegan fish sauce.

50ml vegetable stock or water.

1 teaspoon of tamarind water, or if unavailable the juice of half a tangerine.



Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Place the shallots and spices in the middle of a large sheet of tin foil, spoon over the coconut cream and then fold over the foil sides to create a sealed parcel. Place it on a tray in the oven and bake for 40 - 50 minutes, or until the shallots inside are soft and somewhat caramelised. Once cool, slip them out of their skins and side aside.

Meanwhile poach the squash: place it in a pan and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and place the pan on a medium heat. When the water comes to a simmer, turn down the heat to low and cook gently until the squash is just tender but still firm. Drain and set aside, keep the whole spices too.

To cook the curry: skim two tablespoons of the thick cream from the top of your can of coconut milk and add it to a pan with the coconut oil, turn the heat to medium-high and allow the cream to boil, become oily and reduce slightly.

Now turn the heat to medium-low and add the curry paste and peanuts, fry slowly in the oily cream for around 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly, until slightly darkened and aromatic and the oil rises to the surface.

Now add in your palm sugar and stir in to melt, cook for another minute before adding the vegan fish sauce. Cook for a minute before adding the vegetable stock (or water), the remaining thick coconut milk and plus 5 tablespoons of the thinner milk from the bottom of the can (discard the rest, or keep it for another recipe). Add the tamarind water (or tangerine juice), the poached squash, roasted shallots and reserved spices, and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes more and then taste: the curry should be balanced rich, slightly sweet and salty, with a background fruitiness from the tamarind water / tangerine juice.

Turn off the heat and serve.

Eat with jasmine rice (and ideally with one or two other Thai dishes, to make a balanced Thai style meal).