Easy Vegetarian Massaman Curry

I love a good curry. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “comfort food,” but it’s high on my list. I absolutely love the flavors of Thai food and a good curry is just about one of my all-time favorite meals. It’s spicy, it’s creamy, and it’s so easy for it to be plant-based and full of whole grains too— which means it can be a pretty high-protein option for us (mostly) vegetarians. And although I think I started my love of curries with red curry and yellow curry, Massaman is a go-to for me at the moment.

 Massaman Curry, serves 2

1 package of tofu, baked
1 red bell pepper
1 zucchini
1/3 a large red onion
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon + 1-2 teaspoons Massaman curry paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar or maple syrup
1 can coconut milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
red pepper flakes, green onion, lime for garnish
1 cup cooked brown rice

First, bake the tofu. See here for my favorite method. You can use either corn starch or arrow root powder. I like to bake my tofu a day or two before and save in a sealed back in the refrigerator because this makes the meal come together much faster. But you can bake the tofu before/as you prepare the rest of the curry, if you prefer. Up to you.

Chop up the bell pepper, zucchini, and onion. Mince the garlic. Peel and finely chop the ginger. In a large pot, toast the curry paste over low/medium heat just until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Turn the heat up to medium and add in the vegetables and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook until the bell pepper becomes bright red (2-3 minutes). Shake the coconut milk can well and pour in the pan along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar or maple syrup and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to combine well.

While you’re working on the curry part, don’t forget to cook the rice. I like to use a rice cooker, because I’m pretty lazy. Check the package of your rice for instructions.

Here is the Massaman curry paste I used—it’s vegetarian friendly. Not all curry pastes are, so if you want to keep this plant-based, be sure to check the package. Many contain shrimp paste, so it just depends how you feel about seafood (I know some folks are more pescatarian, so you may be fine with a little shrimp paste).

Also, the internet seems to suggest Massaman is spelled with two ‘s’, but this package just uses one … so, which is it? If we have any Thai readers out there, I’d love to know!

Once the rice is cooked, the tofu is baked and the curry is piping hot, dish everything out onto large plates (with a lip) or large bowls. Sprinkle on chopped green onions and serve with a lime wedge or two. If you don’t eat all the curry in one sitting I would recommend keeping the curry separate from the rice when you store it and then heating both up before enjoying any leftovers. Otherwise the curried coconut milk tends to absorb into the rice and it sends up being more a dry stir fry, so just keep them separated until you’re serving.

Note: I used 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of curry paste in my dish, but depending on the brand and also how much flavor and spice you like, this can vary. I recommend starting with one tablespoon the first time you make this and you can always stir in a little more toward the end of cooking if you need. Then you’ll know for the next time how much curry paste you prefer.

Enjoy a warm bowl of curry for me this week! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with ACS for Desktop actions.

Massaman Curry

Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 package of tofu baked
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/3 a large red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1-2 teaspoons Massaman curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • red pepper flakes green onion, lime for garnish
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

Instructions

  1. First, bake the tofu. You can use either corn starch or arrow root powder. I like to bake my tofu a day or two before and save in a sealed back in the refrigerator because this makes the meal come together much faster. But you can bake the tofu before/as you prepare the rest of the curry if you prefer. Up to you.

  2. Chop up the bell pepper, zucchini, and onion. Mince the garlic. Peel and finely chop the ginger. In a large pot, toast the curry paste over low/medium heat just until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Turn the heat up to medium and add in the vegetables and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook until the bell pepper becomes bright red (2-3 minutes). Shake the coconut milk can well and pour in the pan along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar or maple syrup and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to combine well.

  3. While you’re working on the curry part, don’t forget to cook the rice. I like to use a rice cooker, because I’m pretty lazy. Check the package of your rice for instructions.

  4. Once the rice is cooked, the tofu is baked and the curry is piping hot dish everything out onto large plates (with a lip) or large bowls. Sprinkle on chopped green onions and serve with a lime wedge or two.

Recipe Notes

I used 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of curry paste in my dish, but depending on the brand and also how much flavor and spice you like, this can vary. I recommend starting with one tablespoon the first time you make this and you can always stir in a little more toward the end of cooking if you need. Then you’ll know for the next time how much curry paste you prefer.