Massaman Kae Recipe
Massaman Kae Recipe 06. April 2019
This aromatic, tantalising dish has been a favourite among locals and visitors to The Boathouse Phuket for almost 30 years. Its uniquely southern Thai flavours come from a blend of indigenous spices, as well as those introduced by early traders from the Malay Peninsula.

At The Boathouse Phuket, massaman kae (lamb) is served in two ways—as a grilled lamb chop topped with the curry; or as a bowl of tender, juicy cubes of lamb cooked in the curry. The secret to good massaman kae lies in the massaman paste. It has to be just slightly sweet, with the right balance of spices. The dish starts sweet, with a hint of sourness from the tamarind juice, and ends on a spicy note.

Ingredients (Curry Paste)

  • 4 pods cardamon
  • 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1/3 tablespoon cumin
  • 4-6 dried whole chilis
  • 1/2 inch piece julienne galangal
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1/3 tablespoon peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste


  1. Grill the garlic and shallots with the skin on. When they are cooled, peel off the skin and remove any charred bits.
  2. Discard the chili stems, remove the seeds, and cut the chili into big pieces.
  3. Next, slice the galangal into thin pieces and julienne them. Then slice the lemongrass into thin pieces. You only need about half a stalk. Use the part that is closer to the root.
  4. In a pan, toast the chilis and lemongrass over medium heat until they are slightly brown.
  5. Remove the roasted chilis and lemongrass.
  6. Add in the rest of the spices, except for the garlic and shallots, and toast them until they are fragrant.


  1. Start with the chilis and salt.
  2. When the chilis are roughly grounded, add in the lemongrass. Pound until the lemongrassis roughly grounded.
  3. Add in all the other spices, except for the roasted garlic and shallots.
  4. Pound until they are well–blended.
  5. Next, add the roasted garlic and shallots.
  6. Pound again until everything is mixed in and smooth.
  7. Finally, add the shrimp paste and pound to mix everything together. The massaman curry paste should be dark red, finely grounded and fragrant.

Ingredients ( Massaman Kae)

  • 800g lamb meat
  • 120g onion
  • 150g massaman curry paste
  • 1l coconut milk
  • 400ml stock
  • 150g tamarind juice
  • 120g fish sauce
  • 150g palm sugar
  • 300g potato (boiled and cut into cubes)
  • 60g peanut (grounded)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cardamon seeds
  • 1g cumin (grounded)



  1. Pour the coconut milk and stock into a pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Put in the lamb to boil and add tamarind juice to cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.
  3. In another pan, preheat the oil and put in the massaman curry paste, cinnamon, cardamom, and cumin. Stir until fragrant.
  4. Add the curry paste and spices into the pot of lamb. Followed by the onions, potatoes and coconut milk, cook over low heat.
  5. Season with tamarind, fish sauce, and sugar.
  6. Add grounded peanut and cook for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is reduced.
  7. Turn off the heat and serve in a bowl.
  8. Garnish with coconut milk, peanut, and dry chili.