This delicious vegan tofu massaman curry is a one-pot meal with complex flavours. A fusion of Thai and Indian cuisines, massaman curry is sweet and spicy at the same time. It's loaded with crispy tofu and veggies simmered in a coconut and peanut curry sauce for an incredibly aromatic dish.
Massaman is a relatively mild but rich and aromatic curry that blends local Thai flavors with spices initially brought to Thailand by Muslim traders from India and Persia.
These foreign flavours, which include cardamom, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg, are not commonly used in other Thai curries.
Massaman curry paste blends these imported spices with local Thai flavours such as coriander seeds, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, chilli peppers, and white peppers.
The result is a slightly spicy, slightly sweet curry paste that is used in various curries, typically made with meat and served with rice.
This is a vegan massaman curry that uses tofu instead of meat for texture and protein. It has deep flavours and is only mildly spicy, so the entire family can enjoy it.
What do you need for vegan massaman curry?
Massaman paste — I went for the easy route and used ready-made massaman paste. When shopping for massaman paste, it's important to check the ingredients because not all versions are vegan. I use three tablespoons of massaman curry paste, and the result is not too fiery, but expect the curry to have a bit of a kick. If you want it to be on the mildly spicy side, add just two tablespoons.
Tofu — An extra firm tofu works best in this curry as it typically doesn't need to be pressed. Use a tofu press for water-packed tofu to get a chewy texture.
Coconut milk — Full-fat coconut milk creates a rich and creamy base for Thai curries, but you can substitute it with light coconut milk to cut down on calories. Just bear in mind that the curry won't be as creamy.
Sweet potatoes — Sweet potatoes pair great with the flavour of the massaman paste and the sweetness of coconut milk. There are many massaman recipes out there that use yellow or red potatoes, so those would also work well.
Peanut butter — Choose a natural creamy peanut butter with no added sugar. If you want a bit of crunchiness in your curry, you can use a crunchy version instead.
How do you make it?
- In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and fry the tofu for 5-6 minutes until slightly golden and crispy.
- Remove the tofu from the pan and set it aside.
- Add the rest of the sesame oil to the pan and fry the onion for 1-2 minutes until slightly softened.
- Continue with the red pepper and green beans, stir to combine, and cook for 5-6 minutes until they soften.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Stir in the massaman curry paste and light soy sauce and continue to cook for a minute.
- Stir in the coconut milk, then add the sweet potato. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the sweet potato is fork-tender.
- Next, stir in the peanut butter and cook for another minute.
- Stir in the lime juice, then add the tofu back to the pan and stir to combine.
- Add the chopped coriander, stir to combine, and serve over rice with lime wedges and sprinkled with chopped peanuts.
- Vegan massaman curry keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days, so you can make a big batch as part of meal prep and serve it over fresh rice.
- Sprinkle the curry with extra coriander before serving if you want.
- Jasmine rice pairs great with massaman curry, but you can also serve it with basmati or brown rice.
- You can use tempeh instead of tofu.
- Coconut oil is a very good substitution for toasted sesame oil.
- Use whatever other vegetables you want in this curry, with broccoli and cauliflower being some extra ideas.
If you liked this vegan tofu massaman curry, you might also like some of my other easy vegan curry recipes: