Fah Thai Magazine July/August 2017




Immortal Dish

of Memories

A Thai king once wrote a poem detailing the feelings

evoked by an aromatic massaman curry. Despite the

passage of time, the dish’s popularity has never ceased.

While the traditional recipe has variations executed

in many kitchens, some homes and restaurants offer

surprising local touches.

Words: Sarita Urupongsa

Photos: Dolnapa Ram-Indra

Many Thais are familiar with the

mention of massaman curry in the poetry

verses composed by Prince Itsarasunthon,

or King Rama II. Loosely translated,

the words state:

“Massaman, a curry made by my love,

is fragrant with cumin and strong spices,

(มัสมั่นแกงแก้วตา หอมยี่หร่ารสร้อนแรง)

Any man who has tasted the curry pines

for her” (ชายใดได้กลืนแกง แรงอยากให้ใฝ่ฝันหา)

Picked as the best food in the world

by CNN’s Traveller’s “World’s 50 Most

Delicious Foods,” massaman curry has

always played a big part in the history of

Thai cuisine. Believed to have originated in

the sophisticated court of Ayutthaya, the

rich flavours of the curry are influenced

by Persian, Malay and Indian cuisines and

various theories are offered on the name

“massaman.” Some believe the savoury

word derived from the word “Mussulman”

an archaic word for ‘Muslim’ while the

other school of thought says that the

name came from the Malay word “masam”

meaning sour.

Sreerat Sripinyo, owner of Sri Trat

Restaurant on Sukhumvit Road remembers

her childhood and the food memories

associated with her family, including

massaman curry. An extended household

resulted in her mother serving as the

main cook who whipped up delicious Thai

dishes. Once the meals were ready to be

served with hot steamed rice, her mum

called for all the children to eat together.

As a young girl, Sreerat wasn’t busily

running and playing around the house like

other kids her age. Instead, she would stay

in the kitchen and be her mother’s little

helper. This has given her a clear memory

for every recipe as well as the exhilaration

of cooking with her mother.

Thus it’s recipes from their kitchen

that journey to their restaurant where

diners enjoy eastern Thai dishes with the

homemade touch. Authentic ingredients

from Trat Province are a must for their

restaurant located in the heart of Bangkok.

More than 80 dishes at Sri Trat

restaurant are both original recipes

from Sreerat’s mother along with

new inspirations. One of the featured

dishes is “massaman chicken curry

cooked with young durian”, her

family’s favourite curry. This dish is

not to be missed for the experience of

Trat’s authentic flavours. The balanced

taste of the massaman curry results

from the combination of original

ingredients from Trat, ranging from

the sweet flavour of palm sugar, the

sour flavour from tamarind juice to the

salty taste from krill paste and Three

Rabbit fish sauce, Trat’s famous and

preferred fish sauce brand. Another

key ingredient replacing potatoes is

Monthong durian, a fruit that’s the

pride of Trat. Pride in their hometown

and further homage is given in the

restaurant proudly named Sri Trat.

Reservations recommended. For more

information: facebook.com/sritrat


• 200g chicken thighs

(sliced into 2-inch pieces each)

• 100g of raw Monthong durian

(sliced into approximately 2-inch pieces each)

• 1kg coconut milk

• 1 tbsp cumin seeds (roasted)

• 2 tbsp peanuts (roasted)

For Massaman Curry Paste

• 5 big dry chillies (sliced)

• 2 stalks of lemongrass, sliced

• 4-5 galangal slices

• 1 tsp long pepper

• 1 tsp cumin

• 1 tsp coriander seeds

• 1 tsp krill paste

• 5 small shallot cloves

• 2 garlic cloves

• 1 tsp salt

• 1 tsp pepper


• 3 tbsp tamarind juice

• 100g palm sugar

• 2 cinnamon sticks, around 10g

• 3 tbsp fish sauce

Cooking Instructions

• Wrap the krill paste in banana leaf.

Grill until it releases a fragrance.

• Stir-fry the rest of the curry paste

ingredients (except the dry chillies,

salt and pepper) in a pan using

medium heat, about 5 minutes until

it turns yellow.

• Crush salt, pepper and dry chillies

together in a mortar. Slowly mix the

grilled krill paste and stir-fried curry

paste into the mortar.

• Prepare coconut milk by separating

the thick, creamier liquid from thin

coconut milk.

• Boil chicken thighs in thin coconut

milk using high heat until they’re


• Boil the thicker coconut milk with

high heat until it reaches a boil and

let it simmer. Add the crushed curry

paste and boil until it releases a

fragrance, then pour it in the pot

containing chicken thighs in thin

coconut milk. Mix them together

using high heat. Lower the heat

to medium.

• Add all the seasoning items, followed

by cumin seeds and peanuts. Lower

the heat and stir it for an hour. Then

put the durian in the pot and stir for 5

more minutes.

Other Ways to Have

Massaman in Bangkok



The restaurant names itself after the

word “baan” meaning home in Thai.

One of Baan’s most famous dishes is

‘massaman curry with braised lamb

belly.’ Made with local young lamb, the

curry also boasts Baan’s homemade

chilli paste. The love and care that this

restaurant has put into the food along

with quality ingredients are the secret

to this delightful dish. Baan’s massaman

curry is rich and perfect with a sweet and

balanced flavour, which goes well with

the succulent lamb belly.

baanbkk.com, +66 (0) 2655 8995




Together with the dramatic pavilion setting,

Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin offers stunning decor

that contrasts dark wood with shimmering

Thai silk. A pond of white lotuses sits in the

centre of the dining room as a tribute to

the lotus pond of Sra Pathum Palace.

All menus created by renowned

Michelin-starred chef Henrik Yde

Andersen are using authentic local

ingredients. Their beef massaman is

served with soup and tofu strips. Despite

having a separate soup, the flavour of

the dish is deeply rich, nourishing, and

reflects the blend of ancient Thai cuisine

and the creativity of modern culinary art.


+66 (0) 2162 9000



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