Massaman curry could be described as the Thai version of all-American beefy vegetable stew, with several overlapping ingredients. It’s the base where the two stews part ways. This recipe is richly flavored with coconut milk, peanut butter, and Indian simmer sauce; by simply swapping in plant protein becomes a perfectly delectable vegan Massaman curry.
Indian simmer sauce, a flavor shortcut: To make this extra easy, I cross cultural boundaries and use one of my favorite shortcuts — Indian simmer sauce.
These incredibly delicious sauces, available in the Asian foods aisles of most well-stocked supermarkets, are a lifesaver for those of us who are too timid (or lazy, in my case) to use the countless spices that give complex flavors to Southeast Asian-style dishes.
Make sure to read labels, as some varieties of Indian simmer sauce contain dairy. Dairy-free varieties include Jalfrezi and Rogan Josh, among others. Madras Curry is also usually dairy-free, and that’s your ideal choice if you want a much spicier effect.
Here are more authentic-tasting recipes using Indian simmer sauce.
Plant protein options for vegan massaman curry
The original Massaman curry recipe is made with a variety of proteins — chicken, beef, and even duck, so here we dispense with the animals, but keep the variety of options.
Use an 8-to 12-ounce package of chunky chick’n or beef-style plant protein; seitan works well, too. For a change of pace, try using a couple of cans of mock duck, which is a type of seitan (use the delicious broth it’s packed in as a substitute for the broth called for in the ingredients.
Recipe adapted from Plant-Powered Protein: 125 Recipes for Using Today’s Amazing Meat Alternatives © 2020 by Nava Atlas. Reprinted by permission. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 1 tablespoon olive or other vegetable oil
- 8 to 12 ounces chick’n or beef-style plant-based protein, or seitan (regular or chick’n-style)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced (or see sweet potato variation in Notes)
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- 8 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and halved, or frozen cut green beans, thawed
- 12-ounce jar Indian simmer sauce
- 14-ounce can light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter Juice of 1 lime 1 to 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste or sriracha, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
- Cooked white rice for serving (Jasmine rice is good)
- Chopped peanuts or peanut halves
- Thinly sliced scallion
- Heat half of the oil in a soup pot. Add the plant protein and sauté over medium-high heat until it starts to turn golden on most sides. Remove to a plate or bowl.
- Heat the remaining oil in the same pot and add the onion. Sauté over medium heat until translucent, then add the garlic. Continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Add the potatoes and broth. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the green beans and continue to simmer until they’re tender-crisp and the potato is tender.
- Add the Indian simmer sauce, coconut milk, peanut butter, and lime juice. Return to a simmer.
- Taste, and add curry paste or sriracha to your liking. This can be left mild or made super spicy, as you prefer. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the cilantro.
- To serve, ladle into bowls and top with extra cilantro. If you’d like, you can serve over hot cooked rice. Sprinkle with the optional peanuts and/or scallion as well.
Variation: Replace two of the potatoes with a medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced.
If you like this curry-flavored stew, you might also enjoy …
See lots more delicious vegan soups & stews.