Scooped: Massaman and Coconut Curry Sorbet

Scooped: Massaman and Coconut Curry Sorbet

Coconut and coconut milk. [Photograph: kthread on Flickr]

Massaman curry has always been my favorite of the Thai curries. I particularly appreciate its complex sweetness, and have long wanted to work it into a dessert. The Southern Thai curry, thought to be influenced by Indonesian cuisine, is characterized by warm spices like star anise, mace or nutmeg, and cinnamon. In this sorbet, the rich coconut is spiked with tangy, spicy curry and sharp lime. It's a perfect March dessert: the deep flavors of winter get pierced by spring's brightness.

The coconut cream ensures that the final product is smooth and incredibly creamy. Top it with roasted peanuts and dig in.

A note about choosing an appropriate curry paste: Generally, I'd recommend using the curry pastes that come in colorful round tubs sold at most Asian markets. Check the ingredients before you buy, though, especially for this recipe—many curry pastes contain ground dried shrimp or anchovies, which may not be the most appropriate for a sorbet. Find a paste that doesn't have MSG or any other flavor enhancers or preservatives (those are generally of a higher quality).

About the authors:
Ethan Frisch is the chef and co-mastermind behind Guerrilla Ice Cream. He's traveled around the world (30 countries, 5 continents) and worked as a pastry chef and line cook in some of NYC's great (and not so great) restaurants. He currently lives in London, where he really misses New York City tap water.

Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries.

  • Yield:1 quart
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:6-8 hours


  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon massaman curry paste
  • 2/3 cup sugar (raw or even palm sugar are best, if you've got them)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • A pinch of cinnamon powder
  • Optional: An extra pinch of chili flakes or powder, if you like your sorbets spicy


  1. 1.

    Mix all the ingredients together until fully combined.

  2. 2.

    Chill overnight (or at least 4 hours) in the fridge, and spin in ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.