September 22, 2011

Fresh Massaman Curry

Curries are one of the staples of Thai cooking and though prepared curry pastes are readily available, fresh curry paste is especially delicious. Massaman curry paste is of Muslim origin, from southern Thailand and Massaman tends to be one of the more mild curries found in Thailand. It is believed the term Massaman is a colloquial word for Muslim. Massaman curry paste includes peanuts, potatoes and spices such as cumin, clove and nutmeg, which were brought to Thailand from Indonesia by traders. Because tofu is used in place of meat, fried tofu and potatoes and used along with more vegetables are added to give the resulting curry a full and rounded flavor. Fresh Thai spring rolls and cucumber watermelon slaw are both delicious with Massaman curry.

Meat may be sautéed on its own and in place of fried tofu.

For Kenneth, who loves curry.

For the Paste:

¼ c peanuts

1 shallot, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, trimmed

1 small chili pepper, trimmed

1 tbsp ginger or galangal, peeled

1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and cut into large pieces

2 tbsp fish sauce or tamari

1 tsp brown or palm sugar

1 tsp coriander

½ tbsp cumin

1/8 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp clove

¼ tsp cardamom

1. If using whole spices, grind them into a fine powder. Combine ingredients in a food processor and process into a smooth paste.

2. Makes about ½ c curry paste. Curry paste can be frozen for 2-3 months.

For the Curry:

1 c tofu, cubed and fried

4 new potatoes, sliced and fried

1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds

½ red pepper, trimmed diced

¼ lb green beans, trimmed

1 ear of corn, kernels removed from cob

1 onion, trimmed and finely diced

1 can coconut milk

2 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced

¼ c cilantro leaves

¼ c Thai basil

1 tbsp vegetable oil plus more for frying

salt and pepper

1. Place a large heavy pot, add oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion and 2-3 tbsp massaman curry paste; stir continually until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrot and continue sautéing for until carrot is slightly tender, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Next, add coconut milk to the pot and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add fried tofu, fried potatoes, red pepper, and green beans, combine and simmer until vegetables are brilliant in color, about 1 minute. Stir in corn, scallions, cilantro and basil and remove curry from heat.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve curry over jasmine rice.

Serves 3-4


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