Ahhh, who doesn't dream about white beaches, blue seas and wonderfully exotic foods?!!! Well, maybe you can't have a beach or the sea under reach, but you can travel thanks to your tastebuds...
I love Thai curries which I find addictive and I'm also a BIG peanut eater, so with this dish I'm the most happy woman around!!!
"Massaman Curry" or "Nam Phrik Kaeng Matsaman" is a dish originating from the very south of Thailand where the muslims represent 60% of the population. It is heavily influenced by muslim and Indian food, and it's flavours are reminiscent of Malaysian curries with their warm spices like cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
This "Massaman Curry" is highly fragrant, spicy and ever so round tasting. The peanuts add a nutty flavour that is very pleasant and reminds us a little of Satay, the only difference lying within the components of the curry pastes which are disimilar...
So, If you like aromatic curries, then this one's definitely for you!
This recipe originates from the cookbook "Easy Thai Style Cookery" released by the Australian Women's Weekly, but this one here presents slight differences to the one in the book, as I have customized/personalized it for a better result!
6 Baby white onions, peeled
400ml Coconut milk
150g (1 Cup) Peanuts, toasted and finely ground
2 Tsp Tamarind paste
Fish sauce to taste (instead of salt)
1/4 Tsp Ground cloves
1/4 Tsp Ground cardamom
1/4 Tsp Ground cinnamon
3 Tbs Lime juice
1 Tsp Palm sugar
Extra oil for frying
500g Beef tenderloin, cut into thin square slices of about 5cmx5cm
2 Tbs Peanut oil
4 Tbs Fish sauce
1 Tsp Massaman curry paste
Massaman curry paste:
2 Tsp Dried chilli flakes
170g Shallots, finely chopped
3 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbs Fresh lemongrass, chopped
1 Tbs Fresh galangal, chopped
2 Tsp Fresh coriander root, chopped
1 Tsp Lime rind, grated
1/2 Tsp Shrimp paste
1 Fresh kaffir lime leaf, chopped
1 Tsp Paprika powder
1/2 Turmeric powder
1/2 Tsp Cumin seeds, toasted
2 Tsp Peanut oil
1. In a bowl, combine the beef slices, 2 tablespoons oil, fish sauce and 1 teaspoon of the Massaman curry paste. Let marinade for about 2 hours.
2. During the meantime, with a mortar and pestle (see method), grind all curry paste ingredients in order to get a smooth paste.
3. Heat a pan, add the onions and fry. Reserve.
4. In the same pan, stir-fry the beef in batches.
5. Combine the meat, onions, coconut milk and peanuts. Simmer, uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
6. Stir in the curry paste, fish sauce, tamarind paste, spices (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon), lime juice and palm sugar.
7. Simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Serve.
If you don't have shallots, you can also use red onions.
Instead of a mortar and pestle, you can use your blender or food processor, but the result will not be the same (quality and taste-wise) as when pound.
You can replace the palm sugar by brown sugar.
You can replace the beef by pork or chicken.
Don't boil the coconut milk, otherwise it will curdle.
Once ready, the curry sauce is very thick (paste consistency) and not runny at all, unlike with other Thai curries.
Eat this dish with jasmine rice or glutinous rice and ajad (Thai cucumber salad/relish).
(Koh Lipe -Pic by Jan Wiren www.trekearth.com)