Friday, 23 March 2012

Beef Massaman Curry

Although this is a Thai recipe, it lacks some of the characteristic flavours that many of us associate with Thai cooking. For a start, it is quite a mild dish, unlike most other Thai curries. The curry paste also contains a few of dried spices, which are not often used in Thai cuisine, and the resulting flavour seems almost Indian.
Even though it lacks the fire of a green curry, I think it may be my favourite variety of Thai curry, its flavour is rich and complex and is comforting whilst being anything but boring. So far I have only made it with beef, but you can also make it with chicken. Personally I think beef might be the better choice, it stands up well to the flavours, but I have eaten with with chicken in restaurants and enjoyed it too. Using beef has the added advantage of needing a long, slow cooking, which in turn does wonders for the flavours of the curry. It's even better eaten a day or too after cooking, the spices seem to mellow and deepen in the fridge.

2 400g tins coconut milk
1/2 quantity massaman curry paste
600g boneless beef, cut into small pieces- the sort of cut you would use for a casserole
1 onion, peeled and finely slice
abot 500g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2cm cubes
2 tbsp tamarind paste
palm sugar, to taste
fish sauce, to taste
Handful of cashews or peanuts-optional

Scoop off the thick layer of the coconut milk in each tin and put in a heavy based saucepan. There should be about half left in each tin. Add the curry paste to the pan, and cook over a high heat for a few minutes. Stir in the beef and the rest of the coconut milk, and top up with water so the beef is submerged. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting and leave to simmer until almost completely tender.
About 20 minutes before you want to eat, add the potatoes and the sliced onion to the pan and cook until the potatoes are cooked through. Season with the tamarind, palm sugar and fish sauce, and stir in the nuts just before eating.


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