Thai cookery is a veritable melting pot of diverse influences and this dish is inspired by the Islamic cuisine of Malaysia. When I first started sharing Massaman curry in demonstrations it was far less well-known than Thai Red and Green Curry. Recently I have been seeing ready made versions aplenty on supermarket shelves. As with all curry pastes, this is so easy to prepare – everything into the blender and press ‘play.’ Once you have made your own you will turn your nose up at anything store bought. There is just NO comparison. The list of ingredients for this one is quite extensive, but it is totally worth it. I like to make this just after a big spice-shop while all of the bits are at their freshest. Make it in large batches and then freeze it in portions for an incredible Thai meal in minutes – without any of the chemical additives you will find in store-bought varieties. Potatoes are standard, but anything goes…one of those wonderful ‘fridge hoover’ recipes that will happily accept any stray veggies into the fold.
Working with a paste is a safe way for beginners to experiment with spices as the moisture of the paste will prevent accidental scorching. More paste can also be added with confidence until the flavour is just right. It is traditional to serve the Curry with chopped peanuts and Ajaat, a sweet and sour cucumber chutney.
For the paste:
6 Garlic cloves
3 Shallots (or half a medium onion)
2 Lemongrass stalks, sliced
1 piece Dried Galangal (soaked) or 1tsp Ground Galangal
½ Cup Lime Leaves
4 Red Chilis (seeded for a milder curry)
½ Red Pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2Tbsp Ground Coriander
1tsp Cardamom Seeds/Ground
½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1tsp Ground Nutmeg
1tsp Ground Cumin
1tsp Black Peppercorns
2Tbsp Soya Sauce
½ Cup Dhania (use roots too if possible)
Dhania, chopped peanuts and basil (to garnish)
- Place all ingredients in a blender. Start with 1/3 cup of oil and blend gradually adding more oil until a thick paste is formed. Will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
For the Curry:
- Use 4-5 tablespoons of paste to 1 tin Coconut cream and 3 cups of mixed vegetables. Potatoes are standard, but also consider Cauiflower, Peas, Green Beans, Broccoli, Red Pepper.
- Place a little oil in a wok or large saucepan. Sauté 1 Onion and 1 Stick Cinnamon with the curry paste.
- Add Coconut Milk and cook until light reddish brown. Add Potatoes and simmer gently until just cooked before adding remaining vegetables. Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes to preserve crunch. Adjust seasoning and garnish with Dhania/Basil leaves. Serve with Jasmine Rice, chopped peanuts and Ajaat (Cucumber Chutney).