Last night I decided to try cooking this. This is partly a challenge from, and partly a favour for my friend the lovely Jo Brydie who said the other week that she’d never been able to cook a ‘decent’ Massaman curry and asked if I’d have a go and record my results here. So here goes. (Hello Jo!)
I am slightly hamstrung by the fact that I’ve never eaten a Massaman curry so I don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like, nor have I ever tasted Jo’s ‘indecent’ Massaman curry so I don’t know what she thinks is wrong with it. Hey ho! Let’s call it a blind experiment! The end result tasted ok. I haven’t had Alberto’s verdict yet as he was late home from work and didn’t eat until after I’d gone to bed but I thought it was ok.
The recipe I used comes from a little book of Thai recipes that I’ve had for a few years and which my favourite Thai red curry recipe (the one with roasted duck and lychees) comes from. The resulting curry looked a lot less orangey than the one in the picture in the book – whether that’s indicative of failure I don’t know!
2 pieces of cinnamon stick
10 cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of Massaman curry paste (I used 1½ tablespoons as I didn’t want the resulting curry to be too spicy for Alberto.)
800g of beef flank or rump steak, cut into bite-sized cubes (As I was only cooking for 2 I halved this to 400g. I also used braising steak and added about 15 minutes to the cooking time.)
410ml of coconut milk
250ml of beef stock
½ a red pepper, deseeded and diced
2—3 potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
2cm piece of ginger, shredded
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
3 tablespoons of palm sugar
110 g roasted salted peanuts, without skin
3 tablespoons of tamarind purée (Sainsbury’s only had tamarind paste – I’m not sure if this is exactly the same thing, but it was my only option at short notice.)
Dry-fry the cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds and cloves in a wok over a low heat.
Stir all the ingredients around for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from the pan.
Heat the oil in the same wok and stir-fry the Massaman paste over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add the beef to the pan and stir for 3-5 minutes, stirring to ensure that it is well coated in the curry paste.
Add the coconut milk, beef stock, potatoes, red pepper, ginger, fish sauce, palm sugar, three-quarters of the roasted peanuts, tamarind purée and the dry-fried spices. Stir well to combine.
Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 50 to 60 minutes until the meat is tender and the potatoes are just cooked. (I simmered for a bit longer as I was using a less tender cut of meat)
Taste, then adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with the rest of the roasted peanuts.
Serve with plain rice.
Despite the darker colour I’m pleased with the way that this turned out – it was tasty, full of interesting, but not overpowering flavours and the meat was lovely and tender. The peanuts add a nicely contrasting texture to the creamy sauce. All good. Just don’t bite into a clove!!