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massaman curry

Now that we’ve moved and unpacked finally………also thankfully, its time to have people to admire the house and tell us what a good decision we made !!! Admit it, thats why we have a housewarming party !!!! Anyway, we aren’t throwing a party …..not that V and I don’t like a good party but we have come to realize that we prefer smaller gatherings with one or two families ! Its definitely easier on me , cooking wise !!! I was going thru recipes for our first such gathering when I came across this recipe and I remembered that I had made this before leaving for India and had not gotten around to posting it !!!! Its a “ MASSAMAN CURRY or GENG MUSSAMAN “ . It is a muslim style curry from Thailand. It is made with meat ….I adapted it for veggies and tofu. I also sometimes make a rice with the paste but thats a recipe for another day !!

If you are lucky enough to find a paste , in my case without fish sauce or shrimp paste, use it. But if you don’t have it , I have a recipe for the paste which comes quite close to the original. I really like this curry…..rich, earthy , spicy and a hint of sourness from tamarind !! Unlike the other Laotian based curries like Green, Red etc. , this one is Indian in origin and is mostly made in central and souther Thailand by the muslim communities that live there. The paste is a mixture of spices, nuts along with other typical Thai ingredients. One of the biggest differences is that you use bay leaves instead of Kaffir Lime leaves. Apparently , in the old days, it was made with beef or chicken( since muslims don’t eat pork ) and seville oranges !!! I didn’t use oranges but did use the other requisite ingredients except meat !!!! I served the curry with coconut rice.

massaman curry


¼ cup cubed , peeled Potatoes

¼ cup cubed , peeled Carrots

¼ cup peeled Pearl Onions

¼ cup Cauliflower florets

¼ cup Broccoli Florets

3 tbsp Peanuts

¾ cup Tofu, cubed

3-4 tbsp Massaman Curry Paste

1 ½ cups Coconut Milk

½ cup Tamarind Pulp or ½ tbsp Tamarind Paste

2 tbsp palm Sugar

½ inch Cinnamon stick

1 Bay leaf

seeds from 2-3 Cardamom pods

1 tsp Salt

6-8 tbsp Oil

Do not shake the can of coconut milk before opening it. Spoon out the thick coconut cream on top and set it aside.

Parboil the remaining veggies in the thin coconut milk with cinnamon and cardamom.

Roast the potato cubes in the oven till golden brown.

Sauté the peanuts in 1 tbsp oil and set aside.

In 4-5 tbsp oil, pan fry the tofu and set aside.

In the other 2 tbsp oil, sauté the paste for a couple of minutes over a low heat.

Add the coconut cream and sauté till it starts breaking, stirring constantly.

Add the tamarind pulp, sugar and salt. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add the coconut broth along with the spices. Simmer till slightly thick.

Add the veggies, potatoes, tofu and peanuts.

Simmer for a couple of minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

Serve with jasmine rice or coconut rice.

Massaman Curry Paste :

8-12 dried Red Chilies

5 tbsp Coriander Seeds

2 ½ tbsp Cumin Seeds

1 tbsp Cardamom pods

5 Cloves

2 Cinnamon Sticks

2 Star Anise

6 oz Shallots

6 oz Garlic Cloves

2 oz chopped Lemongrass

5 tbsp Galangal

½ tbsp Salt

Roast each of the spices individually.Remove the cardamom seeds from the pods. Grind the roasted spices with cardamom seeds. Set aside.

Roast the rest of the ingredients with a little water to prevent them from scorching . Roast till brown and fragrant.

Cool and peel the shallots and garlic. Grind to a puree and then combine with spices.

Use as desired.

massaman curry

Massaman curry should be fragrant with spices, earthy, slightly sweet with a subtle sourness from the tamarind. It tastes better if allowed to rest before serving. The longer it sits the better it tastes ! I love this mix of Indian and Thai flavours. The original uses only potatoes, peanuts and onions but I added a few more veggies for bulk and ……I like them !!!

If you wish to be even more original, add Seville oranges with the juice. That is how I had it the first time…….in a hole in wall restaurant in Chicago with N and my sis S. I still maintain that it was some of the best thai food I have ever eaten !!!!! If you cannot find Seville oranges, which are also known as bitter oranges, use some lime juice mixed with orange juice. It comes close.

The paste yields about a cup . It can be stored in the freezer or fridge for about 3 months.I also use this paste to make Massaman rice. It tastes equally good. Well, I’ll post that recipe some other time. Meanwhile enjoy this one !!!