What is Massaman Curry – Simple Homemade Massaman Curry
Not many can resist the deliciousness of a well-cooked curry. The blend of multiple herbs and spices accompanied with veggies, meat, fish, rice or bread is truly a belly-filling delight. At the same time, in our busy daily lives, having the time to prepare a great curry can be a bit of a struggle. So logically, if your taste buds are calling out for a curry, your instinct may tell you to grab a take-out. But as we all know, fast foods can have a major impact on your health. Homemade curry, on the other hand, tends to be much healthier as you have full control over what goes into your meal. In this article, we will show you how to make a quick and simple homemade massaman curry. You don’t need to be Thai or a professional chef to make this award-winning dish by yourself in the comfort of your homes. If you are pumped up for this tasty treat, let’s go!
The History Behind Massaman Curry?
Massaman curry has a compelling and fascinating history. Another name given to it is Matasaman curry. The rich story of this dish dates back to Persian history. It is understood that merchants from Persia introduced it to the Thai people, and it was immediately adopted by the Muslim population in Thailand as their main cuisine. Islamic scholars and historical writers have long believed the term massaman came from the title ‘Mussulman.’ Mussulman means Muslims. However, because spices and coconut are major ingredients in making the curry, many people are of the view that it originated from southern Thailand. Over the years, this staple curry has been influenced by many cuisines around the world, especially Indian and Malay cuisine. Because of its Islamic origin, chicken and beef were always used and preferred instead of pork, which is haram (forbidden) in Islam.
What is Massaman Curry?
Massaman curry is a distinct, rich, and relatively mild Thai staple. It shares a unique similarity with Nyonya cuisine knowns as chicken Kapitan because of its closeness to its next-door neighbor Malaysia. This mixture of Thai – Indian and Malay – style curry uses dry spices such as coriander, cumin, bay leaves, cardamom, star anise, mace and nutmeg, and cinnamon. These species are mixed with local flavors like dried chili peppers, lemongrass, galangal, shallots, white pepper, and garlic to produce massaman curry paste. Another vital ingredient is roasted peanuts, which gives it an extra bit of texture and richness. There are several variations of this curry using mutton, goat, beef, duck, or pork in places with minor Muslim populations. Massaman curry was ranked by the Cable News Network (CNN) in September 2011 as the world’s number one most delicious food in an article titled ‘The world’s 50 most delicious foods’.
How to Make Massaman Curry
The wait is finally over as now we present to you a delightful massaman curry recipe. Below are the ingredients for making the massaman curry paste, the braising liquid, and the massaman curry sauce.
Ingredients for the Massaman Curry Paste
- Put in 50gms of large red chilies (dried), seeded; put in water and nicely chopped
- 1 onion (red)
- 5 heads garlic
- 1 large rounded galangal
- 3 stubble lemongrass (only the pallid component)
- 50gms peanuts (roasted)
- 5 tablespoons of coriander seeds
- 5 tablespoons of cumin seeds
- 5 tablespoons of cloves
- 5 nutmeg
- 3/4 tablespoons of mace powder
- 2 big cinnamon skin
- 4 green cardamom
Ingredients for the Braising Liquid
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 large lump of galangal; finely chopped
- 1 pale part of stalk lemongrass; finely chopped
- 2 large red chilies; seeded and cut into pieces
- 5 onion; diced
- 200ml coconut liniment
- 3 cups of water
- 1 cup homecooked chicken staple
- 1/4 bowl fish sauce
- 150gms of sugar
Ingredients for the Curry Sauce
- 2kg beef; sliced into seven big pieces
- 1 bowl of sweet soy sauce
- 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 300ml of coconut liniment
- 5-6 tablespoons curry paste
- 2 diced shallots; diced
- 80gms pineapple; diced
- 1 tablespoon of palm sugar
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 2 large potatoes; cooked in hot water and diced
- 2-3 tablespoons of tamarind water
- 5 cups of peanuts; toasted and crushed
- Crispy shallots (we will use it to decorate the food)
The Cooking Process
The Curry Paste
- Chop the chilies, onion, lemongrass, peanuts, galangal into large parts or a rough paste.
- Reduce the spices into smaller bits or fragments and blend them. Next, add it to the paste together with salt (1/16 teaspoon).
- Blend once more until you get a more refined paste.
- Preserve in small quantities in the refrigerator.
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The Curry Sauce
- Soak the sliced beef in kecap manis (sweet soy sauce). Do it for a couple of hours or more.
- Nicely clean off the extra bit of sauce and put aside to be cooked.
- To maintain the natural juices and flavors of the boiling liquid, heat two tablespoon oil in big cookware, and put in the lemongrass, galangal and onions, chili. Cook until the flavor and fragrance is released for a couple of minutes and after sauce, stock, fish, coconut liniment, palm sugar, and water.
- Now begin to cook in hot water and put the sliced beef into this. Put a lid over it and begin to cook with the minimal amount of heat as you can until the beef is soft.
- Next up, add three tablespoon oil plus coconut cream together with a teaspoon of salt in a heavy cooking bowl. As soon as the cream detaches and the oil begins to split, put the curry paste and continue cooking while frequently stirring it for about 11 minutes. A sweet aroma will fill the kitchen during the preparation of the paste. Now, lower the heat a little and proceed to prepare the paste while regularly mixing until the oil begins to break off.
- Once done, put the cooked pieces of meat into the liquid, then divide it into smaller pieces. Remove the undesirable particles from the boiling liquid and set aside the stock.
- That done, heat the rest of the oil in a new pan and start to prepare the shallots. Pour the pieces of pineapple and keep cooking until it is tender. Next, mix the palm sugar to get a caramel variety or taste.
- Next, slowly pour it into the paste and continue cooking until the oil detaches. At this rate, take one of the refined boiling liquid and pour it together with the fish sauce and water. Have a taste of it, and enhance the flavor by adding salt if you want.
- Put the potatoes you boiled and the pieces of beef and simmer it over low heat. Put in the rest of the boiling liquid and cook until the meat, along with the potatoes, are warm in all parts.
- Voila, your dish is ready to be served. Bon Appetit.
Massaman Curry Cooking Tips:
- If you prefer more flavor, then add extra toppings. Alternatively, putting in additional red curry paste or red chili paste will alter the flavor and make it very spicy. Also, use more veggies or peanut butter if you like your sauce to be very thick.
- Prefer a lighter curry? Because coconut milk is the major ingredient of the sauce, it makes it rich, creamy and gives it a sweet taste. However, you can exchange up to half of the coconut milk with a component that is lighter such as vegetable broth or water. With the broth, reduce the flavor required as too much of it will add more saltiness.
- Are you a vegetarian? Massaman curry is veg-friendly as you can use tofu or tempeh instead of the meat or fish sauce. Also, it is vegan- friendly as you can use tofu or tempeh instead of the meat or fish sauce. Gladly, the above recipe is easy to alter to suit your health condition or dietary requirements without too much hoo-ha.
- Leftovers can be packaged and stored in a fridge for four days.
What’s The Best Cut Of Beef For Beef Massaman Curry?
A frequently asked question when making beef massaman curry is with regards to the best cut. Here is our suggestion:
Chuck steak (braising steak): This cut is derived from the forequarter of the cow and is made up of parts of the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm. It’s a thick but very delicious cut of meat. It consists of numerous connective tissues, which require a long period of slow cooking to make it soft and tender.
Silverside (bottom round): This cut is derived from the hindquarter which is slightly above the back leg. It’s a slender and less expensive cut of meat. The low amount of fat means it is not highly flavored, so it will be best if you use the quality stock and coconut milk to prepare it in. It can be cooked slowly; however, you must add more liquid so that it doesn’t become dry and very tough.
Looking For The Perfect Massaman Curry Accompaniment?
Your search is over. Massaman curry is appetizing and enjoyable on its own, but would also blend well with the following:
- Thai – inspired spring rolls with cashew dipping sauce
- Vegan papaya salad
- Thai made carrot salad with curried cashews
The history behind the massaman curry is a very rich and interesting one. Homemade massaman curry is easy to cook, and the ingredients are also not difficult to find on the market. This Thai meal is one staple you will love to prepare! It’s delicious, flavorful, and yummy! If you’re having guests round or you simply want to cook a dish for the family dinner, this will make for an absolute treat.