Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The World's Most Delicious Dish - Two Recipes for Massaman Curry
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Truth really is stranger than fiction and I, never in a millon years, could have predicted this. Massaman curry was voted the most delicious dish in the world in a survey conducted by CNN International. The results of the poll can be found at CNN GO. While many might question its ranking in the list, few would dispute that this is a delicious dish. Bob and I happen to love it. We had lunch at a Thai restaurant on Saturday and Massaman curry was one of the dishes we ordered for our meal. This is a classic Thai entrée that's served on special occasions. It comes from southern Thailand, where many follow the teachings of Islam. Massaman is thought to be a variant pronunciation of the word Muslim and the spices used to make this stew reflect Indian assimilation, as well as Thai influences. Bob was curious as to why I hadn't featured recipes for this curry with you. The answer was simple. I thought most people, browsing through the recipe, would tire before they reached the end of the ingredient list. Better than 60% of those ingredients are spices, but if you are racing against the clock, any recipe that long is going to end up in the circular file. I've been there, done that and understand. Bob, however, remembered the curry I made when I was still working. It was fast, easy and Massaman-like. Better still, it could be on the table within an hour. It's a lovely recipe and I know that those of you who like curry will enjoy this dish. I did, however, want to share a recipe for the "real" thing this evening. So, tonight's post is going to be a twofer, with a recipe for curry paste thrown in as well. Both of my versions for Massaman curry are made with chicken, potatoes and peanuts. Beef could also be used, but I prefer to use chicken when I make this curry. One of these recipes has a sauce the consistency of a stew, the other is more soupy. Both are delicious served over rice. These days, it is possible to buy Massaman curry paste in large food chains that stock Asian foods. The commercial paste is perfectly adequate to use in the second recipe. It will lack the brightness of the homemade version and the heat will be more intense but it is usable and a real time saver. I enjoy both these recipes and I think those of you who try either one of them will be really pleased. Here are the recipes.
Quick Massaman Curry...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Food and Wine
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk or heavy cream
1/2 pound boiling potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4), cut into 12-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 pound plum tomatoes (about 4), cut into wedges
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1) Heat oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in broth and then coconut milk; bring to a simmer.
2) Stir in potatoes, cover, and cook over low heat until they are almost tender, about 12 minutes.
3) Add chicken to sauce, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in peanuts, tomatoes, cilantro, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn heat off, cover, and let steam until the chicken is just done, about 2 minutes longer. Serve with white rice. Yield: 4 servings.
Thai Massaman Curry with Chicken, Potatoes and Peanuts...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Nancie McDermott
2 cans (each 14-ounce) unsweetened coconut milk (about 3 -1/2 cups), divided
3 tablespoons massaman curry paste, store-bought or homemade (see below)
2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-size chunks, skin left on
1 large potato, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and sliced lengthwise into thick wedges
1/2 cup dry-roasted salted peanuts
6 cinnamon sticks, each about 3 inches long
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons palm sugar or light or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons tamarind liquid
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more if needed
1) Open 1 can of coconut milk and use a fork to stir contents until smooth and well combined. In a 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, bring 1/2 cup of stirred coconut milk to a boil over medium-high heat. Add curry paste and cook 1 minute, stirring and mashing paste into the coconut milk. Add chicken and cook 2 minutes, stirring often, until chicken begins to change color. Add all of remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, tamarind liquid and salt and bring to a boil.
2) Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until potato is tender and chicken is cooked through. Add 2 tablespoons of lime juice and stir well. Taste and add more, if desired. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, removing and discarding the cinnamon sticks, or leaving them in as a traditional garnish not to be eaten. Serve hot or warm. Yield: 8 servings.
Massaman Curry Paste...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Nancie McDermott
15 small dried red chili peppers
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped garlic
3 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass (about 3 stalks)
1 tablespoon minced fresh galangal or fresh ginger
Few tablespoons water
1) Stem chilies and cut them into small pieces, using kitchen scissors or a knife. There should be about 1/4 cup. Place in a small bowl and add warm water to cover. Let them soak for about 15 minutes until softened. Drain and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, place a small plate by the stove to hold the spices. Combine cumin and coriander in a small, dry frying pan. Place over medium heat and toast spices 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant and slightly darkened. Remove from heat and tip out onto plate. Add pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, and salt, and set aside.
3) In a blender or mini food processor, combine onion, garlic, lemongrass, galanga or ginger, 2 tablespoons water, drained chilies, and spices. Process to a fairly smooth, evenly colored paste, stopping often to scrape down sides and grind everything well. Add a little more water as needed to keep the blades moving.
4) Transfer the curry paste to a jar and seal airtight. Refrigerate until needed for up to 1 month. Yield: 1 cup.
Note: This paste can be frozen for up to 6 months. Consider freezing in tablespoon-size portion if you plan to defrost just enough for one curry at a time.
One Year Ago Today: Socca (Farinata)
Two Years Ago Today: Vegan Red Lentil Soup