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


Ginny Hartzler said...

Wow, and here I have never even heard of this dish!!! It does look very good. I have never even seen a recipe for it anywhere!

Jeannie said...

This is a very delicious dish no doubt about it! With all the spices added, it's not surprising huh?

Banana Wonder said...

Wow, Massaman Curry?! Oh I love it!!!

Unknown said...

Looks abos delicious Mary thank you for sharing!

Diane said...

I love curry so will give these a try. Keep well. Diane

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

All of these recipes would be welcome at our table.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Both sound delicious. Now I will have to try the most delicious dish in the world, as I would not want to be left out!

Anonymous said...

I have never eaten any curry dish, I know thats odd but in our small Northern Canadian towm, curries are few and far between, I will love to try making this, The smell alone will be heavenly

Rambling Tart said...

Wow, I'm really surprised by this too, Mary! I do love curry though, and would happily try either of these variations. :-)

Barbara said...

That's amazing, Mary. I love it, but....the most delicious dish in the world?
Never have made it though. Perhaps I better, you'd have the best recipes!

Kim said...

See, right know, I'm bookmarking the second recipe of curry (with the homemade paste) because I know I will LOVE it, even if I never tried it! Thank you for sharing these recipes with us!

Tanna said...

Would never have guessed that one in a million years!! Does sound very good. Since I've never has the most delicious recipe in the world, I probably need to give it a go. blessings ~ tanna

Michael said...

I love Massaman curry, and have a recipe on my blog too! So so good, which reminds me I need to make it again soon!! Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I have had Massamn curry before.. is it the best dish ever? It's pretty close :)

Anonymous said...

Who would have thought! this curry certainly has wonderful ingredients and spices - I can almost smell it!
Mary x

From the Kitchen said...

I forgive you, Mary, for the lack of sleep last night. This promises to be worth the wait. I actually have most of the ingredients on hand. I think this will be a perfect snowed-in day dish to prepare. Still no snow in the forecast, however. Now I'm off to have a nap.


Big Dude said...

This looks like a good opportunity to expand my very limited taste buds. There are a lot of people in that part of the world and Thai cooking seems to be sweeping the globe, so perhaps the ranking makes sense. Which version would you suggest I try?

Claudia said...

You are correct in that I sit down with my Indian cookbook only on weekends - even thought half of the ingredient list tend to be spices. This is indeed a delicious dish - but I never would have guessed it was a world favorite. Fun facts to chew on.

June said...

We are such curry freaks in this house, I'll be making it the long way soon. As we "speak" the anticipation level is very high!

pam said...

I can't believe I've never had it!

Gillian Layne said...

This looks delicious, and celebrates the fact that creating the dish itself should be an event and not a timed race. Thanks for sharing! :)

grubarazzi said...

I LOVE both versions. wow. I can't wait to make these.

David said...

Mary, We've never done any curry dishes at home...although we do order them and like them when we're out. This recipe may make us a little more adventurous in our own kitchen! Thanks and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

The Blonde Duck said...

I've always wanted to try curry!

tasteofbeirut said...

Thanks for posting this, I had been looking for a great curry and this is it!

cucchiaiopieno.com.br said...

Que alegria ao receber a tua visita!
Gostei muito do teu blog, de tuas receitas.
Adoro pratos feitos com curry!
Um abraço

Jennifer Kendall said...

these sound delicious Mary...definitely have to try :) thank you for sharing!

Cheryl said...

Mary I am tickled to be a follower of your blog! What wonderful blog love it! I will be here often so glad your keeping the coffee pot full hehe Have a Wonderful Day
Peace and Blessing
Cheryl...Snatch JOY~!

Catherine said...

Dear Mary, All I can say is, "Wow" that looks good. Blessings my friend, Catherine xo

Gaijina said...

Mary, your comment was so nice! Thank you! And now that I had a look at your blog, I feel really flattered because it's just AWESOME and a compliment from you means a lot. i see that we have many flavors that we both like... all thai or oriental in general, this is great! this masaman curry and the chicken with tamarind and coconut glaze sounds sooo yummy anytime! I miss thailand so much for its amazing food. have you been there? you'd love it!! I'll be back to get ideas from your wonderful recipes!

Joanne said...

Wow...crazy. Especially since massaman curry is my LEAST favorite of thai curries. Maybe I haven't been eating the right recipes...

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

That title caught my attention for sure! I want to try the most delicious dish in the world!!!!

tender b. said...

How could one ever pass on something called the world's most delicious dish?

The Harried Cook said...

I had never heard of Massaman curry until recently though I have never eaten it. I thought the name was very interesting :) I would love to try your recipes! thanks for sharing, Mary!

My Little Space said...

Wow, you made them all sounded so luscious, Mary. Thanks of all the quickie curry recipes.

http://platanosmangoes.com said...

Curry has never been a favorite of mine, but lately I am experimenting with it. I guess as one gets older taste buds change for the best. Great plating and post.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Jenn, word verification is preventing me from posting on your blog. You might want to look into it.I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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