Massaman curry paste is the backbone of Thai chicken or beef Massaman curry. The spices and herbs are pounded using a motar and peste to extract the aromatic oil. Love Thai food? Don’t miss this!
If you live near an Indian market, you are going to find every single ingredient that you will use in making Massaman curry paste. But still, most of the ingredients you can find at your local grocery shop. Thai curries are simply delicious but this homemade paste has very distinctive characteristics. All the ingredients in the paste get roasted before the chopping, grinding and pounding starts. The spicy aromas from roasting and pounding gets hungry mouths drooling and stomachs rumbling for a Thai curry with Massaman curry paste. Only one thing remains to be said; once you make your own paste, you won’t go near a store again!
Spices that make it right
You will use this paste in flavoursome chicken, beef and lamb dishes, not forgetting delectable vegetarian curry dishes. Making the paste calls for things like palm sugar from the sugar palm trees, something like maple syrup. If you can’t find it, brown sugar is a lovely substitute. Lemongrass stalks Galangal, Kaffir lime leaves, shallots, garlic and all the other delicious spices will get chopped or pounded up after being roasted.
In Thailand, this is call “khua”. Cooks used to roast their spices over the fire traditionally, but many today just roast the ingredients in a hot wok – roasting the spices should be done individually simply because of the different sizes of the spices.
Some people choose to fry their ingredients when they make their paste and not roast them like they really should, and that means their curry paste is oilier. Roasting brings out the full fragrances as well and you will soon know the spices are ready by the way they crackle. A delightful aroma fills the air.
Massaman curry paste, beautifully included in a Thai curry is the reason that this spicy dish has not missed out on its chances of being voted top of the polls as the most delicious meal around.
- FOR THE CURRY PASTE
- Coriander seeds ( roasted*)- 1½ tsp
- Cloves ( roasted)- 4
- Cumin seeds ( roasted)- ½ tsp
- Siam seeds/ Green cardamon ( roasted)- 4
- Cinnamon stick ( roasted, 2.5 cm long)- 1
- A small nutmeg ( roasted)- 1
- Spur chilies( seeded, sliced, soaked in water to soften, drained)- 5-7
- Whole white peppercorns ( roasted)-1/2 tsp
- Salt- ½ tsp
- Galangal (finely chopped)- 1 tbsp
- Lemongrass stalks (bottom thirds only, finely sliced)
- Kaffir leaves ( finely chopped)- 1 tsp
- Garlic cloves ( peeled)- 10
- Shallots ( finely chopped)- 5
- Shrimp paste - 1 tsp ( if desired)
- Using a stone mortar and pestle grind roasted spices ( coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cardamon pods, cinnamon, nutmeg). Then transfer the ground spices to a small bowl and set aside for a while.
- Pound the chillies with salt until smooth, then add in the chopped galangal, lemongrass, kaffir leaves, garlic gloves, and shallots and pound finely until you get a fine paste. Finally, add in the ground spices and blend together.
- Massaman curry paste is ready.
Due to the different sizes of spices, they should be roasted individually. Simply heat a small pan or a skillet, add in the spices and toss them from time to time to prevent burning. The spices are ready when you can see them begging to crackle and can smell the fragrance.
NAMES OF SPICES IN THAI
Coriander seeds- Luuk-pha-chee
Red spur chilies- Phrik-chee-faa-daeng
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MASSAMAN CURRY PASTE FOR THE ULTIMATE CURRY DISH
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