Chicken Massaman curry
Well worth the effort
Massaman or matsaman is not a native Thai word. It is generally thought to refer to the Muslims with earlier writers from the mid-19th century calling the dish "Mussulman curry"; Mussulman being an archaic form of the word Muslim.
- 450 g (1 lb) of boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 500g/1lb 2oz of boiling potatoes, cut into matchbox sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 5 cm (2") fresh ginger, peeled and roughly grated
- 2 red chillies, sliced, or to taste
- 142 ml (¼ pint) of good strong chicken stock
- 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped and bashed in a pestle and mortar, or 3 tablespoon prepared lemongrass
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground white cumin seeds
- Seeds from 2 black cardamom pods, freshly ground
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
- 2 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce)
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
- 1 tablespoon jaggery or brown sugar
- 1 small red pepper, de-seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 large fresh tomato, peeled if you wish, and chopped
- If you have the time, marinade the chicken thighs in a little lemon or lime juice and a large pinch of salt for a few hours a cool place.
- Add the ghee or vegetable oil to a wok and saute the onions. Once they are lightly browned, stir fry the ginger, garlic and chillies for a minute or so. Don't allow the garlic to burn.
- Add kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin seeds, ground cardamom, ground cumin seeds, black pepper, tamarind paste, nam pla, shrimp paste and jaggery or brown sugar.
- Mix this well to combine and add the chicken stock and coconut milk.
- Add the potatoes and chicken pieces, bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.
- Pop the chopped tomato and red pepper into the curry when there is 15 minutes to go.
There is no need to peel ginger. As a result of attending a Thai cookery demo, we have learnt that peeling ginger is unnecessary unless for aesthetic purposes as the skin is high in fibre and full of flavour. However, do remove any bits that have become tough or woody.
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