Monday, October 19, 2015

Massaman Lamb Curry with Sweet Potato

Thai food is one of those few foods that I still don't feel guilty about ordering for delivery when I'm too lazy to cook (sushi is the other big one), because I know they'll do a better job than me. I should just enjoy that state, but for some reason, I still feel the need to try to improve my Thai skills. After a couple of months in Australia, I decided I needed some local cookbooks to better acquaint me with the local produce, seafood, and cuts of meat. Spirit House popped up a few times in my review of cookbooks and I was drawn to the fact that that was also the name of where we got married. So far, the cookbook seems very accessible for a Thai book, often blending Australian ingredients with Thai flavours. Massaman curry is generally made with beef and potatoes, but lamb and sweet potato make a great variation (not to mention I had both on hand!). The recipe called for lamb leg, but I had stewing lamb (from the shoulder), so I significantly increased the cook time (think 2 hours for the first simmer) to ensure that my meat was perfectly tender. I found the sauce was a little on the thin side (although the coconut milk was also very thin) which seems to be the style here so I reduced further (actually a little too much!). The notes say making this ahead improves the flavor, so I did so. I haven't made it multiple times though so I can't compare! The end result was just as satisfying though as I hoped it would be. I'm eager to try more from this book.

Two years ago: Duck Burgers with Shiitake Mushroom Ketchup
Three years ago: Duck Stew with Black Cardamom and Cherries
Four years ago: Lamb Stir-Fry
Five years ago: Celebration Yellow Rice
Six years ago: Stuffed Zucchini

Massaman Lamb Curry with Sweet Potato (from Spirit House)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
500g lamb leg, diced (see notes if using shoulder)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, cut into bite-sized dice
2 cups coconut milk
2 tbsp Massaman Curry Paste
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup tamarind water
Cooked jasmine rice

1. Heat oil in wok and sear the meat.
2. Add onion and cook for about half a minute.
3. Add enough water to cover, bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. (If doing the longer simmer, you'll want to cover.)
4. Add the sweet potatoes, cover the wok and simmer until partially cooked, 5 minutes.
5. Strain out meat and vegetables, reserving the broth to thin the sauce later if necessary (it wasn't for me).
6. Pour thick coconut cream from top of milk into the now empty wok, stir in curry paste, and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Mix in sweet potato, meat, and peanuts. Stir in rest of coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, and tamarind, stirring to dissolve sugar.
8. Simmer until potatoes are cooked, about 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

Massaman Curry Paste
10g dried red chiles
2 cardamom seeds, roasted
1 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, roasted
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, roasted
1 1/2 tsp shrimp paste, roasted
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stalk lemongrass, finely sliced
1 tbsp peeled and finely chopped galangal
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1. Soak chilies in hot water for 30 minutes. Remove from water and chop finely.
2. Combine roasted spices, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon and pound in a mortar and pestle. (I cheated and used a mini food processor.)
3. Add remaining ingredients and process to a paste, using some of the soaking water if necessary.

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