Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mussamun Curry with Beef, Potatoes, and Peanuts

Last week I had a revelation that I don't cook nearly enough Thai food and decided to fix that problem. This week has been devoted to Thai which has only left me wondering why I didn't delve into this cookbook sooner. This recipe takes a bit of time and a bit of investment in coconut milk and cream, but it could easily be scaled down into something a bit more reasonable. The curry paste lends it a bit of an Indian/Thai mix, but the recipe could easily be used with a pre-made curry paste as well. The most beautiful thing about this recipe though is how tender the coconut milk makes the beef. Also, the flavors only improve the next day after they've had some time to meld.

One year ago: Boston Cream Pie
Two years ago: Cocoa Brownies
Three years ago: Hockey and Baking

Mussamun Curry with Beef, Potatoes, and Peanuts (from Real Thai)
5 cups coconut milk
2 lb boneless beef, cut into 2" chunks
1 cup coconut cream
1/3 cup Mussamun Curry Paste
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
3 tbsp Tamarind Liquid
12 whole cardamom pods
6 cinnamon sticks
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
1 large onion, cut lengthwise into thick wedges
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
2 tbsp lime juice

1. In a large saucepan, bring coconut milk to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add beef chunks and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. (Note she has you add the potato rather late in the recipe. I was running behind on the curry paste and ended up adding it here somewhat around the 1 hour market to give the potato extra time to cook.)
2. In a small skillet over medium heat, bring coconut cream to a gentle boil. Cook for 6 - 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will become fragrant and thicken.
3. Add curry paste to cream and stir to dissolve. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes until it has a pleasing aroma.
4. Add curry paste to beef and stir well.
5. Add fish sauce, sugar, tamarind, cardamom, cinnamon, and potatoes (if you haven't already). Simmer 10 minutes.
6. Add onions and peanuts and simmer until potatoes are cooked, about 5 minutes (!).
7. Add lime juice to sharpen taste and serve.

Mussamun Curry Paste
1/3 cup dried red chilies
2 tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom (I used whole)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mace
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 stalks lemongrass
1 tbsp finely chopped galanga or ginger
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped garlic
1/2 cup coarsely chopped shalot
1 tbsp shrimp paste

1. Stem chiles, discards seeds, coarsely chop, and place in bowl. Add warm water and soak for 20 minutes. Drain.
2. Toast whole spices and set aside.
3. When cool, grind whole spices in spice grinder.
4. Toast ground spices and add to freshly ground whole spices.
5. Trim lemongrass stalks and finely chop.
6. Finally, using a method of your choice (food processor, blender, or mortar), grind to a paste.

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