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Massaman Curry Paste (Nam Phrik Kaeng Massaman)
Massamon Curry is a favourite of many both in Thailand and in the US, Europe, Australia, and Canada. It is a rich, mild curry namd for the Muslim people of the South of Thailand. It is an exotic blend of fragrant spie ces including whole cardamon, whole cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon, as well as garlic, shallots and the typical Thai ingredients of lemongrass and kapi (shrimp pate).
Massaman style is most likely a development of spices brought from Goa by the Portuguese and of Islamic origin. It is similar in concept to the "sour and hot" Goan style vindaloo dishes. By Thai standards this is usually a fairly mild curry. It is a good way to try Thai curries without first attempting a fiery Thai curry. This recipe is of Issan origin and varies from the Bangkok Style or Southern Style Massaman.
Remember a recipe is only a reference and each cook should be creative balancing the spices using more or less according to your palate.
Take out your mortar and pestle, pour a cool one, and settle in to pound away create amazing Thai curry paste. I suggest making enough curry paste to allow you to tuck away enough for another meal or two. Place the prepared curry paste in a glass jar and place in the refrigerator where it will keep for several weeks.
6 dried Thai chiles, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, deseeded
6 Tbs. chopped shallots
4 Tbs. minced garlic
2 tsp. minced galangal
3 Tbs. chopped lemon grass
1 Tbs. coriander seeds
2 tsp. cumin seeds
10 pepper corns
2 tsp. shrimp paste (Kapi) roasted on a tinfoil piece in toaster oven until fragrant
1 tsp. salt
Heat wok over low-medium heat, add cloves, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds and dry fry for 5 to 6 minutes to bring out the flavours. Then grind in spice grinder ubtil a fine powder.
Place the shallots, garlic, galangal, and lemongrass in a mortor, and pound with the pestle until a smooth paste. Add the shrimp paste and pound again until all ingredients are combibed.
This can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for about 3-4 months.
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