Friday, May 21, 2010

Masterful Mussaman Curry recipe from Thailand

Yum, whatever you do don't miss Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi on an island in Phang Nga Bay off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, or the wonderful Mussaman Curry prepared there. It was one of the highlights of a superb meal  enjoyed in the special suite aptly named "the closest thing to heaven".

You will notice there's no photograph of the dish. That's because by the time the almost empty bowl reached my end of the table it wasn't very photogenic and frankly, the curry was so good it didn't stay on my plate long enough to photograph!

Mussaman Curry of Beef

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs  beef cheek, flank or shank
4 1/4 TBS Massaman spice paste
4  medium-sized sweet potatoes
8 small pickling onions or red shallots, peeled
4-5 cups coconut milk
5 Thai cardamom pads, roasted
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp palm sugar
2-5 TBS Tamarind water
2-3 TBS fish sauce
4 tsp white onions, cut in cubes
8 cherry tomatoes
6 seedless grapes
4 tsp peanuts, roasted

Cut the beef into cubes about the size of a small chicken egg, then wash and dry. Bring coconut milk to the boil, add beef and simmer, stirring occasionally for hours or until tender (you may need to add a little water during the braising). Drain off the braising liquid and set aside.
Add the past to beef in braising pot along with cardamom, cumin powder and coriander seeds. Fry over low heat, stirring regularly until fragrant. Add reserved braising liquid to cover. Season with palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind water and bring to the boil together with the sweet potatoes, white onions and pickled onions or shallots. Simmer the curry until the meat is soft.
Add grapes, cherry tomatoes and peanuts just before serving. The curry should taste equally sweet, sour and salty. Serve with rice.

Note: Few chefs ever say how many a Thai recipe will serve because it depends on how many other dishes are offered along with it. Prepare for this serving dish to be emptied.

NOTE: To find out more about Six Senses Hideaway and Phuket, go to this post at my other blog, Travel on the Level.

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