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Adapted from The Curry Book: Memorable Flavors and Irresistibly Simple Recipes From Around the World, by Nancie McDermott, and found at splendidtable.com. Massaman curry hails from the south of Thailand. Similar to Malaysian curries, and with some similarities to Indian, Thai Mussamun curry has an abundance of warm spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. With lemongrass, fish sauce, and other classic Thai ingredients added, this curry is brimming with all the flavor and richness of Asian cuisines.
- 15 small dried red chili peppers
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped onion
- 1⁄2 cup chopped garlic
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass (about 3 stalks)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh galangal or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
- water (a few tablespoonsful)
- Stem the chilies and cut them into small pieces, using kitchen scissors or a knife. There should be about 1\4 cup. Place in a small bowl and add warm water to cover. Let them soak for about 15 minutes until softened. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place a small plate by the stove to hold the spices. Combine the cumin and coriander in a small, dry frying pan. Place over medium heat and toast the spices 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant and slightly darkened. Remove from the heat and tip out onto the plate. Add the pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, and salt, and set aside.
- In a blender or mini food processor, combine the onion, garlic, lemongrass, galanga or ginger, 2 tablespoons water, drained chilies, and spices. Process to a fairly smooth, evenly colored paste, stopping often to scrape down the sides and grind everything well. Add a little more water as needed to keep the blades moving.
- Transfer the curry paste to a jar and seal airtight. Refrigerate until needed for up to 1 month.
- Note: This paste can be frozen for up to 6 months. Consider freezing in tablespoon-size portion if you plan to defrost just enough for one curry at a time.