Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
This is an unusual Thai curry in that it contains peanuts and tamarind water and there are many variations. It is equally good prepared with chicken, rather than beef. King Rama V1 said in one of his poems, ‘A lady who makes a good masaman will never be short of suitors’.
- 2 1⁄4 lbs chuck steaks, cut into 1 inch squares
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- nam pla (fish sauce)
- 3 tablespoons tamarind juice
- coconut sugar, to taste
- 7 dried chilies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon shredded lemongrass
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cardamom seeds
- 1⁄4 whole fresh nutmeg, grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 shallots, peeled and broiled
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1⁄2 teaspoon shrimp paste (kapi)
- Put the steak and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
- To make the curry paste: Put the chilies in a pan with the pepper, coriander, cumin, lemon grass, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Cook over low heat until the mixture browns, stirring constantly. Transfer to a mortar and pound to a smooth paste. Add the remaining ingredients and pound the mixture until smooth.
- Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the coconut cream (coconut milk) to the liquid in the pan and heat gently, stirring frequently. Add the peanuts and a little nam pla. Boil the liquid until reduced in volume by one third. Add the prepared curry paste and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Return the meat to the pan and cover with a tight fitting lid. Bring back to the boil and continue cooking until the meat is very tender. Add the tamarind water with coconut sugar and nam pla to taste. Serve hot. Serves 6.
- NOTE: Tamarind.Also known as asam or assem. An acid flavoured fruit resembling a bean pod. Sold as dried tamarind pulp in blocks and is dark brown in colour. The dried tamarind pulp must be made into tamarind water before using:-Soak about 1 ounce tamarind pulp in 1 1/4 cups water for 5 to 10 minutes, then squeeze, strain and use the water. The longer left to soak, the stronger the flavour.
- Lime, lemon or mango juice or vinegar may be used as substitutes but the flavour of the finished dish but will not be the same. Tamarind paste should be refrigerated once opened, in which case it will keep indefinitely. Both tamarind pulp and tamarind paste are available at Asian stores.
- Terasi.Also known as balachan/blacan (Malaysian) Kapi (Thailand) and ngapi (Burma). A kind of pungent shrimp paste, used in very small quantities.
- Coconut sugar.Also known as palm sugar. Brown sugar may be substituted.
- Nam pla is Thailand fish sauce.
- Lemon grass, fresh lemon grass is available from Asian stores. The lower third of the stalk, the bulb like portion, is the part to use when a recipe specifies ‘chopped or sliced lemon grass’. Alternatively, the whole stalk may be bruised and added during cooking, but then it should be removed before serving. Dried lemon grass is a good substitute:--Soak in hot water for about 2 hours before using then remove from the dish before serving. 1 Tablespoon dried lemon grass is roughly equivalent to 1 stalk fresh. Powdered lemon grass is also available.
- The Encyclopedia of Asian Cooking.
The way this recipe is written is extremely helpful. So many useful tips that made my experience in the Asian store MUCH easier than it would have been otherwise. For example, I would never expect fish sauce will have its own large section, each from different countries with obviously different names. Really as a recipe it doesnt get more informational and helpful than this! As for the overall flavor of the dish, well it wasnt really what I had hoped for. I would say mediocre at best. While not an especially attractive dish, the chunks of meat were very tender and the texture of the finished curry was smooth and nice. The addition of the peanuts really gives it some life. I had originally served it with sticky rice, and it didnt go over well with the family. However, I used the leftovers the next day and mixed it into some rice I cooked with coconut milk and some shredded ginger to make a kind of one pot meal. This seemed to, in my families unanimous opinion give it more life and depth. This way it sort of resembled a middle eastern Fattah with an Asian twist. Overall, a fun dish to make and play with. Thank you!