Mussaman curry is the perfect dish when you feel like a Thai curry, but someone in your house isn’t keen on anything too spicy; the use of coconut milk and coconut cream softens the heat of the curry paste. I love the combination of the succulent beef, soft potato and crunchy peanuts – the different textures are definitely part of this curry’s appeal.
In a strange fit of baby-brain, the last time I made this, I used Panang curry paste instead of Mussaman….both are quite mild, and the flavours are quite different, but it worked! However, a true Mussaman is much lighter in colour than shown here!
Mussaman Curry – serves 4-6
600ml coconut milk
675g stewing beef, cut into 2cm chunks (I used chuck steak)
250ml coconut cream
3T mussaman curry paste (use the recipe below, or buy a jar!)
2T fish sauce
1T palm sugar (brown sugar is a fine substitute)
4T tamarind juice (if using tamarind puree, use only 1-2T as it is much stronger)
6 cardamom pods
2.5cm piece cinnamon stick
225g potatoes, cut into even-sized chunks
1 onion, cut into wedges
50g roasted peanuts (unsalted)
plain boiled rice, to serve
Bring the coconut milk to a gentle boil in a wok or large pan. Add the beef and simmer for 1.25hrs, or until tender.
Pour the coconut cream into a small pot, the cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring, until an oily sheen appears on the surface. Add the curry paste and cook until fragrant.
Add peanuts and cook a further 5 minutes.
Recipe: Curry, by Mridula Baljekar
Homemade Mussaman Curry Paste
Soak 4 large dried red chillies in water until softened; chop roughly.
In a pan, dry-fry 2 cardamom pods, 1t coriander seeds, 1/4t cinnamon
1 1/2T chopped shallots, 1T chopped garlic, 1T chopped lemongrass, 1t chopped galangal, 1/2T chopped coriander root, and 1/2t turmeric.
Grind roasted ingredients with a mortar and pestle (or use a spice grinder or food processor); add chillies and pound/grind/process until paste is smooth.
Recipe: Asia Scenic Thai Cooking (cooking school in Chiang Mai, Thailand)