Here is another success story from “Andreea actually follows a recipe” series 🙂 While I cook almost everything from scratch, certain food projects do provide more satisfaction than others, and making this curry paste was definitely satisfying and worth the extra time. In my humble opinion, this is the best massaman chicken curry I’ve ever had, and I have the amazing chefs at Cook’s Illustrated (Mar-Apr 2014 issue) to thank for! When I first opened a CI magazine, I wondered why a thin, mostly black and white food magazine can cost so much. This question was quickly answered as I read through the recipes and advice columns…you don’t pay for pretty pictures, you pay for the research and testing that goes behind each published recipe! If however you don’t have the time to prepare the paste from scratch or do not own a food processor, Bon Appetit recommends Maesri Thai massaman curry paste which can be purchased from Amazon. Seriously, is there anything you cannot purchase from Amazon these days? 🙂
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
- ~ 1 cup massaman curry paste (6 dry New Mexican chiles, 4 shallots, 7 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup fresh ginger, 1/4 cup water, 41/2 tsps lime juice, 41/2 tsps vegetable oil, 1 Tb fish sauce, 1 tsp five-spice powder, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp pepper)
- 1 Tb vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 can coconut milk (I used the cream from TJs, do not use light versions)
- 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes cut into ~1 inch pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup roasted peanuts
- salt to taste (1/2-1 tsp, remember the paste has fish sauce!)
- ~1 lb chicken chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tsps lime zest
- cilantro for garnish
- rice and sriracha sauce for serving
Preheat oven to 350 F. Roast chiles on a aluminum foil covered baking sheet for 5-10 min or until puffed and fragrant. Let cool.
Preheat broiler. Broil unpeeled shallots and garlic cloves until soft and slightly charred (~10 min). Let cool then peel.
Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles, break into 1-2 inch pieces, and place into the food processor. Process until ground (1-2 min). Add the peeled shallots and garlic, as well as the remaining ingredients. Process until a smooth paste forms (a few minutes). Marvel at your amazing curry paste 😉 Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the curry, heat oil in a large skillet/saucepan over medium heat. Add curry paste and cook until it starts browning (a few minutes). If you look at the contact surface between the skillet and the paste you will see the change in color.
Add the coconut milk, broth, onion, potatoes, and peanuts. Stir until homogenous and let simmer until potatoes are starting to get tender (10-15 min).
Add chicken and continue simmering until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender (10-15 min). Turn off the stove and add lemon zest.
Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro. Sriracha can be used to add some spiciness to it.
This is a creamy and vibrant mild curry! The lime juice and zest make it taste very fresh, a quality I don’t usually encounter in the restaurant served massaman curry. Give this a try and most likely you are going to scratch massaman curry from your take out orders…unless you do have an amazing Thai restaurant in your neighborhood that can make it better, in which case consider tipping extra and/or sharing the name of the restaurant 😉