Gaeng Massaman Gai (แกงมัสมั่นไก่) is a Thai curry based on Massaman curry paste that you can buy or make yourself. Bought is perfectly fine and saves a lot of time, but homemade tastes much better.
“Gai” means chicken, so today we are cooking a version with meat. Of course, you can make the curry purely vegetarian, with the vegetables of your choice. By the way, chickpeas harmonise well with the unique taste of Massaman Curry. Nothing restricts you and of course you can also prepare delicious fish with it.
Even more common than “Gai” is the “Nua” version, with beef. But we will explain the cooking technique required for this another time.
Whichever version you want to prepare, the basic principles are the same. However, beef needs a different treatment than chicken or fish or vegetables, so this must be taken into account.
Since chicken meat cooks very quickly and becomes dry if cooked too long, we first peel and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces of about 3 cm and boil them in salted water for 10 minutes.
Onions (or shallots) are cut into coarse pieces, we need surface.
We also roast peanuts, likewise in a pan but dry, without oil, until golden and fragrant.
Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
From here on you should use a wok, the heat and its distribution are simply different and important. If you don’t have a wok, use a pan that is as deep as possible and a fairly high heat.
First heat a small amount of neutral oil in your wok. Fry the curry paste in it for about 2 – 3 minutes over medium-high heat until it develops its full aroma.
Now add the coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar to the wok. Then add salt to taste.
After this time, we add our pieces of chicken breast and let them cook in the liquid for 10 min.
Then add the pre-cooked potatoes, the roasted peanuts and two bay leaves and mix well.
Now add the tamarind paste and cook for another 5 minutes.
Then mix in the roasted onions and your massaman curry is ready.
Served with Thai rice and a spoon – not chopsticks.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 4 people):
A little neutral vegetable oil
3 tablespoons massaman curry paste (or more to taste)
1 – 2 onions, depending on size
2 – 4 potatoes, depending on size
400 g chicken breast
500 ml coconut milk
100 g roasted peanuts
1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
4 teaspoons sugar (if available: palm sugar)
2 bay leaves
A little salt
2 – 3 tablespoons tamarind paste (if you have tamarind on hand, put a piece of about 10 g in 100 ml hot water, let it soak, squeeze it into the water and pass it through a fine sieve). Add slowly and according to taste.