Curry is not a fixed term and curry is not just curry.
In Indian cuisine, spices are dry roasted or roasted in clarified butter, and their combinations lend fascinating complexities of flavours to dishes.
In North African or Turkish cuisine, spice mixtures are used that lead to similar effects.
Thai cuisine mainly uses spice pastes, which vary according to household and season and are prepared in-house. You can buy decent ready-made products, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Especially if you want to cook Thai food spontaneously, such pastes are a great help.
But if you make them yourself, you understand this cuisine better and, above all, you can vary them according to your personal taste. Therefore, over time, we will describe all of Thailand’s essential curry pastes.
Today: Massaman Curry Paste.
As always, the variations are endless. We’ll just introduce you to a mixture that we particularly like.
You need quite a lot of spices. If they are not already ground, dry roast them without fat for a minute or two until they start to fragrance.
But not the dried chillies. Cut them in half with scissors and shake out the – far too spicy – seeds. The remaining outer shell is then placed in cold water for at least 15 minutes.
An important tip: Whenever you work with chillies, wash your hands ASAP, very thoroughly and preferably several times. Otherwise you will experience how sensitive parts of the body (for example the eyes, but it can be worse) react to this stimulus!
The fresh ingredients – galangal, coriander root, shallots and garlic – are not pre-treated.
With the lemongrass, make sure you only use the white, softer and thicker end of the stalks.
The peanuts are also roasted, for 3 – 4 minutes.
Then you work either with a mortar or a food processor, such as a Moulinette.
In the mortar, the ingredients are gradually crushed and then blended. However, the food processor delivers just as good results and saves you a lot of time and effort.
In the end, you will have produced about 150 g of curry paste and tremendous aromas.
What you can do with this paste, we will show you another time.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 150 g curry paste or a dish for 6 – 8 people):
6 – 8 dried chillies, according to taste
2 green cardamom pods or 1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black or white pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional, but great)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 – 2 tablespoons galangal
3 tablespoons lemongrass
1 tablespoon coriander root
4 Tablespoons chopped shallots (they don’t have to be transported to you from Asia).
5 tablespoons chopped garlic
4 tablespoons roasted peanuts