I loved Thai food prior to visiting Thailand itself, but it is safe to say that when I finally visited Thailand my interest turned into obsession. Massaman curry is a derivative from a Muslim curry, massaman meaning Muslim, it is highly flavoured with cinnamon, star anise, cardamon etc, and always contains potatoes, which I can assure you is never found in any other dishes. I had tried Massaman curry in my local Thai restaurant, but nothing prepares you for just how truly mind blowing real Thai food can be.
The fragrance that can be achieved by fresh (and I mean fresh) lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves is something that cannot be replicated in this country, no matter how great your local Asian supermarket is. The most fantastic Thai massaman curry that I have ever tasted was in the very tiny island of Koh Tao at Bans Diving school, I had decided that one of my missions in life was to learn how to scuba dive, despite the fact the scuba diving is undoubtedly and serene and wonderful experience, training for your Padi Diving course takes it's toll on your body and makes you have the appetite of a grizzly bear when you are finished. I remember wolfing down many a massaman curry with my Aussie buddy Hayley, a fellow diving enthusiast who ended up not only becoming my best friend but also was my maid of honour on my wedding day, she knows I am total stickler for authenticity when it comes to regional or national cuisines, usually I am the first person to be sourcing the most authentic ingredients to make my own Massaman curry paste, but sometimes it is very difficult to source all the ingredients for an authentic Curry paste, I have to say that most Thai's often get their curry paste ready made from their local market, the make Mae Ploy is such a great substitute to making your own, so this is my way of getting around those barriers without compromising on flavour, it is a recipe that will allow anyone to experience how good Thai food should be.
You will need:
1 tsp of coconut oil
3 tbsp of Massaman Curry paste (always ALWAYS choose Mae Ploy paste)
2 Large sliced shallots
200g of peeled and quartered new potatoes
2 bruised lemon grass sticks
3 red birdseye chillies
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves, remove the middle stalk and shred
2 large sliced solo garlic cloves or 6 normal cloves of garlic
350g of skinless and boneless chicken thighs
400ml of coconut milk
100ml of water
5 tbsp of palm sugar
2 tbsp of fish sauce
2 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter
20g of Thai sweet basil
a pinch of salt
15-20ml of lime juice
This is so easy it's insane! So firstly, in a pan melt your coconut oil and fry the paste with the shallots, garlic, potatoes and the chicken. Bruise the lemon grass by hacking it a little with the back of a knife to release all the flavour. When the chicken has begun to colour slightly add the coconut milk, the bruised lemongrass, lime leaves, sugar, fish sauce, water and chillies, cook for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the chicken falls apart. To finish remove the pan from the heat, add the peanut butter, pinch of salt, lime juice and Thai sweet basil. Serve with sticky rice. So easy it's embarrassing.