Tuesday 27 January 2015

A fragrantly more-ish Massaman curry

I'm kicking off this year's recipes not with one of my tried-and-tested own, but with a stunning "newcomer" which I saw on BBC One's "Saturday Kitchen" the other weekend – and just had to make the following day: an utterly delectable South-East Asian curry dish by the Australian chef Lyndey Milan. The flavours are simply heavenly yet it is SO easy to make – please give it a try! The original dish uses venison but I used stewing beef instead (but you could also use pork (shoulder/cheeks), all vegetables (for example potatoes, aubergines or okra) or prawns (just add them five minutes before serving time).

2 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp shrimp paste
3 garlic cloves
1 medium (about 150g) onion
8 long red chillies, deseeded (or to taste - I used ½ of one)
thick stem lemongrass
1 small thumb of ginger (or galangal)

400ml tin coconut milk
2 tbsp oil
1 kg stewing beef
1 tsp palm sugar (jaggery) or brown sugar
40–60ml fish sauce, to taste
60–100ml tamarind purée, to taste
5 bay leaves
5 cardamom pods
1 large sweet potato/½ a small pumpkin or squash, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
small handful of fresh coriander leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°/160° fan oven.

To make the curry paste, place the spices and the shrimp paste into a small frying pan and dry-roast for 1-2 minutes. Put into a blender and add the remaining ingredients plus a tablespoon of water until the mixture forms a thick paste (you might need to add more water).

Place a large, flameproof casserole or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the oil and 120g of the paste* and fry, stirring constantly until fragrant for about 1-2 minutes.

Add the meat and fry for 2-3 minutes until browned all over. Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Transfer to a large casserole (if using a frying pan) and add the sugar, fish sauce, tamarind purée, bay leaves and cardamom. If necessary, add ca 100ml water to almost cover the meat and return to the boil.

Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for an hour, then add the sweet potato/pumpkin and return to the oven for a further hour.
Serve with steamed rice and coriander.

*You won't use all of the curry paste for this dish - the rest keeps in the fridge for a week in an airtight container, or you can freeze it for another time. 

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