I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Massaman Curry and some exciting news!

There is nothing that evokes my olfactory system more than the words Massaman curry.  As soon as I see or hear the words I can already imagine that wonderfully heady, cinnamon infused aroma that is the Massaman.

On MasterChef last week when they had the pressure test - which should have been called "Fix my Massaman - if you even know what goes in one!" I knew straight away that I would have to make a Massaman, and very soon.  The difference for me this time, was that I was going to attempt one from scratch.  Usually I have relied on commercial pastes as the base, and then added the other ingredients - this time around I wanted the real deal!!  I did a bit of research along with my friend "Mr. Google", and I combined elements from several recipes to get the combination of flavours that I love.

What were the 2 core ingredients that I wasn't going to miss out on though???? What were they???Peanuts and potato!!!!  I am sure I wasn't the only one sitting at home yelling out - get the peanuts, get the potatoes!!!!  I mean really, Andrew professed to making Massaman at home on a regular basis!!!!  I don't think so!!!  How could you forget those two key elements - especially when they are sitting right there in pain view???

This recipe evolved over several days, due to unforeseen circumstances, and I can't say that I am upset about that.  I think by taking my time and making it over several days I allowed the flavours to fully develop.  Saying that however, if you are gung ho and have all day - go right ahead and make it in one day (but I think having the basic curry cooked, and resting for 24 hours makes a world of difference!! You decide.)

Massaman Paste
Makes approximately 250g (or enough for 2 curries - you can freeze the rest!)
Adapted from foodiesite.com

1 tbs crushed chilles (or to taste)
1tbs coriander seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
5 cloves
5 cardamon pods, crushed
2 star anise
3cm stick cinnamon bark
8 shallots, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3cm piece galangal, finely chopped
8 dried shrimp *
5cm pice lemongrass, finely chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves, veins removed, finely diced

* The recipe specified shrimp paste - but I did not have any - so used the shrimp instead.

Now while I did use the Thermomix to dry fry the spices, and I certainly advocate using the Thermomix for this I am not going to specify times as I was doing this for the first time, and it was all a bit of a hit and miss.  It did work, but I am unsure now how long etc each stage took.

Place the chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cardamon pods, star anise, and the cinnamon bark in a dry pan over a moderate heat, and cook them for a few minutes or until the spices are aromatic.  Place the spices in a food processor (TM) and grind on high speed until you have a powder.

Pour a little oil in a pan and saute the shallots, garlic, galangal, and shrimp paste if using (I added the dried shrimp in the last stages)  Cook over moderate heat, or until slightly browned.  Remove the mixture from the heat, and allow it to cool slightly.  When cooled, place in the food processor with the ground spices.  Add the lemon grass and lime leaves, and puree the mixture until you have a smooth paste.

Place the paste in a well sealed jar, and keep refrigerated.  It will keep for up to 3 months.  Or you can freeze the unused portion.

Now to the actual meat component of the dish

For this component I adapted a recipe that I found at cuisine.com.au.

1.2kg Stewing steak, such as chuck
1 large onion, sliced
2 x400g tins coconut cream *
4 tbs of curry paste (from recipe above)
1 litre beef stock
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tbs fish sauce
1 1/2 tbs palm sugar (I used Jeenys cubes)
1/2 tbs tamarind concentrate
roasted peanuts to serve
chopped coriander to serve

* Allow one of the cans of coconut cream to sit undisturbed for several hours - you want to skim the creamy top part off!!

Trim the meat of any excess fat and sinew and cut into 5cm cubes.

Heat a small amount of oil in a large heavy based saucepan and fry the onions until soft and lightly golden.  Add the meat, season with a little salt and continue to cook the meat until it is browned all over.

Open the can of coconut cream and scoop out the thick cream that has risen to the top.  Add this and the curry paste to the pot, lower the heat and cook gently for approximately 5 minutes.  Add the beef stock and the remainder of the can of coconut cream.  Mix well.  Add the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves, and cook, uncovered on a slow steady simmer for 1-2 hours, or until you can see the meat beginning to become very tender.

At this stage you can allow the curry to cool slightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop, or you can add the remaining ingredients.

As I had allowed my curry to sit overnight, when I placed it back on the stove I added an additional cup of coconut cream.  Bring to a gentle simmer, and add the potatoes.  Adjust the seasonings to taste.  For me a good Massaman is slightly sweet with a good sense of cinnamon.  At this stage I added a sprinkle more of cinnamon powder to the mixture.

Don't forget the potatoes!!!

Serve over steamed jasmine rice, topped with peanuts and coriander.

Making this dish over several days meant that I had the wonderful aromas lingering around my kitchen for quite some time - something I was not unhappy about!!!!

So what is the exciting news I hear you ask?

This blog has been a good starting point in the food world for me, but I have decided to take it one step further.  As you know I became the proud owner of a Thermomix at Christmas time, and I think the time is right for me to combine my passion for food with my love of the Thermomix.  So yesterday I started my own business and became a Thermomix Consultant!  Of course I still have to complete basic training - but I will be up and running in a couple of weeks.

If there are any loyal readers out there who would like to help me get up an going, (I need some practice in front of people!!!) and would like to have a demonstration (and live within reasonable distance of the Sydney Metropolitan area) I would love to come and introduce you to the wonderful world that is Thermomix!!!


  1. Congratulations Cate. I'm sure you'll be a fantastic consultant!

  2. Saw a recent cook-off at the Aus Masterchef TV programme and the contestants were trying to fix a "badly-cooked" Massamann Curry. Seeing your delicious dish now, I'm inspired to learn to make this curry too.

  3. Whoa - congrats you lovely Theromix Lady! I couldn't think of a better person to embark on such a business. Good for you. And the curry looks good...better than out of a jar which is what I would use.

  4. Thanks for the lovely comments - I hope I can do it!!! Demos anyone????

  5. Congratulations on the wonderful news Cate! I'm sure you will be a success. Do you know Tenina? She's a Thermomix goddess and I'm sure you'll cross paths if you haven't already :)

  6. This looks yummy....you have a lovely blog...I am having a giveaway in my blog..Y dont you check and join that

  7. Congratulations Cate!!

    I am sure you will be their number 1 Thermomix consultant.

  8. congrats cate! i am sure you will be awesome!