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Masaman aka Massamun aka Masamam etc


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10 replies to this topic

#1 Saffy

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 07:04 PM

I quite often have this delicious curry at one of our local Thai resturants, so I decided to look for a recipe. I found a couple, and they are all quite different.
The only things that seem to be consistent are small potatos, coconut milk, small onions and nuts ( either cashews or peanuts)

I would love to hear from anyone that makes this particular curry frequently and what you consider the essential ingredients.

:blink:

#2 Miss J

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 07:04 AM

Hoo boy - Saffy, that's a big question.

My friend in Phnom Penh learned to cook mussaman curry in Chiang Mai, and the version she was taught didn't have potatoes or nuts, and was dark and rich instead of pale and coconut-creamy. When she invited a fellow NGO worker over for dinner, he insisted that her curry wasn't like any mussaman curry he'd ever had before. She was completely bamboozled.

When I got the David Thompson book, I looked up the mussaman curry recipes with this in mind. Interestingly, he provides a dark, dry-ish curry without nuts or potatoes which he says comes from Burma's Muslim population. There's an indication that the sweeter, nuts-and-potatoes version is from the south of Thailand and is Malay-influenced.

I haven't tried the Burmese version, but my mate says it's really good. I may give it a try this weekend and report back.

#3 mamster

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 03:33 PM

I haven't made this much at home, although I've eaten a lot of it, and one thing I can tell you is that the commercial massaman curry pastes are disappointing. You'll have to make your own paste if you want a massaman to write home to Chiang Mai about. Armed with this knowledge, I've procrastinated about perfecting a homemade version ever since.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#4 Saffy

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 12:14 PM

Miss J interesting stuff! The one I have had here at several different Thai places has always been the light and coconutty version. Some of my cookbooks here at home however have the darker version. I think you are most likely right about the regional differences with this curry.

Mamster - I have some bought Massaman curry paste here that is made in Thailand, the same brand I have bought for red and green curry pastes. I was hoping that it might be ok. I do however have several recipes for Massaman curry paste as well. So I might have to give both options a try.

If either of you decide to give it a try let me know, I am going to try making a chicken version tonight with the bought curry paste and we'll see if it lives up to expectations!

#5 mamster

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 12:43 PM

Important to a massaman curry, I think, it that unlike a red or green curry, it gets flavored with meat juices like a stew. You can make a perfectly good green curry chicken by just throwing some chicken meat in at the last minute, but that's not how I think of massaman curry.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#6 snowangel

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 11:59 AM

The maesri brand of curry paste is pretty good, and their masaman is acceptable.

And, my Thai friends all use beef chuck when they make it -- a more "complex" meat than a lean cut.

Peanuts and potatos? Depends on where in Thailand you eat it. As I recall, we used to get the version with potatos and peanuts more often in southern Thailand than in northern Thailand. But, regardless of where we had it in Thailand, it was always dark.

But, I don't recall eating it very often when we were in Chieng Mai, probably because when we were there, I always went for Kao Soi, which is not the same eaten anywhere else in the world. Kao Soi probably deserves a thread of it's own.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#7 Saffy

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 06:47 PM

Well, I made the curry with the bought curry paste that i had here and although I thought it would turn out to be light, it was darker than I thought! Although not what I would call a dark curry by any stretch of the imagination.
It was actually pretty good. I would be really interested to try some other recipes if anyone has some tucked away :rolleyes:

What is Kao Soi snowangel?

I was reading the other day too, that more commonly in Thailand they use yams ( the small ones not the big ones ) than potato, anyone know if there is any truth to that?

#8 mamster

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 07:17 PM

I have a kao soi column in the works, although it will be necessarily incomplete since I've never been to Chiang Mai. Kao soi is Chiang Mai curry noodles, one of the best noodle soups ever.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#9 snowangel

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 11:21 PM

I have a kao soi column in the works, although it will be necessarily incomplete since I've never been to Chiang Mai.  Kao soi is Chiang Mai curry noodles, one of the best noodle soups ever.

This is indeed good news, mamster. I had my first bowl of kao soi in 1969, in Chieng Mai. I was all of 11 years old. Call it manna, ambrosia, whatever, but that bowl has stayed with me all of these years. It was on that trip that I had my first larb, as well (raw pork, naturally).

I assume, of course, that your column will include the crispy fried noodles that top the kao soi. It is not one of the best noodle soups ever -- it is THE BEST noodle soup ever.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#10 mamster

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 04:53 PM

I would never leave out the fried noodles, snowangel!
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#11 Miss J

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 09:17 AM

Ah, memories of kao soi - I first had that on Koh Chang, at Thor's bar. I'm not sure if the kao soi or Thor himself made the bigger impression. :wink:

I made a version of kao soi at home using Hot Salty Sour Sweet's recipe, and it was almost as good as the real thing.