Traditional Thai Massaman curry

Noone can ignore that media has many effect to Thai traditional society. So media is influence to Thai food because when Thai food popular to foreigner, there are many Thai food that foreigner change or adapt the recipe. It also related to post-modernism in terms of media as foreigner adapting recipe make taste different from traditional Thai food. For example when some Thai food expand to other country, many country will change the taste of Thai food due to Thai food is very spicy but many foreigner cannot eat spicy. And many people do not know what is the real Massaman. So this is the article which summary about the history and teach how to cook Massaman which is the most popular Thai food for both Thai and foreigner.
Massaman curry

Massaman or Matsaman or is the most popular Thai food. Massaman is not a native Thai word, it is generally thought to refer to the Muslims. Many foreigner know in the name Thai red curry as I said. According to Thai food expert David Thompson, as well as Thai journalist and scholar Santi Sawetwimon, the dish originated in 17th century central Thailand at the cosmopolitan court of Ayutthaya. The history shows that this curry is exptolled in a poem from the end of the 18th century, attributed to Prince Itsarasunthon of Siam, the later King Rama II.

“มัสมั่นแกงแก้วตา หอมยี่หร่ารสร้อนแรง ชายใดได้กลืนแกลง แรงอยากให้ใฝ่ฝันหา” The definition of poem is “Massaman, a curry by my beloved, is fragrant of cumin and strong spices, any man who has swallowed the curry is bound to long for her”.

The first recorded recipe for Massaman curry was Chicken Massaman curry with bitter orange juice. The flavors of the massaman curry paste come from spices that are not frequently used in other Thai curries. Media coverage about pop culture of Massaman according to 2011 CNN Go ranked, Massaman curry is in the number one in the World’s 50 most delicious foods. Nowadays it is very common to see Massaman or Thai red curry in other country that not Thailand because it is very popular to foreigner because of the taste. According to the many statistics shows that almost every foreigner who visit Thailand, have to find Massaman to eat because it is one of the Thai origin identity.

Massaman curry is not easy to cook because of the Massaman curry paste is quite hard to cook. The ingredient of Massaman curry paste including cardamon pods(seeds only), cumin seeds, cloves, star anise, white peppercorns, ground cinnamon, dried chilli flakes, groundnut oil, peanuts, peeled and roughly chopped garlic cloves, finely sliced lime leaves, peeled and roughly chopped fresh galangal, inner core finely chopped lemongrass, shrimp paste, fish sauce, grated or ground nutmeg, palm sugar, and cold water. Moreover we have to find the ingredient for cooked Massaman curry including vegetable oil, red onions sliced, breast chicken cut, red chillies, chicken stock, coconut milk, roughly chopped tomatoes, lime leaves, fish sauce, palm sugar, soy sauce, lime juice only, thai basil, roasted peanut roughly chopped.

Cooking Massaman has 9 steps including

1. For the massaman curry paste, heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the cardamom seeds, cumin seeds and cloves and dry-fry for 1–2 minutes, or until fragrant.

2. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.

3. Blend the ground spices with all of the remaining massaman curry paste ingredients in a food processor, until smooth and well combined. (Alternatively, pound the paste until smooth in a pestle and mortar.) Chill until needed, covered.

4. To make the chicken curry, heat the oil in a medium-sized, flameproof, lidded casserole. Add the onions and fry for 8–10 minutes, or until softened and light golden-brown.

5. Increase the heat, push the onions to one side of the casserole, then add the chicken strips to the other side and fry for 2–3 minutes on all sides, or until sealed all over.

6. Add half of the massaman curry paste to the casserole. Stir well to coat the chicken and onions in the paste. Fry the mixture for 1–2 minutes, or until fragrant.

7. Add the potatoes, chillies, chicken stock, coconut milk, tomatoes, lime leaves, fish sauce, palm sugar and soy sauce to the casserole. Stir well and bring the mixture to the boil, then cover the casserole with the lid and reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. Continue to simmer for 12–15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (do not overcook the chicken as it will become dry). Season, to taste, with a little more fish sauce or some lime juice.

8. Just before serving, stir in the basil leaves and half of the peanuts.

9. To serve, spoon the Thai massaman curry into bowls and garnish with the extra Thai basil leaves, the sliced red chilli, and the remaining peanuts. Serve with steamed sticky rice.

Massaman is very traditional food for Thai people, but it is popular for not only Thai people but also foreigner. So I hope my article might help someone who would like to cook delicious Massaman to eat. Furthermore for people who never eat Massaman, I hope the history might make you interested and would like to try some Massaman.

Hope you enjoy my article…
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