12 June 2012

Massaman Curry, or something like it...

A little while ago, we went out to eat at a Tibetan place and they had a dish called Massaman Curry. Now, I know that the following recipe is definitely different from what they had, and it's not been perfected yet, but it's a start--a delicious one.

The ways that it definitely differs from the one we had in the restaurant are that ours wasn't as creamy (which is why I proposed coconut milk instead of the cashew milk), it had distinctly fewer Maillard reaction byproducts (I needed to brown the lamb rather more than I did, and I think toasting the nuts will also help), and I know the spice ratio was different (but that's mostly personal preference anyway). The first two are easy fixes, though the last is definitely going to be a work in progress. The extra cinnamon and cardamom were certainly in the right direction, but there was something else going on to help the complexity that I couldn't quite figure out.

Nonetheless, the recipe is lovely as it is, and I'll update this as I work on making it more exact, particularly the spices.

Massaman Curry
serves 4-6

1 cup cashews, roasted and then soaked at least 2 hours or overnight
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
2 inches ginger finger
2-3 potatoes, diced
4-5 dried chiles
garam masala, with extra cinnamon and cardamom, to taste
1 pound chopped lamb
~1 cup chicken broth
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

1a. Roast the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F until golden brown. I do not know how long this might take, but if it takes more than 15 minutes, stir them every so often.

1b. Soak the cashews in enough water to cover by at least 1/2 inch for at least 2 hours and up to overnight

2. Puree the nuts, then drain AND reserve the resulting "milk" (the water that the nuts soaked in)

3. Chop the onions, garlic, ginger

4. Brown the meat, then reserve

5. Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger (in either the lamb fat or in oil) until translucent and tender

6. Add the spices and fry until aromatic

7. Add the chicken broth and chiles, then let simmer until the broth is about gone

8. Add the cashew milk (or a can of coconut milk), then puree until smooth

9. Add the potatoes, nut meat, and put the lamb back in, simmer until potatoes are tender and nuts are soft

10. Serve with rice and naan