Sunday, June 12, 2011

Massaman Curry with Ground Beef and Spinach

Massaman curry is a Thai curry with Indian influences, mainly in the use of ground dry spices, and if you haven't tried it, it's wonderful. The list of ingredients to make the paste is long, but it's not difficult. The paste keeps well (i.e. for months) in the fridge. One batch from this recipe will make about two curries, but you can easily double or triple it if you want. This is great in the winter with root vegetables, too. Serve over rice.

Massaman curry paste
1/4 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
2 shallots, chopped
5 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp minced ginger root
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Hot chilis to taste (I used 2) or ground cayenne
2 Tbsp fish sauce (optional but recommended)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lime juice or to taste

To make the massaman curry paste, combine all ingredients in a mini food processor or mortar and pestle and process until it forms a nice paste. Use or refrigerate in a sealed container.

Curry dish
2 lbs ground beef
1/4 cup massaman curry paste
1 tsp red curry paste (optional but good; adds heat)
1 14-oz can coconut milk (lite is fine)
6-8 garlic scapes, chopped
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed (optional but good)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 lb spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions, sliced in rounds (optional)

To make the curry dish, start by browning the beef in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Pour off the fat, then add the the massaman curry paste and the red curry paste if using and stir to distribute well. Add the coconut milk, scapes, and potatoes and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 minutes or so.

When the potatoes are tender, uncover the pot and add the spinach and scallions (if using). Cook until tender, a few minutes, then remove from heat.

Serve hot over rice.

Serves about 6.

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