Krung kaeng masaman

Krung kaeng masaman

Muslim curry paste

By
From
The Complete Asian Cookbook
Makes
1 1/2 cups
Photographer
Alan Benson

You can make this curry paste two ways — either using the whole spices, roasting and grinding them (you will need a large mortar and pestle for this) or by using ground spices. I have tested this recipe both ways and they are equally successful; already ground spices are a boon when you are pushed for time.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
7-10 dried red chillies
or 2 teaspoons chilli powder
2 tablespoons coriander seeds or ground coriander
2 slices fresh galangal, chopped
or 2 teaspoons laos powder
5 whole cloves
or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cinnamon stick
or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 cardamom pods
or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 blade mace
or 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
2 tablespoons oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried shrimp paste
1 teaspoon cumin or fennel seeds
or 1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon lemongrass, finely chopped
or 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated

Method

  1. Break the chillies, shaking out and discarding the seeds, then roast lightly in a dry frying pan. Pound using a mortar and pestle. Roast the coriander seeds until aromatic and dark brown, shaking the pan frequently or stirring. Pound in a mortar until reduced to a fine powder (if spices are pounded while hot they are easily pulverised). Roast the cumin seeds until they crackle and start to pop, then grind to a powder. Add the laos powder to the ground spices.
  2. Parch the whole cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and mace in a dry frying pan over low heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan. If you separate the cinnamon stick into layers, it will roast more quickly. Grind all the spices using a mortar and pestle to a fine powder and combine with the previously roasted and ground ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the dried shrimp paste and stir-fry for a minute longer, crushing it in the oil with the back of a spoon. Put this fried mixture, when it has cooled slightly, into a food processor with the lemongrass and process to a paste. If using fresh galangal, add at this stage. If necessary, add a little coconut milk or water to assist processing. Turn into a bowl and combine with the dry ground spices. The curry paste is now ready to use.
  4. If using ready-ground spices, dry-roast the ground coriander and fennel over low heat, stirring constantly and taking care they do not burn. Roast until they turn a rich brown and have an aromatic smell. It is not necessary to roast the chilli powder or the other ground spices.
  5. If a food processor is not available, crush the onions and garlic as much as possible after they are cooked, using a mortar and pestle, then combine with the spices.
Tags:
The Complete Asian Cookbook
Charmaine
Solomon
Asian
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