Apparently massaman somehow, way back when, is a derivative of a curry that came from a unknown muslim man, somehow reflecting the Thai style red curry paste that is the key to this fragrant seductive dish. Although the origins of the name sound murky to me, irregardless, it's a fantastically delicious dish that is sure to win over all but the pickiest eaters!
Don't be scared by the long list of ingredients, it's mostly spices. Once you start working with spices you realize the genius of Indian cooking. It really is outrageously fun (and just a tad smug making!) to cook like this and impress your eaters!
Massaman Curry with Paneer and Broccoli (inspired by this recipe)
2 tablespoons ghee or high heat oil, divided
1 can full fat coconut milk (refrigerated if possible, definitely DO NOT Shake it before opening
2-3 tablespoons red Thai curry paste (depending on your desired level of heat)
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
4 cloves, ground in mortar and pestle
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
5 green cardamom pods
one 2 inch piece cinnamon
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1-2 tablespoons palm sugar (to taste)
1-2 tablespoons tamarind liquid*
2 cups broccoli florets
8 oz paneer (make it yourself!)
Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoons ghee. Scoop out cream from coconut milk and add to ghee along with Thai red curry, coriander, cumin nutmeg, and cloves. Cook over medium low heat until it is aromatic, about 3-5 minutes.
At the same time, heat the other tablespoon of ghee in a shallow skillet and add the cardamom pods, cinnamon, bay leaves and garlic, cooking over low heat until aromatic. Press down on the garlic cloves so they roast in the oil, turning to cook evenly. The skins will brown and the garlic will soften. Add all except the garlic to the pot with the coconut cream. Allow garlic to cool slightly then smash and peel and add to the coconut cream.
Add the remaining coconut water and stir well. Pour in 1/4 cup of water and add the shallot, fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind liquid, Allow to cook over medium low heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, pan fry paneer in ghee or oil over medium heat to create a nice brown crust on two sides. Add broccoli to curry gravy and cook until tender. Season with salt to taste. Serve curry over paneer with rice, naan or mashed potatoes (our favorite!)
* Tamarind liquid is made by combining tamarind concentrate with water according to the directions on the package.