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Massaman Chicken Curry
Main Courses
Date: March 31, 2016
  • 12 whole cardamom seeds, cracked and dry roasted
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, dry roasted
  • 2 lb. bone in, skinless chicken breasts/thighs
  • 4 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • ¾-1 cup Massaman curry paste
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup whole raw peanuts
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ cup Thai fish sauce
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 4 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tamarind concentrate with 5 tbsp. water
  • 15 peeled whole pearl onions
  • 4 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes
Preparation Steps:
  1. Heat a small skillet over high heat. Add the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods. Stir until fragrant. Turn heat off and set spices aside.
  2. Open the cans of coconut milk, scoop the thick cream from the top, separating it from the thin milk and setting them both aside.
  3. Add the chicken to a sauce pan, cover with the thin coconut milk and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the meat starts getting tender, but not cooked yet. Remove from the heat and set aside, partially covered.
  4. Heat oil in a wok or other large heavy bottom pan over medium heat, add the curry paste and quickly cook it, until fragrant. Add the garlic, peanuts and reserved coconut cream and fry until it begins to separate, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind and lime juice, adjusting the flavors to a balance between sweet (sugar), salty (fish sauce) and sour (lime juice and tamarind).
  6. Add cinnamon stick, cardamom, bay leaves, potatoes, onion and the chicken with its coconut broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 10-15 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked and the potato and onions are tender.
  7. Adjust seasoning with fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind water to taste. Massaman curry should be slightly sweet with a very subtle sour note from the tamarind. Serve over jasmine rice or by itself (in this case you can double the potatoes).

Yields:  4-6 servings