Massaman Beef Curry

MassamanBeef massaman curry beef curry is thought to have been first seen in Central Thailand in the 17th century. Although it is a Thai dish some say it is influenced by Indian and Malay cuisine.  It is most commonly made with beef but can also be made with duck, chicken or even tofu.

This curry has a rich, sweet and spicy flavour and is best served with plain boiled rice.  Massaman curry paste can be found in some supermarkets and specialist stores or you can make your own (see below the main recipe).

Ingredients
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
600 g stewing or braising steak
75g roasted peanuts
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 large red chilli, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes (about 350g), cut into 2cm chunks
75g Massaman curry paste
400 ml coconut milk (can use reduced fat)
200 ml water
1 tablespoon of Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon of palm sugar or light brown sugar
60 ml of tamarind juice (tamarind paste mixed with warm water)
1 cinnamon stick

Optional extras

100g green beans, trimmed and halved
4 kaffir lime leaves

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  2. Dry fry the peanuts in a non-stick pan for a couple of minutes until golden brown and reserve to one side.
  3. Heat half the oil in a large non-stick wok or non-stick sauté pan and stir-fry the beef until browned all over then put to one side.
  4. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onions for 5 minutes over a medium heat,adding the chopped chilli after 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the Mussaman paste, then the coconut milk, fish sauce, tamarind juice, cinnamon stick and sugar plus add the potatoes and 50 g of the peanuts, bringing it to a simmer and then transfer to a casserole dish with a lid.
  6. Cook in the oven for 2 hours until the beef is tender.
  7. Before serving with rice, crush the remaining 25g of peanuts and sprinkle over the top of the curry.
  8. You can add kaffir lime leaves to the mix before you put in the oven.
  9. Also if you want to add green beans, add 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Note, this curry works well with duck, chicken or tofu but you would need to reduce the cooking time.

Massaman curry paste

Ingredients

15 dried red chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 stick cinnamon, ground
3 cloves, ground
4 peppercorns, ground
4 tbsp garlic, chopped
4 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 heaped tsp shrimp paste
1 – 2 sticks lemongrass, chopped
1 tsp galangal root, chopped (ginger would work well here also)
1 tsp fish sauce

Method

  1. Soak the chillies in water for 10 minutes and then deseed.
  2. Dry-fry the dry spices in a wok to release the flavours and then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar or in a processor/blender.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and grind or blitz to a fine paste.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 months.
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Perfect Yorkshire Pudding

Perfect Yorkshire puddings

Achieving perfect Yorkshire puddings is a hard thing to do but I feel I have had some help.  This recipe is a homage to my dad who died recently after a battle with cancer.  As a bit of background I should explain that my dad was from Edinburgh and my mum was from a little ex-mining village called Cockfield near Darlington, County Durham.  The story goes that my dad taught my mum to make Yorkshre pudding and this always made us smile as perhaps it should have been the other way round!  The rest, as they say, was history.

Sunday lunch memories

I have vivid memories of dad cooking Sunday lunch and making the most amazing Yorkshire puddings including a huge starter Yorkshire pudding.  We would all fight over this as he served it with the most delectable onion gravy.

It has been a long time since I made Yorkshire pudding myself as we had a pretty dodgy oven before we refurbished the kitchen and I just hadn’t got around trying to make it in the new oven.  Until today that is… I was thinking of my dad and wanted to make some homemade Yorkshire pudding to go with our Easter roast lamb.   I have evolved the following recipe out of various recipes including my dad’s and it works really well.

Ingredients

140g plain flour

4 eggs (about 200 ml)

200 ml semi skimmed milk

sunflower oil or a mild olive oil for cooking

Method

  1. Heat oven to 230C/fan 210C/gas 8. Drizzle a little oil evenly into 12-hole non-stick muffin tin and place in the oven to heat through (I usually leave them in the oven for 10-15 mins to get sizzling hot).
  2. To make the batter, put 140g of sieved plain flour into a bowl
  3. Beat in four eggs until smooth.
  4. Gradually add 200ml milk and carry on beating until the mix has no lumps.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the batter into a jug
  7. Take hot tins from the oven.
  8. Pour the batter evenly into the tin holes.
  9. Put the tins in the oven and and leave for 20-25 mins until the puddings have puffed up and browned.
  10. Serve straight away with gravy.
  11. Enjoy!
  12. If you wish you could cool them and freeze them for up to 1 month but I personally much prefer to eat them fresh.

I know it is traditional to serve Yorkshire puddings with beef but we really enjoyed them with a Greek herb marinated butterfly leg of lamb and paired this with a bottle of 2014 Ronan by Clinet, Bordeaux.  This was a fine match for the lamb with integrated tannins, just the right amount of acidity to cut through the lamb with plummy fruit and spice and smoke flavours to give a bit of complexity.

Tip: make sure that if you do put the batter mix in the fridge, if you have made it in advance, that you take it out of the fridge in time to reach room temperature.

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