I want to make Thai curries at home, but the ingredient list always scares me. I love shopping at local Asian markets, but…shrimp paste? Magroot skin? Galangal? I would only use them once. The few times I've made a curry, I've used jarred spice pastes....but that's cheating, right?
Then I had my lucky break. Leela at SheSimmers.com specializes in Thai cooking. She recommends spice paste over buying the individual ingredients, particularly if you're just starting out with Thai curries.
That was all I needed - I was off and running with my spice pastes. Well, I thought I was, until I had a Massaman curry at Madam Mam's, and chose that as my first curry to work on for the blog. Who knew jars of Massaman curry paste were hard to find? Luckily, I had the power of the internet on my side, and after a false start where Massaman curry paste magically turned into green curry paste while shipping, I was stocked and ready to go.
*Also, I broke Leela's rule #5 of Massaman curry - I used a pressure cooker. Sorry, Leela…but I followed
all most of your other rules, OK? OK.
The results were amazing. Yes, even with the pressure cooker. Not sure what Leela has against them, but it sure worked for me. Massaman curry has a lot of spice flavor, but it isn't all that hot. It was a big hit with the kids. (At least the ones willing to taste it.) Looking for a delicious Thai curry in about an hour? Fire up the pressure cooker and give this one a try.
*No Pressure Cooker? No worries. See the Variations section for cooking instructions with a standard dutch oven.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Massaman Beef Curry
- Pressure cooker, at least 6 quarts (I tested out my new Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker with this recipe)
Pressure Cooker Massaman beef curry from Thailand, with the help of a jar of curry paste.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled, cut into ½ inch wedges
- 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
- ½ cup Massaman curry paste (a whole 4-ounce can)
- 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 cup chicken stock or water
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (plus more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (plus more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (plus more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (plus more to taste)
- 1 ½ pounds new potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed
- ⅓ cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
- Brown the onions: Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pot until shimmering. Add the onion wedges and cook without moving for 4 minutes, until well browned on one side. Remove to a plate.
- Fry the curry paste: Scoop the cream from the top of the can of coconut milk - it should yield about a cup of cream - and add it to the pot. Stir in the curry paste. Cook, stirring often, until the curry paste starts to fry, about 8 minutes.
- Pressure cook the curry: Sprinkle the beef with the kosher salt. Add the beef to the pot, and stir to coat with curry paste. Stir in the rest of the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, tamarind paste, brown sugar, and the cooked onions. Float the new potatoes on top of the liquid in the pot. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure (manual mode in my Instant Pot) for 15 minutes with an electric PC, or 12 minutes with a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes.
- Finish the curry: Remove the potatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon, cut each in half, and stir back into the pot. Taste the curry for seasoning, adding more fish sauce, tamarind paste, or brown sugar as needed. Ladle the curry into bowls, sprinkle with some of the roasted peanuts, and serve with Jasmine rice.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Category: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Thai
- No pressure cooker? No worries. Use a heavy bottomed dutch oven with a lid, and increase the amount of chicken stock to 2 cups. Follow the instructions right up until "lock the lid". Then, instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil and cover with the lid. Move the pot to a preheated 350*F oven and bake for 3 hours, until the beef is tender. Continue with the serving step.
- Don't use low fat coconut milk - you need the heavy cream for frying the curry paste. Also, don't shake the can, so the heavy cream is still on top and can be scraped out of the can.
- The curry paste, coconut milk, tamarind paste and fish sauce are special ingredients. If your local grocery store has a well stocked international aisle, you may find them, but you probably have to make a trip to your local Asian market. (Or order them online.)
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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