Vegan massaman curry


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There are many different ideas as to how and where this dish originated, but one popular theory is that it was born in southern Thailand, where there are many Muslims, hence the name, which means Muslim curry. In any case, it has recently been voted by CNN as the world's most delicious food, and it always draws gasps of 'I love massaman!' when people read it on our menu board.

Recipe and images extracted from The Fresh Vegan Kitchen by Charlotte and David Bailey, photography by Haarala Hamilton. Published by Pavilion.




Massaman curry

Curry paste

To serve

Begin by soaking the tamarind. Place the tamarind pulp in a small bowl and pour over the hot water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes, then pour everything through a sieve into a small bowl, mashing the tamarind through with a spoon
Meanwhile, prepare the massaman curry paste. Add the oil to a wok and place over a high heat. Add the lemongrass, garlic, galangal, chillies, coriander root, shallots and a splash of water. Fry until golden, stirring occasionally and adding a little more water if the pan is getting dry
Once golden, transfer to a blender. Add the cloves, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon and cardamom to the wok and toast for about 20 seconds, taking care not to let them smoke
Add to the blender, then remove the wok from the heat and add the cumin and nutmeg, allowing them to warm for 10 seconds. Transfer to the blender with the salt and peanuts and blend to form a smooth paste
Place a pan over a medium heat and add 4 tbsp of the creamiest part of the coconut milk. Once hot, add the curry paste to the pan and, reducing the heat to low, allow to cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the palm sugar and continue to cook until you see it caramelising (about 5–10 minutes). By now your house should smell like a Bangkok street market!
Add the rest of the coconut milk and bring to the boil, adding the tamarind water and stirring well to combine. Simmer for 15 minutes
Remove from the heat, then pour through a sieve into a bowl to remove any gritty bits. Pour back into the saucepan and add the tamari and 4 tbsp of reserved pineapple juice. Return to the heat, bring to the boil again, add the peanuts, sweet potatoes, pineapple chunks, soy chunks and pickling onions and slowly simmer for a further 20 minutes
Check the seasoning and add a little more tamari if you feel it's needed. Garnish with red chilli, coriander and crispy shallots and serve with steamed short-grain brown rice
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