Daily Archives: July 24, 2005

Massaman Curry

In Thailand we are blessed with a variety of curries such as green curry, red curry, yellow curry, massaman curry and panaeng curry. The two former curries are probably the most popular and what most people would label as genuine Thai food. The other curries are more influenced by Indian and Muslim food as they contain spices such as cassia, cumin and cardamon.

I usually eat these mulsim curries at the weekend when I go to watch a movie or do some computer shopping at Seri Center on Srinakarin Road. In the food market in the basement, there is a food stall run by some muslim ladies. They have four or five different curries for sale. You can choose to eat the curry with either rice or a fresh roti. I usually go for the latter just to make a change from the rice I normally eat during the week. This meal is relatively expensive at 40 baht (about US$1). I don’t usually spend so much money on meals but these curries are really filling. And of course they are all really delicious.

Normally I would eat this meal at Seri but today I thought I would do it as a take-away so I could share it with you. I don’t mean I am going to let you taste any. I just wanted to share with you the pictures of my lunch today! By the way, to take food home, you just tell them to “sai toong” which means put in a bag. So, they poured the massaman curry into a plastic bag and tied it up with a rubber band. The cucumber relish was put in another and then the roti in a third bag.

Thai Muslims of course usually eat this dish with beef. But today, I decided to eat gang masaman gai which is with chicken. There are different recipes for this dish, but some of the main ingredients include: coconut milk, potatoes, roasted peanuts and onions. It is seasoned with cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, palm sugar, tamarind juice and lemon juice.

Of course, it is the massaman curry paste which gives it is distinctive taste. The ingredients for this include: red chilies, roasted shallots, roasted garlic, sliced galangal, sliced lemon grass, roasted coriander seeds, roasted cumin, roasted cloves, white pepper, salt and shrimp paste. This is all then pounded together to make the paste. Of course, you have a choice to do all this yourself or just buy a packet of massaman paste for about 5 baht! I bought some today at Foodland and will try to cook some massaman curry later this week.

This curry has a side dish of cucumber relish. You may remember me talking about this a few months back in my blog about satay pork as they both use the same relish. As you can see, this is made up with red chili, sliced cucumbers and sliced shallots. it is then mixed in a sauce of vinegar, salt and sugar.

If you like, when I go to Seri Center next weekend, I will buy you a different curry. Hope I am not making you too hungry!

Amazing Bite of Thai Seattle

Here in my hometown of Seattle, Washington, we have an event every July called “The Bite of Seattle”. This festival is held at Seattle Center. Seattle Center is a large chunk of property right amidst the tall buildings of the largest city in the State of Washington, USA. It has carnival rides, games of chance, and large open areas, fairgrounds if you will, that surround a big fountain that spurts laser-colored water in time to the beat of classical music.
Everybody, all year long, looks forward to this festival; which the locals refer to as, “The Bite”. As in…

“Hey, Ray, you goin’ to The Bite this year?” (one friend to another in the line of the local Starbuck’s, which are on every corner) The reply, more likely than not will be, “Yes”.

A little background about “The Bite”. It started several years ago. Not “several years” in Thai time; which would be about 200 years ago. I’m talking about several years ago in United States time (that would be within the last 30 years).
This event hosts local-area restaurants. All of these restaurants set up little booths on the fairgrounds, which have small kitchens in the rear. They cook some of their signature dishes and serve them to the masses for about $4-$5 a pop. This gets the name of their respective restaurants on the tongue tips of the public; and it exposes otherwise-fastfood-going-locals to prepared fare other than Mr. Ronald McDonald’s.

Space Needle
A beautiful Seattle afternoon ‘neath the Space Needle.

>Fruit Carving
This lady carved miraculous things out of fruit!

A final product!

Every year there is a specific theme to this particular festival. Well guess what, folks? This year’s theme was…drumroll please…”Amazing Thailand!” bum-ba-da-bum!! (my attempt at trumpets blaring). What this meant was that a lot of Seattle-area Thai restaurants (and there are a ton of them) got together in one corner of the fairgrounds. They had a large stage in the center of their respective booths. This stage was the scene of all sorts of Thai-oriented spectacles. There was a Muay Thai demonstration, a couple of authentic dance demonstrations, and a whole bunch of classical Thai music demonstrations.

Classical Dance
She must have been hot. It was 90 degrees F today!

Long story short folks….it was a gorgeously hot day in the Emerald City, and I ate a ton of delicious Thai food while being subjected to sights, sounds, and smells that were truly Thai. Pon and I felt truly at home today. I’ve included some pictures from our afternoon.

P.S.-Just as Wit has extended his hospitality to anyone visiting D.C., Pon & I do that same for any of our “blog” friends that may visit our fair city. The door is always open.

The Fountain
This is that fountain I told y’all about.