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!

10 responses to “Massaman Curry

  1. Even just a couple bites of those dishes would fill me up.

  2. You can get the Roti in Malaysia and Singapore too. But the Curry may be a bit different to suit the local taste. Thanks.

  3. Hmmm… In my place what you show roti is called parantha. Roti is without oil, single layer. There is the Kerala Parantha, Ceylon Parantha, Punjabi parantha, coin parantha….

  4. … and its very nice to have green chillies with curry. Now, if you do not like it straight. Do this… break a small piece … put it into the roti… fold the roti a few times onto it… and then dip (or scoop) into the curry. The chilly will not hit you directly but it will give a very niche flavour… I feel, its a very addictive flavour!!

  5. This Roti comment brings me to to a thought, I carry. So, I share it here, this one time – You know, I consciously try not to connect some related practises in Thailand to practises in India. I have a reason. Because when I am back at home, and try to describe Thailand with all my enthusiasm – , the typical response in some cases is – “Oh yes, a lot has emanated from India”. Besides being condescending, I find this response totally robs the entire experience of mine off its depths and feelings. Besides, a lot we think as ours is also influenced from many travellers/invaders into India – and of course a lot is original too. ( But that hardly matters. Because, I do beleive that once we adopt a thought/practise – it is ours, whatever its origin). Before I first came to thailand, I remember asking a friend of mine in India ( another lover of Thailand & a sea diver lover) what he thought of the country. And he had just one sentence to say – ‘Thailand IS, what we think we are!! You (that’s me, the person he knows) for sure will love it!!”

  6. Parkes: Yes… it really does not matter what its called. ( And we should not waste time on that, especially because when these rotis/paranthas get cold its pretty hard to chew on! Best eaten right away..)

  7. I’ve learned that Thais basically call any round flat bread “roti” it dosen’t matter if it’s roti, parantha, or naan. They’d probably call a tortilla a “roti” too, come to think of it…

    Anyway, matsaman curry is hands-down my favorite “Thai” dish…even if they did steal it from India.

  8. @ Pompenkroo

    I believe you are correct. It probably does go by another name in the country of origin, but Thai people just call them all “roti”. In fact, I remember the lady asking me if I wanted rice or roti with the curry.

  9. I’ve always called it paratha too. Whatever the proper name, I just drooled looking at those photos.

  10. I think it is cool that in Thailand, when you go to the big supermarkets like Lotus and Big C, that the curry paste is freshly prepared and sitting in big mounds, waiting to be scooped from by customers.