Southern (or Massaman) Curry Paste
6–8 large dried red chilies (often called California chilies), soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and drained
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, toasted
2 whole cloves
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (optional)
1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed and discarded, inner core finely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime peel
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons Tamarind Concentrate (see recipe on page 18)
3 tablespoons water
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
Stir in 1 cup of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
The Chili Infusion
Chilies are not indigenous to Asia. They arrived in Thailand from South America with the Portuguese traders and missionaries. Today, the Thai people eat more chilies on the average per person than any other country in the world.
Yields approx. 1 cup
Massaman is the Thai word for “Muslim.” The sweet spices featured in this paste were brought to the Thai peninsula from the West by the Muslims.