Last weekend I tried two recipes from the Food of Thailand, with disastrous results. I made a massaman curry paste from scratch and attempted a beef curry that suffered from an overdose of tamarind. The nam pla prik tasted like tomatoey fish sauce, at best. But this weekend I found a roast lamb recipe that redeemed the massaman curry paste, with the help of a little prepared green curry that I had on hand.
I hadn’t tried this before, but making thai curry pastes from scratch isn’t too bad, if you have the ingredients on hand. Massaman paste involves shallots, lemongrass, galangal, and a bunch of dried spices that I typically have: red dried chili, clove, ginger, cardamom, etc.
Give it a whirl in the blender with a drizzle of oil to help it along.
The massaman paste has a strong aroma of shallots and cinnamon and smells delicious. And, I think it would have made a pretty good Thai curry if I hadn’t followed the recipe as closely, and been a little less heavy handed with the fish sauce and tamarind. So, it failed as a good curry.
However, I doctored the curry paste with more coriander, turmeric, and cardamom, plus a heaping spoonful of the Mae Ploy green curry paste, and transformed it into a “wet” rub marinate for lamb chops. I just smeared the marinade all over some lamb chops, let it sit for a few hours, and it turned out really good.
Massaman curry crusted lamb chops
2 dried red chilis
1 inch piece galangal
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only
5 whole cloves
4 inch piece of stick cinnamon
10 whole cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
1/4 C massaman paste
1/4 C green curry paste (Mae Ploy brand)
1 tsp salt
1 T tamarind concentrate
2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cardamom
Combine all massaman paste ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth paste. Add oil or water, a tablespoon at a time, as necessary to combine.
Mix marinate ingredients together to form a thick paste. Rub all over the outside of the lamb. Marinate for a few hours. Remove most of the paste with your hands, leaving a little bit. Sear the lamb in a hot lightly oiled pan, then roast at 425
degrees for 10-15 minutes until cooked to your preference (I prefer rare).