Mussaman Curry Lamb with Orange and Jasmine Rice
Why we thought we’d have time and energy to actually make a Paper Chef dish (and write it up) along with our judgment and round-up duties is anyone’s guess, but here we are, and here’s our dish. Before I get into the details, let me just say that my admiration for food blog event hosts has gone through the roof this past week. Talk about ass-busting work. Wow.
So, about those four ingredients… The tricky thing with Paper Chef is that it’s global so it can’t ever be truly seasonal. The best we can ever hope for is to have a list of ingredients that anyone anywhere can approximate. And since we went random for three of them this time, we ran the risk of drawing one that was so seasonal, people on half the globe would be S.O.L. Even so, I will admit that I was surprised that some folks had trouble finding fresh basil (it’s easy to think “well, if I can get it here on this tiny island…”), but I’m pleased to see the fascinating substitutions folks came up with for their entries this month. We’ve been guilty of griping about ingredient accessibility in the past ourselves, and it wasn’t until serving as hosts that we came to realize how tough this whole process is.
And now, on with the dish. Since we’re hosting and not feeling compelled to do anything mind-bendingly creative, we opted for the first thing that sprung to mind, moments after selecting our list of basil, fish sauce, oranges, and lamb: a Thai curry dish.
For this particular dish, Chopper chose Mussaman (also called Massaman) curry. Mussaman is a Thai transliteration of “Muslim” and this curry originates with Muslim immigrants and the spices they brought to Southern Thailand many years ago. It’s a mild curry compared to most other Thai curries, and works well with lamb and with the subtle shifts of flavor brought on by the addition of orange and basil.
Mussaman Curry Lamb with Orange and Jasmine Rice
- 1 1/2 lb lamb shoulder chops, bones removed, and sliced thin against the grain
- 1 medium sized eggplant (or 3 Thai eggplants… they’re small…), cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 2 baby bok choy, quartered
- 2 arge carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 tablespoons Mussaman Curry Paste
- 20 whole basil leaves (Thai basil is preferred, but not required)
- 1/4 pound cashews
- 1 1/2 cup clear beef broth
- 1 cup Satsuma orange juice (about six oranges worth of juice)
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce
First things first. The curry paste. (This is very much like the Red Curry paste we posted about earlier, but if you look, you’ll note the changes)
Home made Thai Mussaman curry paste
- 1 pound dried red chiles
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 12 husked cardamom pods
- 12 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 stalks lemongrass
- 3 tablespoons minced galangal
- 1 cup minced garlic
- 2 cups minced shallots
- 1 tablespoons shrimp paste
- Beef stock or broth, as needed
Have a large mortar and pestle ready.
First, stem and seed the chiles. Then soak them for 20-30 minutes, or until they are hydrated enough to peel. Then remove the skins.
Put a small sautÃ© pan on medium high heat, no oil. When the pan is hot, add the cinnamon stick and shake it around in the pan until you begin to detect its aroma. Then add the peppercorns and wait again for the aroma. Then add the coriander, repeat, and also with the cloves, cumin, and cardamom.
When all the spices are toasted, place them in the mortar and pestle, and allow them to cool.
While the spices are cooling, take the lemongrass and bash it with the flat side of your knife until it’s bruised and frayed. Then slice only the white parts and mince.
Pound spices into a powder, then add lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallots, and shrimp paste. Pound down to a thick paste, then add chiles.
Keep pounding, adding beef stock or broth until the paste has the desired consistency.
Now, toast the cashews in a 350 degree oven, until golden brown and fragrant.
While the nuts are toasting, add two tablespoons of peanut oil to a wok over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add carrots.
As carrots begin to caramelize, add lamb and brown.
When both lamb and carrots are sufficiently browned, remove from the wok and set aside.
Put wok back on the heat, and add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
When the oil begins to smoke again, add curry paste. Mash the paste into the oil, and allow it to fry for 2 minutes, then add the fish sauce.
Mix paste and fish sauce thoroughly, then add the bok choy, lamb, and carrots to the wok, and toss to cover with the mixture.
Add broth and orange juice and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes, checking the tenderness of the lamb periodically. When lamb is cooked to just under the desired tenderness, add the eggplant and nuts and continue to simmer until eggplant is tender, but not mushy.
Serve with Orange Jasmine Rice…
Orange Jasmine Rice
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- Zest from six Satsuma oranges
Place the ingredients in your handy-dandy rice cooker, and add enough water to cover the rice by 1/2 an inch.
Cook until rice cooker “pops”
Chopper says: Mmmm mmmm, I love Thai curry!
Mrs D. says: I think I died and went to Thai curry heaven. Seriously, this one rocked our little culinary world. We loved it so much, Chopper made it twice. (And I will force him to make it again, and again, and again…)
And now… stay tuned…. Paper Chef Round-Up coming right up!