Mussaman Curry Paste
The Spicy Food Lover's Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Buying, Growing, Storing and Using the Key Ingredients That Give Food Spice
Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Mussaman curry paste is named for the Muslim spice traders who brought curries to Thailand by way of India a couple hundred years ago and reflects an Indian influence in its spices. Initially the Thais were skeptical about using cinnamon in a hot curry, but one taste changed that. This paste has a rich, warm flavor and is often combined with beef and coconut milk to make a curry served at weddings.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Equipmentblender, spice grinder
Taste and Texturegarlicky, hot & spicy, savory, spiced
- 12 dried red chiles, such as piquins, stems and seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 stalks fresh lemongrass
- 6 shallots
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground mace
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste (available in Asian markets)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably peanut, or more to form a paste
Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Allow the chiles to steep for 15 to 20 minutes to soften. Drain the chiles and discard the water.
Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, add the cumin, coriander, cloves, and peppercorns, and dry-roast until the seeds darken and become fragrant, being careful that they don’t burn. Allow the ingredients to cool completely, place them in a spice mill or coffee grinder, and process to a fine powder.
Trim the stalks of the lemongrass to about 3 inches in length. Trim away any hard portions, discard the outer leaves, and coarsely chop.
Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a blender or food processor and, with the motor running, slowly add just enough of the oil to form a paste.
Refrigerate the paste for up to 1 month, or freeze for 4 months.
2005 Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach