It’s the spices, Cardomon root, galangal, tamarind that give it that mellow taste, a bit on the sweet side and not as spicy as red curry—though my wife likes to turn up the heat by adding a dozen chilies and as a side, a spicy sauce made from fish sauce, palm sugar, chilies, and shallots, very nice over rice or as an addition to the curry.
CNN Travel placed it in the top spot for the World’s 50 best foods (7/2011). That’s not bad, for something pretty simple that you can get on pretty much any street corner in Bangkok. Take that you snooty croissant, and the king off all foods the American Hamburger, Lasagna, a real Mexican taco or Fajita (not Taco Bell), and Holy Cow, Texas BBQ!
..Emphatically the king of curries, and perhaps the king of all foods. Spicy, coconutty, sweet and savory, its combination of flavors has more personality than a Thai election…
It’s the fish sauce, I think. No the coconut, hmmm, maybe that tamarind, all an ode to the delicate balance of sweet, salty, and sour. To me, it’s the ultimate Thai comfort food, sitting around the house with family and friends, and digging into a nice big bowel of curry and washing it down with a beer. This is my wife’s recipe, basic Massaman curry (no-frills) and if you get real ambitious you can make the curry paste yourself, just make sure that you have a mortar and pestle and a lot of time. If your pressed (for time) any shop or market, even the local food chain (Big C) has it, it’s not as good as homemade but it’s still pretty damn good…
Massaman Curry (Gaeng Matsaman – แกงมัสมั่น)
4 tablespoons curry paste (store bought is O.K.)
1 leg and 2 thighs chicken
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup white potatoes
1 cup onions, or peeled whole shallots
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, whole (optional)
1 tablespoon palm sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce (or to taste)
2 tablespoons tamarind paste (or to taste)