Mussaman Curry

Your choice of meat: 2 lbs of beef, cut into 1.5-inch cubes (The tougher, more sinewy the better. Choose the same cut you would to make pot roast with.
1 13.5-ounce can good coconut milk
1 lb of waxy, low-starch potatoes (the kind that makes horrible baked potatoes), cut into 2-inch chunks, skin on
8 ounces white or yellow pearl onions, peeled (or 3 medium yellow onions, quartered)
2 – 4 ounces Massaman curry paste
2 tablespoons of prepared tamarind paste
Fish sauce, to taste
Palm, coconut, or brown sugar, to taste
1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, optional
7-8 lightly toasted white cardamoms, optional
1 teaspoon of lightly toasted cumin seeds, optional

Scoop out about 3/4.cup of the top, creamy part of the coconut milk and put in a large heavy-bottomed pot along with the curry paste. Fry the paste in the coconut cream over medium-high heat until the mixture turns into a creamy paste, bubbles up, and the coconut starts to turn oily.

Add the meat into the pot; stir to coat the meat with the curry paste. Add the remaining coconut milk and just enough water to barely cover the meat.

Turn up the heat just until everything comes to a boil; immediately lower the heat so that the curry is gently simmering. Cook, covered, until the meat is almost tender. The cooking time varies, depending upon the cuts of meat. This could take up to 3-4 hours, and using a pressure cooker is not recommended.

Check on the meat periodically. If more water is needed to keep the meat submerged, add it to the pot and restore the gentle simmer after each addition.

Add the onions and potatoes to the pot along with 2 tablespoons of fish sauce. You should add the onions and potatoes at the point where you feel it would take about 20 minutes for the meat to be perfectly tender. Add the vegetables before that point and they become mushy and fall apart by the time the meat is properly cooked. Add the vegetables after the meat has been perfectly cooked and by the time the onions and potatoes are tender, the meat will have been falling apart. This is the part where exact time requirement is not practical and common sense is necessary.

About 5 minutes before the potatoes and onions are ready, start seasoning the curry to taste with the tamarind paste, sugar, and extra cardamom and cumin, if desired. If more fish sauce is needed, add it now. Try to recall the taste of the version of Massaman curry which you like and keep seasoning it with tamarind, sugar, and fish sauce, and tasting until you achieve that flavor.

If you want to add peanuts, do so at this point.

Remove the pot from heat and serve the curry over rice.

Panang Curry with Pork and Kabocha Squash

1 lb boneless pork ribmeat or loin, sliced
1 13.5-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk
1 kabocha or buttercup squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes, skin and all
2 ounces Panaeng curry paste
A handful of fresh basil leaves
5-6 fresh kaffir lime leaves, cut into very thing strips
Fish sauce
Palm sugar

In a saucepan, set over medium-high heat, heat up the coconut “head” (the thick part that rises to the top of the can) along with the curry paste, stirring constantly.

When the mixture starts bubbling up around the edges and the coconut cream starts to separate, stop stirring and let it boil gently.

Turn the heat up a little and add the pork.

Stir to make sure the pork is all coated with the curry sauce.
Add half of the coconut “tail” (the remaining thin, watery part) and bring the whole thing to a boil.

Turn the heat down and let the curry simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes for rib meat or 5 minutes if you use pork loin, stirring occasionally.

Add the squash and bring the curry back to a boil; turn down the heat and simmer gently for 5-7 minutes or until the squash is soft but not mushy.

Season with fish sauce and sugar to taste (personally, I don’t add sugar as I think the squash adds enough sweetness to the dish).

Stir in the basil leaves and and kaffir lime leaves, and take the pot off the heat immediately. Serve warm with steamed Jasmine rice.

Cambodian Curry Powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Thai chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon galangal powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons lemongrass powder
1 teaspoon Kaffir lime leaf powder

Combine black pepper flakes, Thai Chili powder, garlic granules, turmeric powder, galangal powder, sea salt and lemongrass powder in a small bowl.

Store in a spice jar for up to 2 weeks. For freshness, keep the mixture in the freezer, or mix just enough spices for a single use.

Spices stay fresh longer if they are stored separately rather than combined.

Cambodian Curry (Samlor Kary)

Rind of 3 kaffir limes, minced
1 stalk lemon grass, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 grams galangal, minced
1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon oil
150 mLs coconut cream, divided in half
80 grams chicken breast, chopped
30 grams onions, cut into petals
40 grams eggplant, chopped
40 grams cauliflower, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 chicken stock cube
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves or shredded kaffir lime leaves, for garnish

Combine the lime rind, lemon grass, shallot, garlic, galangal, turmeric, curry powder, and peanuts in a mortar and set aside.

Heat a medium frying pan, add oil, and fry spice mix until fragrant over medium heat. Add half the coconut milk and stir.

Add chicken cubes and cook for 5 minutes.

Add rest of coconut milk and sweet potato, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add rest of vegetables and water.

Add stock cube, sugar, fish sauce, and salt and pepper. Cook until everything is soft.

Serve with steamed rice and garnished with basil or lime leaves.

Cambodian Beef Salad (Plea Sach Ko)

100 grams of beef, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1 teaspoon minced lemongrass
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
15 grams of basil
15 grams of saw leaf
20 grams of bean sprouts
30 grams of long beans
2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts
3 bird’s eye chilis, thinly sliced

Place beef in a bowl. Add lime juice, lemongrass, garlic, and shallot. Mix well and let marinate for 5 minutes. Drain, squeezing liquid out of beef.

Fry in a hot pan, and set aside to cool.

Put fish sauce and sugar in a bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Add beef to all the vegetables and herbs, toss with dressing, an stop with peanuts and chilies.

Pressure Cooker Pork with Citrus and Mint

5 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons honey
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
1 tablespoon peanut oil, more as needed
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves and stems separated
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 small red or green chile, sliced

1 pomelo or 3 grapefruits
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon honey
6 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
Leaves from 1 bunch of cilantro
Leaves from 1 bunch of mint
1 to 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced, seeds removed or not, to taste
Fine sea salt, to taste
Cooked rice or rice noodles, for serving (optional)

Grate 1 garlic clove into a small bowl, then stir in honey, lime zest, salt and pepper.

Cut 1-inch deep slits all over pork. Rub marinade all over, and into slits, and let sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or even better, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Slice remaining 4 garlic cloves. Set electric pressure cooker to sauté (or use a large skillet), and add oil. Once it’s hot, add half the garlic and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to plate lined with a paper towel and sprinkle liberally with salt. Repeat with remaining garlic, adding more oil if needed.

Add pork to pot and sear until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side.

Add cilantro stems to pot with pork (reserve leaves for salad). Add 3/4 cup water, fish sauce, vinegar and chile to pot. Set to cook for 90 minutes on high pressure. Manually release steam. Let pork cool until you can handle it, then shred it into bite-size pieces while still warm. Pork can be made up until this point up to 3 days ahead (store it in the refrigerator).

While pork cools, strain liquid from bottom of pot. Pour off fat, or chill liquid and scoop off fat.

When ready to serve, heat the broiler. Transfer pork to a rimmed baking sheet, and toss with a tablespoon or two of the reserved cooking liquid (just enough to coat it without making it soggy). Broil until crisped on top, 2 to 3 minutes; it will char in some places, and that’s fine.

Cut top and bottom off pomelo or grapefruit. Stand fruit up on cutting board on a flat end, then slice off the peel and pith, letting your knife follow curve of fruit. Working over a large bowl to catch the juices, slice the segments away from the membranes, letting fruit fall into the bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup reserved pork cooking liquid, lime juice and honey. Add mixture to bowl with pomelo or grapefruit and toss in cucumbers, cilantro leaves from the two bunches, mint and sliced jalapeño. Season with salt to taste.

In a large bowl, toss shredded pork with more cooking liquid to taste. Serve pork with salad topped with garlic chips, with rice or rice noodles if you like.

Pressure Cooker Spicy Pork Shoulder

5 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
1 tablespoon Korean chile flakes (gochugaru) or other chile flakes (Maras, Aleppo or crushed red pepper)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into two or three pieces

1 tablespoon peanut oil
4 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
1/3 cup gochujang (Korean chile paste) or other chile paste or sauce such as Sriracha
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

6 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced (or about 4 cups sliced cucumbers)
1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Cooked rice or toasted slider rolls
Kimchi (optional)

To prepare pork, combine garlic, brown sugar, chile flakes, salt and pepper. Rub marinade all over pork. If you have time, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to up to 24 hours. Otherwise, proceed with recipe.

Set electric pressure cooker to sauté (or use a large skillet). Add pork in batches and sear until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side. Add 3/4 cup water to pot (or to skillet to deglaze, then move to pot), cover, and set to cook for 90 minutes on high pressure. Or cook in a slow cooker for 5 to 7 hours until tender.

While pork cooks, prepare sauce: In a small pot, warm peanut oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Set sauce aside. (It can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)

Manually release steam. Let pork cool until you can handle it, then shred it into bite-size pieces. Pork can be made to this point up to 3 days ahead.

While pork cools, strain liquid from bottom of pot. Pour off fat (or chill liquid, then scoop off solidified fat with a spoon). Reserve.

Prepare cucumbers: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except sesame seeds, and let sit, tossing one or twice, for at least 20 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds.

When ready to serve, heat broiler. Toss pork with sauce and 1 to 2 tablespoons cooking liquid — just enough so pork is evenly coated but not wet or runny. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet, and broil until crisped on top, 2 to 3 minutes; it will char in places, and that’s fine.

Serve pork over rice or on slider rolls, with cucumbers and kimchi, if desired.

Thai Green Curry with Beef

1 cup coconut cream (head), and 1 cup coconut milk (tail)
1 cup thinly sliced beef, chicken or white tofu
1/4 cup pea eggplants
3 thai eggplants
3 lime leaves torn into pieces
1/4 cup thai basil leaves
the curry paste (see below)

Curry Paste
3 tablespoons lemongrass, bottom 2/3 of the stalk cut into small rings
1 1/2 teaspoons galangal
2 1/2 teaspoons magroot peel, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon chopped coriander root
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons roasted black peppercorns
1 1/4 tablespoons garlic
3 tablespoons green small thai chilies, with a few red medium sized thai chilies thrown in
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste, (if vegetarian, add another 1/4 teaspoon salt)

First prepare the ingredients for the paste. Chop each piece into fine bits, to make the pounding easier. Roast the peppercorns on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.
In a stone mortar and pestle, start with the lemongrass, and pound until it’s a paste. Then add the lime peel and galangal, and pound until paste.

Add the coriander roots, salt, peppercorns, and pound until paste.

Add chilies and garlic, and pound until paste.

Add shrimp paste (if adding), and pound until mixed. Set your finished curry paste aside. Mom likes the curry paste to be somewhat gritty, so don’t worry about making a perfect uniform paste.

Separate the coconut cream from the milk, and put into two separate bowls, and prepare all of your ingredients.
Throw 1/2 of your coconut cream (head) into the hot pan. It should sizzle and boil like mad. Let it do this for about 20 seconds, then add all the curry paste.

Keep stirring the curry paste so it doesn’t burn or stick to the pan. If it dries out to much, gradually add more of the coconut cream to the pan, little by little. You want to cook the paste for about 2-3 minutes, until it’s really fragrant and you sneeze. Not joking. You will sneeze. The ingredients inside the paste cook at different speeds, and when the chilies start to cook, the air gets spicy. That’s when it’s done.

Add some more coconut cream and the meat or tofu. Keep stirring until cooked through, and make sure your paste doesn’t burn or stick to the pan. Keep adding coconut cream to slightly ‘boil’ the paste, not so much ‘dry fry’ it. If you run out of cream, start to use milk. If using beef, you’ll need to cook for much longer, until the beef gets tender. If tofu, just a minute to get the flavor through.

Add all the coconut milk and boil for a minute or two. Then add the eggplants and lime leaves.

Boil 1 minute, then add the basil, stir and serve. You may want to garnish with bits of basil to make it look pretty.

This recipe is for fresh-pressed coconut milk. In Thailand, many cooks press their own milk. The first press is called the ‘head’ and the second the ‘tail’. The head is creamier and is used to fry the curry paste, while the tail is thinner and added later.

If you’re not in the mood to press your own coconut milk, canned coconut milk from Thailand is a fine substitute (Chao Koh or Mae Ploy brands). Do not shake the can like they recommend. Instead, carefully open and use the cream at the top to fry the paste in. Then fry your meat, and add the rest a little at a time until it’s all added.

Refrigerating coconut milk will make the cream separate even better.

Do not use brands of coconut milk which are homogenized. They taste funny, and if you can’t fry the paste in the oils of the cream, the curry will not taste as good.

Thai Green Curry with Pork

1 cup pork, shoulder cut or similar, sliced thin
3/4 teaspoon palm sugar
4 green thai eggplants
1/4 cup pea eggplants
1 red & 1 green :long chili:
1 teaspoon lime leaves (3-8 leaves)
2 tablespoons packed thai basil leaves (8-10 leaves)
3 cups coconut milk

Curry Paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon galangal, sliced into slivers
2 teaspoons magroot skin, sliced into slivers
1 1/2 tablespoons lemongrass, bottom of the stalk, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 tablespoons shallots, skin removed
2 1/2 tablespoons garlic, skin removed
2 1/2 tablespoons green small thai chilies, whole
3/4 teaspoon shrimp paste

Prepare the ingredients for the curry paste. Slice the lemongrass into thin rounds, peel the skin off the garlic & shallots, slice the galangal and the magroot skin into thin slivers, and remove the stems from the chilies.

In a stone mortar and pestle, start with the drier and harder ingredients first: add the galangal, magroot skin, lemongrass, peppercorns and salt. Smash together until a fairly uniform paste. This may take a few minutes.

Add the wet ingredients: the garlic, shallots and chilies. Do not add the shrimp paste yet. Smash until fairly uniform. This is homestyle curry, so the curry paste isn’t meant to look perfect like at the market. It’s ok (and even preferred) to have it a bit ‘chunky’, but it shouldn’t be not mixed. See picture for finished product.

When finished, add the shrimp paste and pound until mixed well.
Slice the meat into thin slices (as shown in the picture) and set aside. If using fresh coconut milk, separate the head from the tail (milk from cream) and place in two different bowls. If using canned coconut milk, don’t shake the can. Skim the top cream off and place it in a bowl, and place the rest in another. You’ll probably need to thin out the rest with another can’s worth of water, since canned coconut milk is much thicker than fresh.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup of the coconut cream. It should be the same consistency of cow’s milk. If it’s a lot thicker, thin it down with water. Wait until it boils and the oil separates, this should take about 2 minutes.
Add all the curry paste, and mix well. Keep stirring and flipping the paste so it doesn’t burn. You’ll need to cook the paste for about 3 minutes until it becomes quite fragrant and you begin to sneeze. As the paste dries out, and starts to stick to the pan, keep adding more coconut cream a few tablespoons at a time. Don’t let the paste burn.

When the paste is finished cooking, add the meat and 1/2 cup of coconut cream. Cook the meat on medium heat for 15 minutes. Flip and stir every minute or two to prevent burning. If it’s too dry, keep adding coconut cream or milk. It should be a wet fry, almost a simmer. P-Mala said you’ll start to see a light green film, or oil rise to the top towards the end of the cooking time.

Add the palm sugar, and mix well.

Add the rest of the coconut milk (and water if using canned) and bring to a rapid boil. Then add the eggplants and long chilies, and boil for 2 minutes.

Add the lime leaves and basil, remove from heat and serve.