Massaman Curry The Kinda Easy Way

I absolutely LOVE Massaman Curry. It is the mildest of the Thai curries, and creamy, and comforting with it’s potatoes and carrot and chunks of chicken.  The first Thai curry I ever had was Massaman. The second was Green curry and I ate 2 bites before deciding it was far, far to BLASTINGLY BLAZING HOT HOLY COW PEOPLE ACTUALLY EAT THIS ON PURPOSE!  Well, I know they do. I knew a woman from Sri Lanka who went through an entire GALLON of Sriracha hot sauce in 2 months.

A long time ago I discovered Maesri curry paste. They come in all sorts of flavors. You can find them in Asian grocery stores and online here. You can also get tasty recipes at both places.

The first time I made a curry, I did it the hard way, with all the ingredients, all the fish sauce and lemon grass and stuff and boy was it good but it took forever because it was the first time I’d ever made it so I had to read the recipe every 30 seconds and make sure I didn’t leave something out.

Sometimes I don’t feel like doing that. Sometimes I want curry and I want it NOW,without having to plan a trip to Savannah for lemongrass because the freezer died and the lemongrass that was in it spoiled.  Thus, there are cans of curry paste in the pantry.

And tonight, I wanted curry. Rich, creamy curry with lots of onions and tiny potatoes from the vegetable stand and carrots from someone’s garden.  And sticky rice. Always sticky rice to soak up all that wonderful sauce.  Not the nice California brown sticky rice, either. No, the white stuff imported from Thailand that causes the person working the cash register at the Asian market to question if I am capable of fixing it properly.

And so it is…Massaman Curry with Sticky Rice, prepared in less than 10 minutes, and cooked for about an hour, while we sipped a bourbony drink and had convivial conversation.

I think it’s why God invented Summer.

Sliced carrots, tiny potatoes, 2 cans of coconut milk, and a can of curry paste.

 

 

Saute onions in a little oil until soft, then add the cut up chicken breast.

 

Mix the paste with the coconut milk. It requires careful supervision from the supervisor.

Add the sauce and vegetables to the chicken and onions. Ignore the comments about the potato booblets.

 

Take an artful picture of you eldest child catching a whiff. Then take another one after you figure out how to focus the camera.

 

While the curry simmers and rice steams, fix a couple of glasses of Adult Beverage: 3 parts gingerale, 2 parts lemonade, 1 part bourbon, and a splash of grenadine.

 

Approval from the Adult Beverage Supervisor

And it’s done. Serve on top of rice (sticky, if possible), and throw some roasted cashews on top.

 

Massaman Curry

2 onions, sliced thick

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

A bit of oil

Put the oil in the bottom of a large deep skillet,  heat up while cutting up the onion, then saute it until soft.  Add the chicken and let cook while doing the other stuff.

2 large carrots, sliced thin

2 pounds of tiny new potatoes, or red potatoes cut into bite sized pieces

2 cans coconut milk

1 can Maesri Massaman curry paste

1 cup of water

Mix the coconut milk and water with the curry paste.  Pour over the onions and chicken.

Put the carrots and potatoes in with the other stuff.

Put a lid on it, turn down to a low simmer, and mix a drink.

Let simmer about 30 minutes, then take the lid off and let it simmer uncovered for another 15-30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the sauce has cooked down a bit.

Serve with rice.



Summer goodness

The weekly visit to L&D Market happened today. That’s the local place that sells locally grown produce, with a friendly 12 year old stocking tomatoes and corn, industrial fans blowing and the aroma of ripe cantaloupes wafting over you.

Today was Grocery Day, the biweekly trip to restock the pantry an reassure myself that, come what may, we WILL eat well for 2 weeks.

L&D did not disappoint, with tiny new potatoes, baby squash, PATTYPAN SQUASH! I LOVE PATTYPAN SQUASH! and big fat tomatoes, begging to be slices and decorated with basil from the garden.

My garden…is there anyone more optimistic than a gardener in February? No, there is not. I bought seeds, and was certain by this time we’d be eating delicious things every night.  We had a good bit of snow peas, that was nice,but by April they were done with. I got exactly 7 pods of English peas…how disappointing, but I tried to make the best of them by adding them to a risotto.  Some lettuce, nothing to get excited about, a few tiny arugulas, but the basil looks good and the tomatoes are trying, I hope it doesn’t get too hot for them before I get a few, but down here, that is not a given.

So,I rely on L&D and the gardeners who are better at it than I.

Oh the potatoes! Tiny tiny red new potatoes, just a bite or two, such a creamy texture, pure perfection.

Oh the squash! I pick the smallest of the yellow squash, and treat them gently and simply.

PATTYPAN SQUASH! It makes me happy with it’s silly shape and mild flavor.

and on…I am waxing rhapsodic because that’s the only way to respond to bags full of just picked vegetables in  the middle of June.

and…pictures. I enlisted my eldest son, gave him permission to use my camera in exchange for acting as photographer.

all the ingredients for dinner

Roasted new potatoes: tossed in olive oil with cracked pepper and chopped fresh rosemary. 45 minutes in a 375F oven

Grilled squash and onions, tossed in olive oil with cracked pepper and kosher salt. Grill on medium for 30 minutes, turn halfway through cooking.

Potatoes above, PATTYPAN SQUASH!! below- toss the squash with minced garlic and chopped fresh parsley and a bit of olive oil. Roast with the potatoes- 375F for 45 minutes.

Dinner!

The tomatoes were just sliced and sprinkled with fresh basil. The cucumbers are poona kheera cukes, an experiment in my garden, and are simply sliced and sprinkled with fresh chopped oregano.

I’ve never grown poona kheera cucumbers before, and they are delicious! The skin it a bit tough so they should be peeled, and the flavor is milder and a bit sweeter than the normal grocery store type. The texture is a lot like a small pickling cucumber.

When my 13 year old asked what was for supper, I told him and he said “what? no meat?” and I replied “no meat.” and he said “Ok, I’ll eat some leftover chicken from last night” and I said that was fine, if he was still hungry. Which he wasn’t…and that is a bloomin’ miracle because 13 year old boys are ALWAYS hungry.

As we were eating I thought “I shoulda got some fresh mozzerella to make a caprese salad…”  then I thought “I shoulda got more potatoes.”  Then Terry said it wouldn’t hurt his feelings one bit if I fixed those potatoes more often. Weekly even.

I am wondering how it would be to roast the potatoes then make a potato salad from them.



Oh Lord this is so easy, and tasty in that “not really made from fresh ingredients” sort of way
June 13, 2012, 1:05 pm
Filed under: Philosophical, Poultry, Quick and Easy, salad, Vegetables | Tags: ,

I live in the Deepest of the Deep South, near Savannah, Georgia. It’s not close enough to the coast to get the breeze off the Atlantic, and not near enough the mountains to enjoy a cool stream. It’s the heart of Wiregrass Country, that means flat, and cotton fields, and pine trees dripping sap on your clothes when it gets hot.  It means that sometimes the thought of opening the oven door or standing over the stove, or even lighting the grill is…well…Not The Thing To Do.  Even changing clothes and going to a nicely chilled restaurant seems too much effort, because the humidity is hovering around 90% and it feels like if you spit it would tip the balance and water would simply fall out of the air. It is too tired and dense to do something as active as rain, it is just apathetic humidity. It does rain nearly every afternoon,around 4:30, when there’s still a solid 4 hours of sunlight left to steam things up again.

Last night, I didn’t want to cook. The very idea of anything more interesting than a huge tumbler of minty iced tea caused culinary ennui.

I keep things in the pantry, canned things, stuff that I usually philosophically scorn as inferior, for just such an evening.

And I was too apathetic to take pictures, too. Surprised?

This is a recipe I got from the person real cooks love to make fun of, with her multitude of color coordinated Kitchen Aid Stand Mixers and gawdawful Tablescapes:

Sandra Lee.

There. I said it. I got a recipe from Sandra Lee and I LIKE IT.  So does everyone else in the house. But what do they know, they like frozen pizza, too.

Anyway, if I lived in Atlanta, and had ready access to The Dekalb Farmer’s Market where I could buy fresh bean sprouts and bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, I would. I am certain this salad would be far superior with such things. But I do not live in Atlanta so I make this the Sandra Lee way. And I am ok with that.

Not Really Asian Chicken Salad

The 1/2 of the rotisserie chicken left over from Sunday (or 2 cans of chicken. Sandra Lee used cans. I might compromise on some things but not on chicken), chopped

1 can each (or a generous handful if you’re fortunate enough to have access to the fresh stuff) bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, sliced water chestnuts, baby corn

1 bag (let’s call it 4 cups worth) shredded cabbage slaw mix (with the carrots in it)

1/2 cup bottled Asian Sesame Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 can of chow mein or rice noodles

a handful of toasted almond slices

Mix together the chicken and vegetables.

Mix together the dressing and mayo. taste it. If you want to, add some soy sauce, rice vinegar and a bit of sesame oil to kind of boost it up, depending on how strong the bottled dressing is.

Mix the dressing with the salad and sprinkle the noodles and almonds on top.

See there, no stove was used in the making of this salad.



The vegetarian thing
June 2, 2012, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The vegetarian thing is going pretty well. I’ve only not been vegetarian for hamburgers and bacon. I think that’s pretty good considering the high quality of both burgers and bacon in this household.

Today we went to the local market and bought veggies. Which I promptly cooked as simply and reverently as I could.

Terry spied a bin full of lovely grape tomatoes. He put several in a bag and I said MORE!

He saw cantaloupes and I said YES PLEASE

I saw a whole bin of these little bitty young yellow squash…tiny and tender, and was overcome with a need for squash and onion casserole. So I bought some.

Also, big fat beefsteak tomatoes, with assurances that they were meant for anything, especially sandwiches.

and 2 ice cold cans of Coke. The vegetable market has the coldest cooler in the town.

There was a big ice chest full of 8 pound bags of recently shelled tiny butter peas. I am not ready for 8 pounds of baby butter peas, but it won’t be long.

Dinner tonight:

Grape tomatoes roasted with whole garlic cloves

Summer squash and onion casserole

Black beans cooked with beer and Vidalia onions.  Maybe I should have bought the butter peas because now I want some.

Who needs meat with all that?