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Palm sugar-braised quince massaman curry

Serves: 2

Duration: 45 minutes

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 120g palm sugar (or soft dark brown sugar)
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 2 quinces, halved and cored
  • 100g massaman curry paste
  • 20g unsalted roasted peanuts, plus 5g chopped to serve
  • 50ml soy sauce (or fish sauce)
  • 300ml hot vegetable stock
  • 400ml coconut cream
  • 150g new potatoes, halved
  • 50g baby sweetcorn, chopped in half lengthways
  • 1/4 small pineapple, peeled and roughly diced
  • 50g green beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
  • 10g Thai sweet basil (or Italian), torn
  • 10g coriander leaves, torn, to garnish
  • Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

This awesome vegan take on a traditional massaman curry by Sebby Holmes of Farang is packed full of fresh fruits and Asian vegetables, the ultimate pairing for aromatic spices. When poached slowly in palm sugar syrup on a low heat, quince turns an amazing ruby red colour whilst retaining its delicious meaty texture. The leftover quince syrup is the perfect addition to mulled wine, desserts or cocktails.

1. First, prepare the massaman curry paste. Pound the lemongrass, galangal, chillies, garlic, shallots, coriander and peanuts one at a time in a pestle and mortar until each forms a smooth paste, using the salt as an abrasive. Once all are pounded individually, combine them in the mortar to form one paste. Set aside.

2. toaste the spices in a frying pan. However, bear in mind that these all toast at different rates, so start with the cardamom, coriander seeds, then the nutmeg, cloves and cassia bark, shaking the pan constantly. As soon as the spices start to smoke a little, add the mace and cumin. Toaste for another minute, then add the peppercorns and remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a little

3. Grind all the spices to a fine powder, then pound them into the paste.

4. Keep mortaring and pestling away until you are left with a slightly moist, fairly smooth paste, with no identifiable chunks. However, bear in mind that massaman paste is dryer than most due to its heavy dry spice content.

5. Store the paste in an airtight container with some clingfilm over the paste to act as a barrier against oxidisation. Refridgerated, the paste will keep for 3-4 weeks. Although it will lose flavour over time, massaman has a longer shelf life than most pastes as it is packed full of dry spices as well as salt and chillies.

6. Next, prepare the curry. In a large saucepan, bring 1 litre of water to a simmer with the salt and 100g of the palm sugar, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Add the quinces, cover with parchment paper and simmer for 2-3 hours until the quinces are ruby red and softened, then remove them from the pan and set aside. Reserve the liquid for use later.

7. Pour the oil into a large non-stick frying pan and place over a medium heat. Fry the massaman curry paste, stirring and scraping constantly to prevent the paste sticking to the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes, add the peanuts and fry for a further 15 minutes or so until the paste starts to darken and the mixture smells fragrant.

8. Add the remaining palm sugar and fry for a few minutes until it dissolves and begins to caramelise and the paste darkens further. Add the soy sauce, vegetable stock and half the coconut cream, and reduce the heat to allow the curry to simmer and the flavours to infuse.

9. Add the potatoes and gently simmer in the curry for about 10 minutes, then add the sweetcorn, pineapple and green beans, and simmer for a further 8-10 minutes until all the vegetables have softened but retain a little crunch.

10. Throw in the basil, quinces and remaining coconut cream just before serving. The curry should be sweet, aromatic and savoury; if it’s too sweet, add a little more soy sauce to balance the flavours, if too salty add some of the leftover quince braising juice.

11. Serve the curry in bowls, topped with the chopped peanuts and coriander, accompanied with steamed jasmine rice.

 

Recipe taken from Cook Thai by Sebby Holmes, published by Kyle Books. Photography by Tom Regester

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 120g palm sugar (or soft dark brown sugar)
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 2 quinces, halved and cored
  • 100g massaman curry paste
  • 20g unsalted roasted peanuts, plus 5g chopped to serve
  • 50ml soy sauce (or fish sauce)
  • 300ml hot vegetable stock
  • 400ml coconut cream
  • 150g new potatoes, halved
  • 50g baby sweetcorn, chopped in half lengthways
  • 1/4 small pineapple, peeled and roughly diced
  • 50g green beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
  • 10g Thai sweet basil (or Italian), torn
  • 10g coriander leaves, torn, to garnish
  • Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

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