Flying Massaman Curry
Time: Less than 45 minutes
I’m thinking a little bit of a circus act and of a faster way to spin this essential Thai-style peanut curry. This may be something of a cheat using chunky peanut butter and purchased Asian spice blends but the results are authentically satisfying; unconventional broccoli adds some necessary green heft. Small unpeeled new potatoes (tiny yellow fingerling potatoes are my favorite,) speed cooking and are buttery and marvelous in the rich and nutty curry sauce.
Tip: Store-bought garam masala works great, but for extra special results always have ready a jar of homemade spice blend. Palm sugar can be found in Thai and Southeast Asian markets; it needs to be grated on a box grater to be used in this recipe.
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons garam masala powder
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
¾ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon or more ground cayenne pepper
1/2 inch slice of peeled ginger
1 small red onion, peeled
One recipe Baked Tofu or two 6 oz packages baked or fried tofu cutlets
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
2 cups warm vegetable broth, divided
1 cup coconut milk, regular or reduced fat
1/3 cup natural chunky-style peanut butter
1 lb small new potatoes, sliced into chunks no thicker than ½ inch
½ lb broccoli florets or green beans, trimmed
½ lb (about half a pint) cherry or grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated palm sugar or dark brown sugar
Handful chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a food processor bowl or food processor attachment of an immersion blender pulse together shallots, garlic, garam masala, five spice powder, sea salt, turmeric, cayenne pepper and ginger until a smooth paste forms.
2. Slice onion in half and into ½ inch wide half moons. Cut each tofu cutlet in half lengthwise, then slice into 8 cubes for a total of 16 cubes. In a large 3 quart pot with a lid heat oil over medium heat, use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stir in curry paste and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add onion and fry until softened, about 3-4 minutes, then fold in tofu and potatoes.
3. Meanwhile heat up vegetable broth and pour half into the pot over the potatoes, add coconut milk, increase heat slightly bring to a gentle simmer. In a measuring cup combine peanut butter and remaining warm vegetable broth, stirring constantly to emulsify the peanut butter and form a smooth creamy mixture. Stir into simmering curry, reduce heat slightly and cover. Let mixture simmer for 20 minute or until potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
4. Stir in broccoli, cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Broccoli should be bright green but slightly tender. Stir in cherry tomatoes, lime juice, soy sauce and palm sugar. Taste curry and adjust with more lime juice or salt if desired. Simmer for 1 more minute, turn off heat, cover curry and let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve immediately with hot rice.