Serving

Mussamun Curry Paste
Thailand
  -   Krueng Gaeng Mussamun
Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
10 oz  
***
1-1/4 hr  
Total
This curry paste is a Thai interpretation of the highly aromatic Mughal cuisine of Hyderabad in India (Mussamun (variously spelled) = Muslim). This is the most time consuming of the Thai curry pastes, but made fairly dry, as in the photo, and with the amount of salt given, it keeps for months in the fridge. This recipe makes enough for about 6 dinners for four.



2
2
1
1
1
1
1/2
1
1/3
1-1/2
3
4
1/2
1
1
t
T
t
t
t
t
t
t
c
T

oz
c
T
T
Cumin Seeds
Coriander Seeds
Peppercorns, black
Cloves
Cinnamon
Mace
Nutmeg
Cardamom seeds.
Thai Chili dried (1)  
Galangal, fresh
Lemon Grass (2)
Shallots
Garlic
Shrimp Paste (3)
Salt
This recipe is traditionally made by pounding in a big stone mortar, but I find a mini-prep food processor helps cut down on pounding time. See Note-4 for details. If you don't have the Big Stone Mortar (so why don't you?) you'll have to settle for a somewhat more grainy paste.
  1. Separately dry fry CUMIN and CORIANDER until quite fragrant and darkening just slightly, then cool well and grind in a spice grinder. Do Cumin first as it's easiest to tell when the pan gets hot enough, and do both before the chilis which may affect your nose for awhile.
  2. Grind All Other Spices and mix with with Cumin/Coriander.
  3. Stem CHILIS, run to powder in your spice grinder and mix with spices.
  4. Remove tough outer leaves from LEMON GRASS, cut off hard root end and pound well with your kitchen mallet. Slice the bottom 4 inches crosswise as thin as you can and chop fine, then run in the mini-prep.
  5. Slice GALANGAL very thin crosswise and chop fine. Run in the mini-prep.
  6. Chop SHALLOTS fine and run in the mini-prep.
  7. Crush GARLIC and chop very fine. Do not run in the mini-prep, it's too sticky.
  8. Pound and/or grind All Ingredients together into a thick dryish paste.
NOTES:
  1. Chilis:   Measure is crumbled medium. Dried Thai chilis are plenty hot. If you don't have them substitute dried de Arbols and use a little more. If you have only Japones use at least twice as much. For details see our Chili Page.
  2. Lemon Grass:   These tough grass stems are now widely available in North America in markets that serve an East or Southeast Asian community. I've even seen them in some Korean markets. For details see our Lemon Grass page.
  3. Shrimp Paste:   Preferably use real Thai shrimp paste, which is rather civilized compared to the rude products of surrounding countries. for details see our Shrimp Paste page.
  4. Procedure:   I like my curry pastes rather paste-like, so here's my exact process:
    1. Do the spices and Chilis as above and set aside.
    2. Do Lemon Grass as above, run in mini-prep as fine as it'll go, then pound well in the big granite mortar. Set aside.
    3. Do Galangal and Shallots as above, run in the mini-prep, then pound in the mortar.
    4. Crush Garlic through a garlic press and chop fine. Add to the mortar (it'll just clog the mini-prep) and pound well.
    5. Add the Lemon Grass back and pound until blended, then add the spice mix and pound until blended. No additional liquid is needed.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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