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Masman Beef Curry



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Masman Beef Curry

The Best of Craig Claiborne:
More than 1,000 Recipes from His New York Times
Food Columns and Four of His Classic Cookbooks

by Craig Claiborne with Pierre Franey, 1999, Times Books/Random House


“When Amnuay Nethongkome came into our kitchen to cook his native Thai
dishes, he was the saucier at Le Cirque, one of Manhattan’s chicest dining
establishments. Prior to that he had been at Maxwell’s Plum under Jean
Vergnes and at Luchow’s – a long way from Bangkok. Mr. Nethongkome
and his Thai-born wife regaled us with dishes made with lemongrass, dried
lime leaves, and that thin essence of anchovy called fish sauce, which they
use in quantity. The Nethongkomes subsequently opened a Thai restau-
rant in Miami.”

Yield: 10 servings

4 large potatoes, about 1 pound, peeled and
dropped into cold water
1 medium-size onion, about 1/2 pound
2 3/4 cups coconut cream, preferably fresh *
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into
1 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons curry powder
[purchased or homemade]
3 tablespoons fish sauce [nam pla],
available in Asian markets
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup shelled peanuts
1 1/2 cups fresh or canned unsweetened
coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water

* Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream
To crack one or more coconuts, pierce the “eyes” of each coconut with an
ice pick. Drain and discard the liquid. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Using a hammer, crack the shell of each coconut in half. Arrange the coco-
nut halves, cracked side up, on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake
for 15 or 20 minutes.
Remove the coconut halves. Pry the meat form the shells. Peel away the
brown skin from the meat. Cut the meat into 1/2-inch cubes. Two coco-
nuts should yield about 5 cups of cubed meat.
Put the coconut meat into the container of a food processor and add 4
cups of warm water. Purée thoroughly.
Line a colander [placed over a large bowl] with cheesecloth. Pour in the
coconut mixture. Bring up the ends of the cheesecloth and squeeze to ex-
tract as much liquid as possible. There should be about 4 1/2 cups. The
white creamlike substance that rises to the top of the liquid on standing is
coconut cream. The bottom layer is coconut milk.

1. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and set aside in cold water.
2. Quarter the onion lengthwise. Cut the onion into lengthwise shreds.
There should be about 1 1/2 cups.
3. Heat the coconut cream in a large skillet and add the beef cubes. Bring
to the boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20
minutes, or until the liquid is thickened and saucelike. Remove the
pieces of meat and set aside. Add the curry powder and stir rapidly
with a whisk.
4. Add the fish sauce and stir well. Add the sugar. Stir.
5. Return the meat to the sauce. Cook for 10 minutes.
6. Add the onions, drained potato rounds, and peanuts. Add the canned coconut milk and water. Cover and bring to the boil. Cook for 45
minutes to 1 hour, until the meat is tender.
7. Spoon out the beef onto a warmed serving platter. Allow the sauce to
rest for a minute, then skim off the surface fat and pour the sauce
over the meat before serving.

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