Massaman Beef Curry
In the 16 th century, the Portuguese introduced chilies to Southeast Asia, and along came a lot of other spices and ingredients. However, some claim this curry originated in Persia. Nevertheless, Thais have elevated the dish to another level.
Massaman curry paste, Thai fish sauce, tamarind juice concentrate and palm sugar are available at Asian markets or in the Asian-food sections of super markets.
Can coconut milk (chef Bo Kline prefers Mae Ploy brand; divided)
2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into bite-sized pieces 2 cups water3 to 4 tablespoons Massaman curry paste6 to 7 tablespoons Thai fish sauce5 tablespoons tamarind juice concentrate 1/4 to1/2pound grated or chopped palm sugar, or to taste 1 cup sliced carrot1 cup cubed (1 inch squares) potato1 cup diced onion1 tablespoon peanuts1 to 2 bay leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon fried shallots (optional; see note)
1 tablespoon toasted cardamom seeds (see note)
Cooked jasmine rice
In a small pan, heat the reserved thick coconut milk over medium heat. Add the curry paste and whisk to dissolve. If the curry paste seems to resist dissolving (if it is sticky and gooey) you may need to add some of the liquid from the beef mixture. Once the curry paste is dissolved, add the fish sauce, tamarind concentrate and palm sugar. Simmer to blend flavors.