Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thai lamb massaman leg of lamb

By Steven Saundersfrom Saturday Kitchen

Serves 4

Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour

For the massaman paste (makes approx. 250g/9oz):
10 red chillies, dried
5 tbsp vegetable oil
5-6 shallots, sliced
12 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds, dry fried
1 tsp coriander seeds, dry fried
1 tsp cloves, dry fried
2 tsp black peppercorns, dry fried
2cm/¾in piece of galangal ginger, chopped
1 tbsp of kaffir lime zest
1 stick of cinnamon
½ stick lemongrass, finely chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves
sea salt
bay leaves

For the kaffir baked rice:
250g/9oz basmati rice, if you use organic rice it takes twice the time
1 large onion, finely chopped
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
2 x organic chicken or vegetable stock cubes
enough water to cover the rice allowing 2cm/¾in extra above the rice
vegetable oil
salt to season

For the lamb:
1kg/2¼lb lean leg of lamb
6tbsp massaman paste (see above) or purchase a paste from an oriental store
a little light sesame oil
4 coriander roots
4 medium potatoes peeled and pre cooked
2 kaffir leaves
1 bay leaf
1 pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tbsp of cardamon seeds/pods
1 tin of coconut milk
12 Thai or small shallots, peeled and roasted until tender
2 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
4 x thin slices galangal ginger
5 tbsp palm sugar or honey
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
4 tbsp of tamarind juice
1 tbsp roasted cashew nuts
fresh coriander for sprinkling

To make the massaman paste:
1. Reconstitute the chillies in hot water and set aside. Fry the shallots and garlic cloves until golden, drain and set aside.
2. Dry-fry the spices and then use your pestle and mortar to grind them finely.
3. Add all other ingredients and grind or liquidise to a smooth paste.

To make the kaffir baked rice:
1. Fry the onion in vegetable oil until translucent in an ovenproof dish, add rice and fry for a couple of minutes.
2. Dissolve stock cubes in hot water and pour over rice/onion mixture. Add lime leaves and seasoning - be careful though, stock cubes are usually very salty.
3. Put on the lid and place in a preheated oven and bake at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for approximately 20-30 minutes until the rice is tender. Remove from the oven, leave the lid on and rest.

To make the lamb:
1. Fry the chunks of lamb in the sesame oil until brown and take out of pan. Set aside.
2. Add the massaman paste to the same pan and fry for a couple of minutes. Then add coconut milk and bring to boil. Slowly add the cinnamon, cardamon, kaffir lime leaves and bay leaf. Then put in the chopped garlic, tamarind pulp, palm sugar and remaining ground spices.
3. Add the meat with the juices that have escaped. Add the deep fried garlic and roasted off shallots. Cook gently for 20-30 minutes. Finish with fresh coriander and the cashew nuts and the potatoes warmed through the sauce. Serve with plenty of sauce in a Thai dish with baked rice.