Massaman curry is a mild, nutty, and slightly sweet dish from Thailand. Unlike other Thai dishes, massaman uses spices that are more commonly found in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, and marries them perfectly with tamarind, lemongrass, galangal, and coconut milk.
Add 3 tbsp massaman curry paste to a hot wok over a medium-high heat. How much paste you use is entirely up to you. Stir-fry for 2 mins. (No additional oil needed.)
Stir the water into the paste to make a thin sauce.
Add all of the veggies (except the potato), plus the soy chunks and tofu. Give them a stir, and cook until just tender, adding more water if necessary. (note 5)
Add the potatoes and the crushed peanuts. Stir well. Cook for 5 mins.
Stir in the coconut milk, then add a little salt, palm sugar, and tamarind. Taste, and adjust the last three as necessary - you're aiming for a balance of hot, sour, salty, and sweet (bearing in mind that massaman curry should be a little on the sweet side, and not overly hot).
Add the star anise and cardamom, turn the heat down, and simmer for 5 mins.
Remove the anise and cardamom, and serve with rice.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the ‘fridge for 2-3 days.
For the nutritional values, I’ve assumed that you’ll be using 4 tbsp of curry paste, so if you’re keeping an eye on your intake, you’ll need to adjust the numbers according to how much you actually use.
It’s best to use Asian mushrooms (e.g. straw or eryngii) but if you can’t get them, really fresh closed cup ones will also work.
Store-bought tamarind sauce tends to be thin and on the watery side, so it's much better to make your own paste. To do this, take a block of tamarind, and soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Then squish it all together. Remove the bits of skin and any seeds, and what you'll have left is a lovely and thick sauce.
Blocks of tamarind are also much cheaper than pre-made paste/sauce. If you really don't want to make it yourself, use store-bought tamarind paste... but a little less than the recipe calls for, as it tends to be quite concentrated.
If you do need to add more water, you may want to add a bit more massaman curry paste. Have a taste, and decide.
If you don’t want to make your own, you can use store-bought massaman curry paste but do check the ingredients list because some contain fish sauce (nam pla), dried shrimp (goong haeng), or fermented shrimp paste (kapi).