Southern Thailand, with its large population of Muslims, rarely has pork on the menu. This slightly sweet coconut curry, however, uses pork, along with potatoes, lychee and pineapple. It was my favourite dish of all the Thai eating classes, and that was in with some tough competition. In Thai it is called ‘Gaeng Masaaman Moo’. ( The rest of the southern Thai menu at the Talay Thai.)
Wear an apron, the coconut milk splatters!
Yield: 4 servings
- ~ 500 grams/ 1 lb boneless pork – cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 tin (20 fl oz) Mae Ploy coconut milk
- 1 small tin Arroy-D coconut milk
- 1/2 tin 4 fl oz. yellow (Muslim) curry paste (also called Massaman curry paste)
- 1 medium potato – cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 small onion (or 12 peeled white pearl onions)
- 3 Tbsp. raw peanuts – skinned
- 1 teaspoon whole cardamon pods
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tin pineapple chunks and juice
- 6 pitted lychees cut in half plus 1/4 cup of the lychee syrup
- 3 Tbsp. tamarind paste mixed with a small amount of water – some brands still have the seeds left in the paste and these should be removed
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce)
- red Thai chile – sliced & seeded (or a sprinkle of cayenne to taste)
Open the coconut milk and scoop the thick coconut cream from the top and set aside. Put the pork and remaining coconut liquid (~1 cup) into a deep pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the meat & coconut milk, leaving ~4 Tbsp. in the pan.
Stir in the yellow curry paste, and cook at fairly high temperature until the paste gives off a strong curry fragrance (or until lazy husband, lounging on the couch in the living room, says, “something smells good honey…”)
Return the meat to the pan, mix well and fry for a further 3-4 mins. Pour the remainder of the coconut milk back in, and simmer for a further 10 minutes until the oil separates and forms a layer on the surface.
Add the potato, onion, peanuts, cardamon, lemon juice, tamarind water, nam pla, lychee, pineapple and the reserved thick coconut milk. Simmer for a further 30 mins. or until the meat and vegetables are cooked. Taste and adjust the seasoning with nam pla, lemon juice or tamarind as necessary. A few minutes before serving, sprinkle cayenne to taste.