Modern Thai people do appreciate fresh curry paste, but will also guiltlessly enjoy ready-made curry pastes from tubs or tins. It’s therefore confusing to me that some Western foodies seem to think curry is so incredibly precious that it should only be freshly made – you’d think they too were desirous of a good match!
Repeat after me and ignore the tin-fearing gourmands: ready-made curry paste is alright. The results are still delicious and have the right flavours and ingredients. It’s not thought of as cheating. It’s a bit like baking your own bread: if you have the time and ingredients, it’s very rewarding; however, no-one expects you to do so even if you have the wherewithal. It’s perfectly normal to buy it ready made.
Try to use mostly bone-in chicken pieces…
Now that I’ve spoken on curry generally, let me talk a little bit about Massaman curry in particular. It’s deeply fragrant, warm and rich, and only mild in the sense that it’s not at all chilli-hot – a good choice if you’re new to Thai curries. Try to use mostly bone-in chicken pieces in order to impart depth of flavour to the curry. If you want to use breast meat, add them towards the very end of cooking time just before the potatoes are done so they remain tender.
Serve the curry over hot steamed rice, and enjoy it greedily without the slightest bit of guilt over the fact that it came out of a packet.
I'm a self-conscious dilettante with a degree in History of Art from SOAS and UCL. I've lived in Greater London all my life, interrupted only occasionally by brief trips to Thailand. The result is that I speak Thai with a Croydon accent (and sometimes Croydon with a posh accent, but that's another story).
Far from being a charming bilingual intellectual of the world who ably holds forth on every topic imaginable at dinner parties, most of what I actually say in either language is "Hello", "That's a nice painting", and "I'm hungry". My idea of a balanced diet is a bowl of Mama instant noodles in one hand and a chip buttie in the other, but I also don't mind a nice bit of duck confit or gaeng paa gai. I don't go to dinner parties, anyway.
I like looking at interesting things. Thai contemporary art, Early Modern English portraiture, and lowbrow art have so far held my attention.
I consume vast amounts of art and food, so I thought I would give something back by writing.