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Thai Curry : Chicken Mussamun Curry

Serves : 6
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 45 mins


  • 1 liter thin coconut milk and 125ml thick coconut milk
  • 1 fresh chicken (about 1kg), cut into 12 pieces
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (each 8cm)
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 300g pearls onions or 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 50g unsalted raw peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons tamarind juice

Mussamun Curry Paste

  • 3 dried red chilies, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes until soft, stems discarded, deseeded
  • ¾ tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3cm) or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, thick bottom part only, outer layers discarded, inner part sliced
  • 1cm galangal root, peeled and sliced
  • ½ tablespoon crushed coriander roots and stems
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon dried shrimp paste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons water

Method for Cooking Chicken Mussamun Curry:

  1. To make tamarind juice, mix 1 tablespoon of dried tamarind pulp with 2 tablespoons of warm water to soften, then mash well and strain to remove the seeds and fibers.

  2. To make the Mussamun Curry Paste, dry-fry the dried red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorns in a wok or skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Combine the roasted ingredients and all the other ingredients and grind to a smooth paste in a blender.

  3. Heat 60ml of the thin coconut milk in a wok over medium heat until hot. Stir in the Mussamun Curry Paste and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant.

  4. Add the chicken and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting with the curry. Add the remaining thin coconut milk, cardamom, bay leaves and cinnamon, mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked.

  5. Increase the heat to medium, add the potatoes, onions, peanuts, fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind juice, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are cooked. Stir in the thick coconut milk and adjust for seasoning, adding more fish sauce, sugar and tamarind juice if desired. Simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes and remove from the heat.

  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot with steamed rice.

Thai Curry

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Last Updated: 24/07/2011