Vibrant with a chorus of cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, and cardamom, mussamun curry is the centerpiece of celebration meals throughout the Thai kingdom. In the classic version, generous chunks of beef are simmered slowly in coconut milk until tender, then seasoned with tamarind and infused with an elaborate paste redolent of sweet spices. Thais love it with chicken as well, especially drumsticks.
Here I have used tender beef sliced thinly to cook quickly. You can also use ground beef or lamb shaped into meatballs, or chicken legs or wings. Any way you make it, gaeng mussamun is a glorious dish, our house curry for parties, and for carrying to potluck suppers along with jasmine rice. Originating in the Muslim communities of southern Thailand, mussamun curry always makes a memorable feast.
Slice beef crosswise into very thin,
In a medium saucepan or heavy skillet, bring
Add the remaining
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