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16 responses to “Thai-Style Massaman Curry with Venison”

  1. Celeste

    I have fresh turmeric growing in my garden in Zone 9….it spreads rapidly, is about 3 feet tall, and produces a lovely white flower. It’s super easy to grow.

  2. Andrew

    Toss in peanut butter — doesn’t matter what kind — next time. You can use more than you’d think. We do a fair bit of curry with mule deer.

  3. Katie

    Hank, indian curries that are meant for goat or lamb often taste great with game instead. I use moose, dall sheep and caribou regularly for curry. Most spices for indian curries are also pretty easy to get.

  4. Kevin

    Found this on the interwebs, so it must be true.

    “I have to disagree with the statement that turmeric won’t grow below 65 degrees F. I live in central Mississippi and I know it lives through 18 degrees F. It disappears, then takes a while to show up again (several weeks after its neighboring ginger).”

    The commenter fails to clarify the duality of seasons here consisting entirely of summer and a brief winter (USDA Zone 8b).

  5. somsai

    We cook almost exclusively food from that region with game or domestic meat. Many of the foods originally were made with wild meats and foraged herbs and greens. The Vietnamese pho lends itself to deer ribs.

    But back to curry or in Thai and Lao, gaeng. The word means most liquid meat based soups, often without coconut milk. The variety in Thai food reflects the very different cultures of it’s origin. Massaman as you say from the Muslims, and many Chinese dishes as Bangkok’s heavily Chinese influence. Up further north and to the east is where you run into the more woodsy jungle curries (gaeng pa). The east is actually Lao, the border being shifted due to history. Most ingredients can be found at a Lao gorcery in many large metro areas.

    I don’t recommend eating wild food in either country for ecologic reasons, but in rural markets I see it all the time.

  6. somsai

    Hank take this with a pinch of salt, I’m much more familiar with Lao food but….

    Gaeng pa is a common Thai curry, I think what makes it unique is gasai (Lao) gachai or kachai (Thai) a small tuber that has a fairly strong taste. The taste can carry through the taste of porcupine, civet, or bamboo rat or any of the other mystery meats, but lowland Thai mostly only eat domestic meat. For whatever reason I always see green beans too. I like gapao the leafy green vegetable that though not strong can stand up on it’s own.

    There’s a recipe here where it’s called “country style pork curry” but mostly you see it as gaeng pa not to be confused with gaeng pla which would be fish of course.

    I don’t know if the gasai grows here, we buy it pickled in salt water labeled Rhizome made in Tland.

    The “pa” in gaeng pa translates roughly as jungle. Kone pa for instance means those guys that run around with fig leaves covering their privates ie people from the jungle or forest.

  7. Kevin

    @somsai – I use a banana leaf. Keeps the jungle ladies wonderin’.

  8. Archer 2010

    Hank, I love your blog. Not really big on curry, but the aside about is much appreciated. Never heard of it before, but it really looks like a great resource. Thanks, again.

  9. Karen

    I live in Sacramento and I want to grow turmeric too. Where do I get the tubers or seeds?

  10. Dana Zia

    Okay, now I am droooooooling. I love curries and this one looks amazing! Caveman Hubby just harvested an elk last week so we are going to have to try this recipe. nom nom.

  11. Bobbi Jo

    I would like to use elk meat for this recipe…what cut would work best? Saving the back strap for something special..maybe round steak? If so, how does this affect cooking time as I have heard you can overlook elk very easily….

    Thanks, Bobbi Jo

  12. Robin Major

    Thank you for this recipe. It is awesome, and a great use of a fine animal. I tweaked it in the following ways and really enjoyed the results:

    1. Omit the onion and oil from the paste
    2. Use fresh birdseye chillies
    3. Chargrill the garlic and chillies on a skewer over a naked gas flame before mincing and pounding rather than softening in oil
    4. Use venison haunch
    5. Slow cook in the oven for 1.5 hours at 180C/160 fan with the lid on
    6. Add the potatoes for the last 30 mins of cooking
    7. Add a handful of peanuts for the last 30 mins of cooking
    8. Garnish with crisp slow fried shallots, crushed peanuts and coriander

    Simply amazing!

  13. Venison Curry

    […] This is a take on a Massaman curry, a Thai dish with Muslim origins.  It’s most often made with beef, but versions made with lamb, chicken, duck and tofu are not uncommon.  I made mine with pressure-cooked deer shanks, after reading a recipe using venison on Hank Shaw’s blog. […]

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