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The Reason It’s Called ‘Smooth Curry’ Signature Beef Cheek Massaman

April 15, 2014 Food & Beverage No Comments Email Email

Delicious curry dishes are at the heart of Smooth Curry’s authentic Thai dining experience, including expert Chef Jasvir’s most popular signature dish: Beef Cheek Massaman Curry. 

Massaman Beef CheekA true star among stars, the dish is everything you look for in the kind of Thai cuisine that has the broadest appeal.  Sweet and sour, salt and savoury, it’s fragrant, rich, flavourful yet mild and satisfyingly chewy.

There are several theories as to the origins of the basic dish, ranging from Persian envoys visiting the royal court of Ayutthaya to more prosaic contacts between Arab and southern Thai traders but clearly the dish is a fusion of Thai and Muslim culinary influences that was discovered to work exceedingly well.

Beef or chicken are usually preferred as the core ingredient and both work equally well. However, for true star quality, nothing beats the tender beefiness of Australian beef cheek favoured by Chef Jasvir to raise the dish to another level of indulgence.

But that’s just the easy part. The hard bit is achieving a resonating harmony between the long list of ingredients that give Smooth Curry’s Beef Cheek Massaman Curry its remarkable character.

It is often said by chefs that simple is best, with many adhering to the philosophy that any more than four or five ingredients in a dish will spoil it. Well, that rule of thumb certainly does not apply to this recipe. What’s more, in Thai cooking, the chef’s instinct, intuition and expertise determine the proportions of the ingredients, not finicky weights and measures, so you really have to know what you are doing.

Chef Jasvir SangheraFirst of all, take prime, fresh star anise, clove, bay leaf, garlic, cinnamon, galangal, coriander, peanuts, palm sugar, white sugar, fish sauce, tamarind juice and a good stock. Don’t bother to count how many ingredients that is  but you’ll need a grill to dry the galangal and a pestle and mortar to blend.

Then patiently simmer the tender beef with potatoes and onions added to the sauce for around five hours until the elements are perfectly fused and the beef literally melts in the mouth.  Garnish with a frisson of crispy fried garlic and serve with rustic charm in a heavy mortar with an optional contrastingly biting fresh chilli and fish sauce condiment and good rice, preferably Thai Jasmine or, even better, soft green pandan-infused rice or the robust red rice.

This is intricacy at its most instantly appealing, setting off a string of sensations on the palate that somehow all come together in one delectable, exotically spicy yet accessibly mild whole.

Yes, tom yum gung still takes the honours as Thailand’s most famous dish but with chefs like Jasvir continuing to peel the onion of other classic dishes, the likes of Smooth Curry’s Beef Cheek Massaman Curry can’t be far behind. Indeed, CNNGo in a 2011 article titled World’s 50 most delicious foods ranked Massaman curry as number one. At Smooth Curry, it is easy to understand why.

Open Monday – Friday for lunch from 11:30 – 14:30 and every day for dinner from 18:00 – 22:30.

Location: Level 03, Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien. 

For more information please call 02 650 8800 or e-mail fb.bangkok@lemeridien.com

or visit plazaatheneebangkok.com lemeridien.com/plazaatheneebangkok

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