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Mussaman Curry Paste

Musalman--the Indian word for Muslim--gives this curry paste its name and distinctive taste. Instead of using ground spices, the recipe begins with toasting whole spices in a cast-iron pan. Whole peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and a stick of cinnamon are browned slightly in the skillet. Then the spices are finely ground, which is best accomplished with a spice or coffee grinder. Such a preparation is akin to that of some Indian curries for which whole spices are toasted and freshly ground.

A sauce made with Mussaman curry paste bears notes of its toasted past, with a deeper, darker flavor. The paste is often used with beef and potatoes, but it is just as suited for richly textured seafood such as jumbo shrimp.

Adapted from From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail by Madhur Jaffrey.

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