This year I’m hosting guests for Christmas dinner for the first time ever. Last year was a bit of a dry-run; I cooked for just the two of us, but the meal was just one part in a melee of excitement about spending Christmas in our own home for the first time, a short break which punctuated drinking Prosecco & taking family photos with the cats in the morning and drinking Negronis & watching Goodfellas in the evening (a fine tradition that everybody should adopt)
This year though, guests. That means hosting, structure, and an exponential amount of Christmas leftovers. Luckily they’re all vegetarian, so I’m not going to have to find a plethora of things to do to the rest of the Turkey once everybody realises that Turkey is naff. If you do happen to have a load of it lingering in the fridge on Boxing Day though, feel free to shred it and use it in this recipe. You can also add any leftover bacon, lardons or chopped up Pigs in Blankets to the side dish, go wild. For me though, this is a totally vegan meal. Who knows, it might go some way to making us feel better after whatever new Christmas Day tradition & cocktail pairing…
Massaman Thai Curry is my old reliable pal on Thai menus – often I’ll go off-piste and order eye-watering Papaya Salads, Sour Sausage heavy on the fish-sauce, and gag-inducing Century Eggs (only once), but when I want a guarantee of something I’ll enjoy, my ordering-autopilot steers me straight to the Massaman. It’s also the most festive of curries, sweetened with Palm Sugar and warmed with traditional spices like cinnamon and star anise, it shares a lot of DNA with things like Mulled Wine and Mince Pies.
Regardless of what I order for the main, I’ll without fail order Pad Broccoli – a simple dish of flash-fried broccoli, cashews and red chilli served in soy & oyster sauce. Being Christmas I’ve anticipated an abundance of leftover sprouts, so substituted them in place of the broccoli – I’ve combined the dish with Dolsot-Bibimbap (which I’ve eaten several really good versions of this year, the best being from the now-departed Baekdu in Manchester’s Northern Quarter – who I’ll be pouring some fish sauce on the ground for) – a rice dish which is served in a Dolsot – a heavy, heated stone bowl – which continues to cook the rice and give it a sticky, crunchy texture. Not having a Dolsot to hand, I’ve recreated this by adding rice towards the end of the sprouts and just leaving it for a few minutes without stirring.
- 1 Potato
- 1 Sweet Potato
- 2 Carrots
- 2 Parsnips
- 2 tbsp Massaman Paste
- 1 tin Coconut Milk
- Handful of Nuts - Peanuts, Cashews or Chestnuts
- 1 Star Anise
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- First, prepare the vegetables. If you're using leftovers then half the work's already done for you. If you're starting fresh, cut them all into inch-squares and par-boil in water for about 5 minutes.
- Heat the Massaman paste in a pan with a little oil for about a minute, add half of the coconut milk, and bring to a boil.
- Add the rest of the coconut milk, nuts, star anise and cinnamon stick, and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Stir in the vegetables so they get a good coating of the curry sauce, and heat gently. If the sauce looks a little thick, add some more coconut milk or some vegetable stock.
- Serve when the vegetables are fork-tender and heated through. Make a big batch to see you through into the new year - the flavours will intensify as they get to know each other in the fridge.
To make Pad Sprouts, simply heat up fresh or leftover Brussels Sprouts in a pan withCashew Nuts and a little oil – when they start to brown add plenty of Soy as well asTeriyaki or Oyster Sauce and leave on the heat without moving for about 5 minutes while they begin to caramelise. Add rice and toss it around the pan to soak up all of the flavours, then leave on a medium heat for a few minutes until the rice starts to go sticky and crunchy on the bottom of the pan and serve immediately.