Another trip to Croix Rousse Market in Lyon, France, resulted in an impromptu dinner of rabbit massaman curry aka something I had never thought I would get to write about let alone make. That’s what happen when you send multiple people to the market and end up with different miscellaneous ingredients for you to put together in an almost Stone Soup style.
With some coconut milk, massaman curry paste, and fish sauce in the cupboard, I was able to turn the cuisses de lapin, some tiny potatoes smaller than the tip of my thumb, and some fresh spring onions from the market into a simple and hearty dinner for 4 in about an hour — plenty of time left for us to go get a good spot around Le Jardin des Plantes where you can get a good view of the Bastille Day fireworks in Lyon.
I made this rabbit massaman curry according to the simple recipe for beef massaman curry which I’ve been using for years. The only deviations were:
1. I replaced 2 pounds of tougher cut of beef with 4 rabbit quarters weighing about 6-7 ounces each. It took about 45-50 minutes for the rabbit legs to tenderize. With the potatoes and onions added towards the end, the entire pot of curry took less than an hour.
2. I didn’t have any peanuts or dried spices on hand, so I didn’t use any.
3. I didn’t have palm sugar, so I used brown sugar.
4. I didn’t have any tamarind pulp, so I stirred in a mixture of 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into the curry towards the end. That was an attempt to mimic what one of my friends’ grandmother did when she made massaman curry: adding acidity to it in the form of the juice of fresh bitter orange. The orange juice-vinegar mixture wasn’t ideal and didn’t exactly replicate the flavor of bitter orange juice, but it was adequate.