One of the four Thai curry paste recipes included in the book, this one might seem more complex than the other tree, due to the longer ingredients list. Mussamun curry is a paradox: more spicy, though less hot. That is, richer in aromatic, intensely flavored dried spices, but milder in terms of chili pepper heat. In addition to the usual Thai curry paste spices, toasted cumin seeds, toasted coriander seeds, and whole peppercorns, this paste includes ground-to-powder cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cardamom. It includes dried red chili peppers and packs a most pleasing wallop of heat, but in comparison to green curry paste and the numerous variations on red curry paste, the heat level is moderate. Making curry paste from scratch takes a bit of time and effort, beginning with the gathering of ingredients. But like making bread, or a 3-layer cake, or homemade jam, or a meal for a large group, the investment you make gives you extraordinary, priceless results. In this case, the results go on for days, as one batc of curry paste keeps on giving through a number of meals. This paste is traditionally paired with chunks of beef, along with potatoes, onions, peanuts, and whole cardamom simmered in the incredibly aromatic and flavorful curry sauce. I love making it, and I love having it handy for turning a few ingredients in to a breathtakingly delicious, simple curry.