Thursday, July 21, 2011

Panang Curry

Josh and I found a fantastic Thai place here several months back. After getting dinner there at least 3 or 4 times, I asked myself how hard could it be to make Thai food. Apparently it's not as hard to make as it  is to actually find the ingredients.

I've fallen in love with the Panang curry at the local restaurant because it is so amazing. I thought it would be great if I could find a recipe to replicate it so we could just enjoy it at home without eating out. I figured I could try to recreate the panang first and maybe try some other curries later. I'm not the biggest fan of Indian food with curry, but Thai food with curry can be awesome. If you haven't ever tried it, I recommend it.

Panang Curry
Ingredients: (*substitutions) 
5 tablespoons Panang curry powder 
cooking oil
4 cups (2 cans) coconut milk
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons palm sugar
   *2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
6 kaffir lime leaves, torn
   *In my research, someone said they used lime zest...
2 fresh red chile peppers, sliced 
   *This is easily found, I just forgot to pick some up.
     red cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
   *I used a tablespoon or so of sweet basil.

I also added a handful of lightly salted peanuts, finely chopped (in food processor). You can use chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu, etc. You can also add any vegetables you like (sliced tomatoes, broccoli, etc.).

1. Fry the curry paste in the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat until fragrant. 
2. Stir the coconut milk into the curry paste and bring to a boil. Add chicken and cook until chicken is nearly cooked through (about 10-15 minutes).
3. Stir in the palm sugar (or brown sugar), fish sauce, and lime leaves (or lime zest). Add basil and peppers. Simmer together.
4. Serve over jasmine rice. 

The biggest problem I had with this recipe was finding the ingredients. Apparently palm sugar is similar enough to brown sugar that it's an easy substitute. Fish sauce (The name itself is questionable. Not surprisingly, fish sauce doesn't actually smell pleasing either.) was in the Asian section of the commissary, so that wasn't too hard to find. What's a kafirr lime? I didn't figure that out, so someone said you could use lime zest. I also added a handful of peanuts, threw them into the food processor, and chopped them until they were ultra fine.

I didn't find the panang curry paste because I didn't want to go to the Asian market (they actually exist in San Diego), but I found a jar at the grocery store that was meant to be used alone (like spaghetti sauce in a jar). I poured the whole jar in, let it simmer a bit then added the coconut milk. I was skeptical about it turning out, but it was actually pretty good. I plan to hit up the Asian market and get the actual curry paste, because I think they flavor would be better/more intense. Overall the recipe was super easy to make and came together very quickly. It may not have been quite as good as the local place, but I will try it again with the curry paste and expect even better results. Let me know if you have tried something similar and any tips/tricks you know about. OR if you try it, let me know how you like the recipe! 

1 comment:

  1. Most entertaining recipe I've read in a while. And it sounds good too! Russell won't eat Indian curry, but might try some Thai curry. So I will give it a try!