Panang Curry

I like the Mae Ploy brand of Panang Curry paste, available at most asian markets. However, I feel that the directions on the container make for a bit of a dull curry. Here are some of my suggestions for using this product.

Saute about 1-1.5 lbs. meat first.
(Chicken, shrimp, pork, beef, lamb or some combination of these)

Add vegetables of choice. I like :

If you have some Thai Ginger, add some thin slices at this time. The slices are woody and hard to eat, but can be left in the curry to be left behind by the diner.

Add one 14-16 oz. can of coconut milk.
You can remove some of the thin, watery part if you wish.
If you really want to get fancy, you can reduce the water from the coconut milk first (by boiling), then add the curry paste, then add the sauted meat and vegetables to this. However, I don't think this is worth the trouble.

Add 1-4 Tbsp of panang curry paste. Add more if you like it hot, less for a milder curry.

If you have some fish sauce, add a bit. 1-2 tsp.

Add about 1 Tbsp palm sugar. If you do not have palm sugar, brown or white sugar will be just fine.

Simmer for about 10 minutes.

(I don't recall if tamarind paste was used in the version of this recipe that I lost. If you want to try it, add it to taste now. Perhaps 1 Tbsp of dried tamerind, re-hydrated in 2-3 TBsp of water added now)

A cup (or two?) of chicken stock will help here. If you do not have chicken stock, some re-hydrated bullion will work just as well. When I use bullion, I just add it until it is salted to taste, and skip the salt later in the recipe.

You may add some onion strips now if you wish. I like my onions crunchy, so I add them late. They are definately optional.

If you have some kaffir lime-leaves, add them at the finish. 2-3 leaves in very fine shreads would be enough. These leaves need to be cut in very, very fine shread/shavings and its a bit of a trick. If you cannot make fine shavings/threads I would just add 5-6 whole leaves, and let the diner leave them behind.

Salt to taste if bullion was not used.

This can be served garnished with some minced fresh cilantro. Some people may like some thin sliced jalapeņo peppers and lime wedges on the side to add if they like.

This is a thin, soupy curry and best served over plain white rice.

Aaron Birenboim
Last modified: Wed Nov 23 08:24:13 MST 2005