Make Restaurant-Worthy Panang Curry at Home

Many fancier Thai restaurants come with a big price tag, and many cheaper ones don't put much of an emphasis on quality. Fortunately, restaurant-caliber curry can be made quickly and easily from the comfort of your kitchen.

For those who are new to the Thai food scene, or have been turned off by the intense heat of many Thai foods, Panang curry is perfect. It is milder than either green or red curries, but does not sacrifice anything in the flavor department. It offers enough heat to tickle your sinuses, but it is balanced by a sweetness that most other curries lack.

Many people who have attempted to cook curries at home are discouraged by the outcome, oftentimes because of poor-quality commercial curry pastes. Homemade pastes are easy to make, and, though they include a few ingredients that may require a trip to your local Asian market, they are well worth it.

Panang Curry Paste
Ingredients You Will Need:

6 to 10 dried Thai chilies depending on how hot you want it, seeds removed
1-inch piece galangal or ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2-inch piece lemongrass, outer leaves removed and inside grated
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
¼ cup roasted peanuts
A few sprigs cilantro, leaves and stems

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until it forms a smooth paste.

Panang Curry
Ingredients You Will Need:

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 recipe Panang curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 pound beef, chicken or pork, cut into bite-size pieces
3 to 5 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
3 sprigs cilantro, leaves removed and roughly chopped

Heat a wok or large pan over medium-high heat, and add the peanut oil. Add the onion, and sauté until it begins to brown, about five minutes. Add the curry paste, and sauté until it becomes aromatic and starts to darken slightly in color, about three minutes. Pour in the coconut milk, and stir to combine. Add the meat, lime leaves, soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar, and mix thoroughly. Cover your wok or pan, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Allow to simmer until the meat is cooked through and tender, 15 minutes maximum. If at any point it becomes too dry and may start to burn, add a little more coconut milk. Pour onto a platter, and top with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve over rice.

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