Panang Curry is one of my favourite Thai curries, but I've never attempted it before because it was just so tough to find a truly authentic recipe online. Despite my research skills, the recipes online were too diverse to find common ground on which to create a recipe. So I did a cooking class while in Koh Samui recently, just so to get an authentic recipe.
Turns out, the classic curry is so easy to make! Once you've got a good recipe, that is. Best part, you can do all the prep work way beforehand (the pounding of the curry paste takes up the bulk of the work here), to facilitate a quick stir-fry on a busy weekday night.
Quick update: I've re-created this in my own kitchen, and the recipe totally works!
Ingredients (feeds 2):
1 cup sliced chicken breast
2 fresh kaffir lime leaves, strip off the main vein, roll it up and slice finely
1/3 cup unpacked fresh sweet basil leaves
1/2 fresh large red chilli, seeded and finely sliced (use the whole chilli if you like the heat)
2 tbsp panang curry paste (recipe below)
1/2 cup coconut cream milk
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp white cane sugar
2 tbsp canola oil (or soy bean oil)
1/2 cup chicken stock
Panang Curry Paste (1 person portion):
1 large dried red chilli, rehydrated by soaking in hot water for 15 mins, sliced finely
4 deep fried chilli padi, drained on paper towels and chopped (can go up to 6 if you really like the heat)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds, fried on low heat till fragrant, and drained on paper towels
1/4 tsp coriander seeds, fried on low heat till fragrant, and drained on paper towels
1/4 tsp black peppercorn seeds, fried on low heat till fragrant, and drained on paper towels
1 tsp fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh galangal, finely chopped
1 tsp shrimp paste (Thai belachan)
1 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts
1 tsp fresh shallots, chopped finely
1 tsp garlic, chopped finely
1/4 tsp salt
Pound everything in mortar until a smooth paste.
1) Pre-heat oil in wok, add curry paste and fry until toasty, about 20 seconds.
2) Add chicken and fry till chicken cooked through.
3) Add kaffir lime leaves and stir through.
4) Add chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir through for 30 seconds until boiling and the curry just about changes colour to a darker orange.
5) Add sweet basil and chili just before serving.