I discovered and fell in love with Thai food about 10 years ago (before that—was I really living though?)—curry is life. In particular, I discovered my most favorite food in all the world—Panang Curry. I know—this does not exactly sound like something you can recreate at home. But I love this dish so much, I made it a life mission of sorts to get pretty darn close…So here’s my super simple, Easy Panang Curry (or as my 6-year-old calls it—Spicy Rice…interestingly, Panang Curry is among the only 5 foods he will actually eat)!
Easy Panang Curry
Cook and Prep Time: 20 minutes
** Jasmine Rice (or rice of your preference).
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or oil of your preference)
4-5 tablespoons panang curry paste (I use Mae Ploy Panang Curry Paste and buy the large container to keep in the freezer once opened.)
2 cans coconut milk (Thai Kitchen—unsweetened, organic)
¼ teaspoon of kaffir lime leaf powder (Burma Spice Kaffir Lime Leaf Ground)
¼ cup of brown sugar
**Optional: 2 tablespoons-1/4 cup of peanut butter**
Warm coconut oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat.
Add Panang Curry Paste to the pan and stir to break-up and begin heating through. The curry will begin to become fragrant and release oils.
Continue cooking over medium to medium-low heat. Add 1 can of coconut milk. Gently whisk to incorporate the panang paste—stirring out any clumps. When well combined, add 2nd can of coconut milk. Continue to whisk and stir well.
Add kaffir lime leaf powder, stirring well.
Add brown sugar. Stir until dissolved and sauce is smooth.
About this time your rice will be getting done—you are ready to eat!
**If serving with chicken or shrimp—add your cooked meat to the sauce (I know some people cook their chicken or shrimp in the pan with the sauce—I’m just not that talented. Instead, I typically oven bake chicken breasts and then slice thinly before adding to the sauce.)
Finally, serve panang curry sauce over your rice—I topped mine with some chickpeas for a little extra protein.
Tips and Notes:
“Spicy,” is a bit of personal preference—my idea of spicy and your idea of spicy may be entirely two different things. At my house, we like to fancy ourselves “spicy,” people…So sometimes I get a little generous with the panang curry paste! You do you…add more or less to your liking (remember you can always add more).
I spent YEARS trying to create a panang sauce that tastes like my favorite local Thai restaurant. But something was always just missing…Most recipes call for kaffir lime leaves—which don’t happen to be plentiful at my suburban grocery store—so I just skipped them. Then last summer, I discovered you can buy kaffir lime powder online! Game Changer!! This was the missing piece which had been eluding me for years! It is a bit pricey—but a little bit goes a long way! It’s definitely my secret ingredient to a more authentic taste!
And one more twist…for years, I made panang curry with peanut butter (adding about ¼ cup to the sauce). If you like peanut butter, I think it makes for both a great sweetener and adds a little something to the sauce. Lately (now that I have my treasured kaffir lime powder)—I haven’t been adding peanut butter. Feels like I found the right formula without needing to add it–but feel free to try it with peanut butter and see what you think!
I hope your family loves this recipe as much as mine does (it’s also a big hit with my teenagers’ friends)! For me—panang curry is the perfect “take-out,” food for a fraction of the price—and it comes together so so fast!
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