Hello from Pana Napa Kitchen guys!
This is the day #15 of Basic Thai Cooking with Pana Napa. We are half way!
So, as I told you earlier. This week is all about Thai curries. I want to also let you know that it will take me longer time to put up recipes and videos because making curry requires a little more step than stir-fry and I want to make sure that the recipe is good.
We are going to begin with making Panang Curry.
This is post I will cover topics as follow:
- What is Panang Curry and how is it different from Red Curry?
- The secret of making good curry paste
- How to crack coconut cream and why is it important?
- The recipe – Printable for you to save on your personal folder.
Before we get to the first topic. I want to say that I’m so excite to get to teach many of you live on zoom class! I have never thought that I can help you this way.
I decided to create cooking course and it’s coming soon so all of you can access easily without having to wait for me. The content will be very detail and you can cook along in your own comfort kitchen
All right! Let’s roll in to our first topic
What is Panang Curry?
Panang Curry is Thai curry that has an influence from Malaysia. Therefore, the flavour is heavier and the curry is a lot thicker than the usual green or red curry. It would be in the same family as Massaman curry. Another thing to identify is the combination of ingredients. In Panang curry, there are many different spices such as cumin and coriander seeds. Usually in ancient Thai food, we only use herbs. The only spice that you will find is black and white pepper corn.
What are the differences between Panang Curry and Red Curry?
Both of the curries have almost the same colour which is coming from Dry Bang Chang Chilies. The differences would be, Panang Curry has spices and Red Curry only have herbs (in the original recipes, but now aways people also add some spices to Red Curry Paste). Panang curry also has Prik Ginda Chilies that gives spicy flavour but red curry doesn’t. Again, in many recipes they add Prik Ginda Chilies for a quick of spiciness.
The secrete of making Curry paste
Yes, making curry paste is easy. You just need to grind all of the ingredients together. But how to make it better?
In Thai cuisine, we are quite delicate about every process of cooking. To grind good curry paste you need to think about what goes first, in order to make a finest paste.
In the case of Panang curry, the first thing that needs go in is chilies. Chilies has thick skin and it’s hard to grind every single bit of them. The method is to grind it along with salt. Salt will help to rough out the texture, therefore, chili pieces won’t slip while grinding.
After that you can add other herbs, and oh, grind your spice separately also otherwise they won’t catch the pestle because they are tiny little thing.
The last ingredients that you want to add is shallot. Shallots is soft and juicy, it’s super easy to grind but if you put it in the first thing, everything else is going to be so hard to grind because there will be water splash everywhere and you won’t be able to really grind fully.
Cracking coconut cream
The purpose of cracking coconut cream is to bring out the oil from the water content. It’s the same as when you make brown butter.
Why do we need to bring out the oil?
In the old day in Thailand, we don’t have any kind of processed oil. The processed oil came from China later on. The oil that we are using is either a hot-press or cold-press coconut oil.
When making curry, it’s important to fry the paste to bring out essential oil and aromas from the herbs and spices. Without the oil, the curry won’t be aromatic.
Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons from cracking coconut oil and use in the curry.
Let’s start with the Pros.
- The oil is natural
- Coconut oil is buttery and thick in flavour
- It isn’t too greasy
- Cracking coconut will give the result of having the oil part and the other part becomes curdy. Which isn’t a nice texture. It’s like when you over cooked coconut cream in your green curry. It’s important not the crack too much of the coconut cream because it can easily influence the whole pot of your curry.
- Time consuming
- It isn’t really effective with canned coconut.
In summary, I like to crack the coconut cream when I make Panang curry, Massaman curry and yellow curry. These curries already have a thick sauce so the curd won’t affect too much. However, when I make Green Curry or Southern Thai curries, I like to fry my curry with bottled hot-press coconut oil instead. It will bring out the same aroma with no curd. This is the Southern-Style of cooking.
Note* You can use other kinds of oil that is available in your area. I use coconut because it’s native to Thailand.
I’m conducting this instruction as if you are making the curry paste and the curry at the same time.
Note* You can make curry paste in advance and keep them refrigerated for 1 week, or 3 months in the freezer. Usually in Thai Kitchen we would make a batch and keep them in the fridge or freezer. This will make it a whole lot faster and easier when you need to make the dish.
Panang Curry Ingredients
- 300 g Meat of your choice
- 1½ C Tail part or skimmed coconut milk Use 1:1 coconut milk + Water
- 2 Tbsp Panang Curry paste Adjustable to what you like.
- 1 Tbsp Fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp Coconut sugar You can use other kinds of sugar also.
- 6 Kaffir lime leaves Fresh or frozen. If you can't find these two, use dried leaves.
- ¼ Prik Chi Fa Thinly sliced. (optional) Or other kind of large red non-spicy chili.
Panang Curry Paste Ingredients
- 1½ Tsp Coriander seeds toasted.
- 1 Tsp Cumin seeds toasted.
- 1 Tsp White pepper corn lightly toasted.
- 5 Pieces Bang Chang dired chilies or large red dried chilies seed removed. Soak in water for 1 hour.
- 7 Pieces Jinda chilies. Medium sized spicy dried chilies. You can reduce the amount if you don't like your curry too spicy. This one is mild. Thai mild.
- 1 Tsp Rock seasalt.
- 1 Tbsp Galangal sliced
- 1 Tbsp Lemongrass sliced
- ½ Tbsp Kaffir lime zest.
- 3 Roots Cilantro/Coriander
- 2½ Tbsp Garlic
- 4 Tbsp Shallots sliced
- 1 Tbsp Freshly toasted peanut
- 1 Tsp Shrimp paste (Optional)
- The first step is to chop and soak dried chilies. This will take about an hour. If you don’t like spicy, make sure to remove all the seeds. This can be done easily by shaking the chopped chilies. All of the seeds will fall out. You can also see in the video.
- Meanwhile, prepare the meat. Cut it into thin slices. In this dish I use pork. You can use any kinds of meat that you like such as beef or chicken. If you are using red meat, like pork and beef, you need to stew them in ½ C tale part or skimmed coconut milk (If you are using canned coconut milk, you can dilute it with 1:1 water) until it’s softened. I usually do about an hour. Note* If it’s going dry, you can add more coconut milk a little at a time. In the end, you don’t want a lot of liquid left because you want to add as much juice is to your curry as possible. This juice is full of flavour If you are using chicken or seafood, there is no need to pre-cook the meat because they are easy to cook and will take no longer than 10 minutes.
- After the chilies and meat is ready. We are going to make curry paste. As I explained in the content above, it’s easy to make curry but how can you make it better?In Thai cuisine, we are quite delicate about every process of cooking. To grind good curry paste you need to think about what goes first, in order to make fine paste. In the case of Panang curry, the first thing that needs go in is chilies. Chilies has a thick skin and it’s hard to grind every single bit of them. The method is to grind it along with salt. Salt will help to rough out the texture, therefore, it chilis pieces won’t slip while grinding. After that you can add other herbs, and oh, grind your spice separately also otherwise they won’t catch the pestle because they are tiny little thing. The lasting ingredients that you want to add is shallot. Shallots is soft and juicy, it’s super easy to grind but if you put it in the first thing, everything else is going to be so hard to grind because there will be water splash everywhere and you won’t be able to really grind fully.
- It’s done! Put the curry paste in a bowl and let’s prepare for the curry dish.
- Start with cracking the coconut cream.
- Put a pot or pan over medium heat and add ½ C coconut cream. When it’s hot, and start to bubble on the side, add curry paste and consistently stir. Slowly add more coconut cream. You will notice when the coconut cream starts to crack. It will be red oil floating on the top. Not much though. You can pause for 30 seconds if you can’t see it. Add the rest of the coconut cream in.
- At this point, your coconut cream should be cracked and you can smell aromatic scent from curry paste.
- Add the meat that we prepare earlier with its juice. If you finish with a lot of juice, you don’t have to add them all in. You only need about 1/3 of a cup.
- Flavour the curry with fish sauce and palm sugar. Now, if you are making your own curry paste with this recipe, you will need about 1 Tsp of coconut sugar and about 2Tsp of fish sauce. You can add more according to your liking. If you are using pre-made curry paste, it tends to be saltier so be careful when you add fish sauce. The best way is to taste as you go.
- Break kaffir lime leaves and let it infuse into the curry for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and top with finely slices kaffir lime leaves and Prik Chi Fa chilis.
- Serve with the Thai-style classic steamed rice or Roti.
Thank you for being part of my Thai kitchen. If you are interested in joining my first cooking class, please feel free to register here. It’s free. The actual price is $59. The only thing that I may ask from you is feedback so I can improve other courses in the future!