This Southern Thai curry is one of my favorite dishes. It is thicker and more concentrated than most curries. It is not overly spicy, and should have a slightly sweet taste. While a chicken or beef version of this dish is most common, it can also be made as a vegetarian entrée by leaving out the meat and adding tofu.
Like most other curries, this one is traditionally served with rice, but is also delicious over pasta, and I’ve heard of several people who eat Panang Beef Curry with bread. You can even find some pizza places in Bangkok that use this curry as a pizza topping, which is popular with both Thais and expats.
7 dried chilies, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes
Five 1/8-in (3-mm) thick slices galanagal, shredded
1/4 cup (50 g) thinly sliced lemongrass
5 shallots, peeled and quartered
7 garlic cloves, peeled
3 fresh coriander roots, chopped
1 teaspoon minced kaffir lime rind
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds
1 teaspoon salt
20 black peppercorns
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1/4 cup (50 g) ground peanuts
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) coconut cream
2 lbs (900 g) lean beef, thinly sliced
20 fresh Thai basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
3 kaffir lime leaves, shredded crosswise, plus extra for garnish
2 red or green chilies, minced (optional), plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons Thai palm sugar
1. Combine all curry paste ingredients except the peanuts in a blender. Process until smooth. Stir in the ground peanuts, blend one more time, and set aside.
2. Scoop 1 cup (250 ml) of the coconut cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the curry paste and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook until the mixture is fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the beef to the saucepan and stir until well mixed. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) coconut cream. Cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the meat loses its pink color. Add the Thai basil leaves, the kaffir lime leaves, chilies (if using), fish sauce, and sugar. Stir until well combined. Serve hot.
From Nong's Thai Kitchen by Nongkran Daks and Alexandra Greeley, Tuttle Publishing 2015.
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