Who needs take out when you can stir up a 20-minutes Thai Panang curry. Fast, creamy and hearty!
Ok, I am admitting it… I have an addiction. Addiction to Thai food!
During the weekends, Bryan and I eat out most of the time. When we discuss what we should eat, I usually and almost certainly reply with “Thai food”. After many many Thai food, Bryan isn’t too thrilled about Thai food at one point. He has rejected my idea plenty of times. So the question is what is Thai food that irresistible? I think it is the herbs and seasoning, like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, fish sauce, coconut milk. The combination of all these fragrant ingredients gives the food depth and complex flavors, which is hard to find that elsewhere. I think and crave about those flavors all the time (like right now!)! Oh man, I have a problem…. ??
We mostly order the same things every time we go to a Thai restaurant. Chicken satay, Thai fried rice and yellow curry. But one time, we went out with friends to a new Thai restaurant. Our friend highly recommended this Panang curry with sea bass. I tried it and that was it. Rich, creamy, savory…. With that melt-in-your-mouth fish, it was the best thing ever! I dreamed about it for months. Unfortunately, the restaurant is a bit far. It is not a place we can always go to. So, guess what? I have to try making it at home.
Panang curry is actually a type of red curry. The biggest difference between Panang curry and red curry is Panang curry contains peanuts and it is less spicy. Perfect! I would not be able to do with high level of spiciness.
There are not many ingredients for this dish. Once you gather them all, everything comes together really quickly. If you can get to a Vietnamese or Thai supermarket, you can easily find everything there. If not, Amazon will have everything you need. Thanks to the incredibly easy online shopping nowadays! Other than Panang curry paste, the next key ingredient is kaffir lime leaf. The leaves have a sweet lemony scent, that are unique and give a lemony fresh taste to the curry. They can’t be substitued. Even though the curry paste probably has some kaffir lime leaves, you want to add more and enhance the flavors. I bought a huge pack of fresh ones, used a few and froze the rest. I think I have enough kaffir lime leaves to last for at least a year! If you can’t fresh ones, dried ones work too! I know it can be a bit tricky to get all the ingredients you need, but it is totally worth the effort! You no longer need to go to a Thai restaurant for Panang curry, because you can make them yourself!
Most importantly, you are just 20 minutes away from this flavorful and satisfying Panang curry! Saute the ground peanuts and curry paste in the thick coconut cream. Add the beef and coat them with the aromatic curry paste. Add some coconut milk and water and cook until the beef is tender. Stir in the fresh herbs (lime leaves and basil) and seasoning (fish sauce and sugar). Scoop out and serve. That’s it! Creamy, sweet, savory, spicy and meaty… Serve with some steamed jasmine rice. Absolutely the best! Enjoy!
Thai Panang Curry with Beef
- 1 tablespoon peeled roasted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons panang curry paste
- 1 cup coconut milk (do not shake)
- ¾ pound flap meat, flank steak or top loin (thinly sliced)
- ½ cup water
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 8 fresh basil leaves or Thai basil leaves
- 1½ tablespoons fish sauce
- ½ tablespoon sugar or palm sugar
- In mortar and pestle, add the peanuts and pound to finely ground. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin. Put the peanuts in a Ziploc bag and use the rolling pin to pound the peanuts. It is kind of like a chunky peanut butter.
- In a small bowl, mix the ground peanuts with curry paste. Set aside.
- For the coconut milk, do not shake the can. Open the can and scoop out 1/3 cup of the thick coconut cream on the top of the can.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the 1/3 cup thick coconut cream. Stir and heat for 2 minutes. Add the curry paste mixture. Mix well. Add the beef slices and coat evenly with curry. Stir and mix the rest of canned coconut milk. Add 2/3 cup coconut milk and water into the curry. Bring the liquid to a boil and the beef is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Add kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves, fish sauce and sugar. Cook for another 1 – 2 minute. Taste and adjust with more fish sauce and sugar if needed. Transfer to a medium serving bowl. Serve immediately with hot steamed rice.
- If you can’t find roasted peanuts, toast them yourself at home. In a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the peanuts when the pan is hot. Keep stirring until the peanuts are aromatic and golden brown.
- The panang curry paste that I used is Mae Anong Panang Curry Paste. I got it from Amazon.
- Do not shake the coconut milk. It’s because when coconut milk sits, it separates into 2 layers. The top is a thick coconut cream and the bottom is a more liquidly coconut milk. Normally, you will shake the can before using to mix the cream and milk together. But in this case, we want to use the coconut cream like a fat to saute with the curry paste. Please remember not to shake the can before using!
- There are many different brands of coconut milk. They don’t taste the same. My favorite one is Aroy-D and you can get in from most Asian supermarkets and from Amazon.
- I bought a big bag of fresh kaffir lime leaves from a Vietnamese/Chinese supermarket. Use a few and freeze the rest. You can find fresh kaffir lime leaves in Thai or Vietnamese supermarkets or Amazon. If you can’t fresh ones, you can buy dried ones too (Amazon). Use double the amount of dried leaves.