I have to admit - I didn't know the difference between regular curry and panang curry prior to writing this post. All I know is that everytime I see panang duck on the menu, I have to order it. Panang's flavor (at least to me) seems to be richer and deeper. As with the duck, well... it's just my favorite meat to go with it.
After some research, I found out that they both have the same predominant ingredients - dried chilis, coriander, cardamom, lemon grass, garlic, etc. However, panang contains cumin, green peppers, mace, and others not found in red or yellow curry.
Hubby surprised me with several cans of panang curry when he went to the Asian store and I was excited to use it. What he got me was in paste form, but truth be told, I have never seen panang curry powder before. I am sure it exists, but I don't know where to buy them. I prefer the paste anyway.
And since I have not fully recovered from our adventure with Mr. Duck, I opted to use chicken instead. It turned out delicious, not quite restaurant quality, but close enough for home consumption. :-)
What you need:
1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, coined
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
3 tablespoons Panang curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup Thai basil
2 teaspoons Canola oil
What to do:
Heat Canola oil in a wok over medium-high. Add in the chicken and cook until brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in about 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of Panang curry paste and stir well. Let cook for about a minute.
Add the remaining coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, sugar, carrots, and bell peppers. When it boils, lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
Add basil then turn off heat. Serve with hot rice.
Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:
1. When browning chicken, stir constantly. Otherwise, the chicken would stick to the bottom of your pan.
2. Use regular (sweet) basil if you don't have Thai basil.
3. Want more heat? Add more curry paste.
4. ALWAYS wash your hands after handling poultry to avoid cross contamination. Use a separate cutting board for chicken!
5. If you don't like fish sauce, substitute with salt.