thai panang curry: nose-sweating roommate joy.

With my mandatory lunch hour at 12:15 (my boss prefers I take early lunches, I prefer later, but, as always, the boss wins), I always try to do something productive with the hour given to me. Yesterday, I walked over to the Korean grocery store and picked up ingredients for the Thai dish I was making for dinner (yes, they may be Korean, but they stock many more South East Asian ingredients than the standard white walls, white shelves, North American megastore).

Thai food is essentially a fusion of Chinese and Indian food. It ranges from sour to sweet, spicy to salty - an array of flavors can be found in the recipes. One big difference from these full-bodied dishes to North American ones, is that the non-edible spices and herbs are not removed before serving. Bay leaves or cinnamon sticks may very well find their way into your mouth. Red curries are quite predominant, and the paste is chock full of taste (and spice!).
What better way to celebrate ex-roommates than to eat something so exotic and spicy that it makes their noses sweat. It was lovely to see these marvelous chaps again, and be able to feed them a good home-cooked meal.
Thai Panang Curry

2 lbs. sliced beef
1 tbs. peanut oil
2 tbs. red curry paste (store bought or homemade - the latter is better, a good recipe is here)
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp. palm sugar
1 tbs.sliced kaffir lime leaves plus 1 tbs. for garnish
1 tbs. fish sauce

1. Heat peanut oil in a saucepan on medium. Add the red curry paste and fry until it becomes quite dry (but not burning!). As it dries, add a little coconut milk, about 1/4 c. every couple of minutes.

2. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes - its ready for the meat when you see red oil floating on the top.

3. Add the beef, fish sauce, palm sugar, and 1 tbs. kaffir lime leaves. Cook for about another 5 minutes, until meat is cooked and sauce is very thick. Garnish with the 1 tbs. reserved leaves.

4. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Reconnect with those you shared a space with, and take pleasure in their company.


A Plum By Any Other Name said...

I've been dying to make some curry. Maybe I finally realized I should fight heat with heat. Your recipe was all the inspiration I needed to make things happen. I needed that push. And I thank you for it.