I think a lot of people get scared of cooking Asian food because it isn't something that they are familiar with. When your family wanted Thai or Chinese food growing up, you most likely ordered from your favorite local restaurant. I will be the first to admit I am no expert at using a wok, although it would be interesting to learn how to use it correctly. However, I have found a number of Thai dishes that are very simple, packed with flavor and they save you the trouble of ordering in. They also give you the ability to control the amount of spice in your food. Panang curry is a great weeknight dish and makes a great dish to entertain with. It is most likely something different then you usually cook for your friends. I'm using chicken in the recipe below, but you can use any protein, well I wouldn't use beef. Try shrimp, a white fish or tofu.
1/4 c Panang curry paste (you can get this as any Asian market and makes it easier than using Red curry paste)
3 c Coconut milk
4 Kaffier lime leaves (you can also get these at any Asian market then store them in your freezer. If you can't get them use some lime zest and lime juice)
3 Chicken breasts cut into chunks
2 tsp Fish sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1 Tbl Tamarind paste (if you can't find this, just skip it. It will still taste really good without it)
1 Red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/2 Onion thinly sliced
10 leaves Thai sweet basil (a lot of regular grocery stores have these. If they don't you can use some regular basil)
Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat. Then add 1/4 c of coconut milk and the curry paste. If you like it spicier add more curry paste. Cook just until it starts to brown then add the rest of the coconut milk. Gently simmer for a few minutes. Now add the chicken, fish sauce, sugar, tamarind and onion. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. Check after 10 minutes. The time will vary based on the size of the chicken pieces. Add red bell pepper and basil and simmer for about another minute. Serve over rice and enjoy!
I will take a photo next time I make it!
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