Falling in love with Thailand is pretty irresistible, and if you find yourself pining for it when you leave like I did (still do!) here is the best Thai Penang curry recipe around to bring Thailand home with you – courtesy of the amazing people at Time for Lime on Koh Lanta. If you ever find yourself out that way, get yourself booked in on a course – you cook yourself either lunch or dinner, have an amazing time and learn loads! – and even get a recipe book to take away with you!
PENANG GAI (PENANG WITH CHICKEN)
For the paste: (makes loads – freeze it for later!)
(The ingredients in brackets can be skipped to make a red curry paste instead of a penang)
Why not just go and buy the paste from the supermarket and save time? Try this one first; it’ll answer that question for you!
You might notice the high quantity of chillies in this recipe – Thai locals can hack way more spice than us Westerners! I use 5-6 large chillies and only a couple (of the 24 they would use!) of the birds eye chillies. The first time I made it back home, I forgot the gloves they recommend wearing to chop the chillies and ended up with burning hands as well as a burning mouth from including all the chillies in the recipe! Adjust accordingly!
1. Fry all ‘dry spices’ in a dry wok (no oil) for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Start with the largest first and add in the smaller ones to prevent them burning.
2. Pound the roasted spices in a mortar until finely ground.
3. Chop all ingredients as finely as possibe – you’re going to want to make it easy to reduce them to a paste! Add the rest of the ingredients to the dry spices, a little at a time, in list order.
4. Unless you’re after a serious arm workout, after a little pounding in the mortar, transfer the ingredients over to a blender to finish the job, and add the oil.
The women at Time for Lime told us to always begin with pounding the ingredients though, because it releases a lot more flavour than blending them from scratch. I haven’t tested the theory, but I’m trusting the experts! You can freeze the paste in an ice cube tray, or just wrap it in cling film, and it’ll last for a few weeks.
For the curry:
1. In a small bowl, mix soy, fish and tamarind sauce plus sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and set aside.
2. In a wok or large saucepan, add oil and curry paste. Stir fry on medium heat until the paste and oil have blended and the aroma is released.
3. Turn up the heat a little. Add chicken, and stir fry until chicken is half cooked and covered in paste.
4. Add half the coconut cream/milk and simmer for 2 minutes. Keep stirring. Add the rest of the coconut cream, sauce mix and peanuts. Simmer for 3 minutes – it should thicken.
5. Finally, add red chilli, Thai basil and kaffir lime leaves.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
Check out www.timeforlime.net for loads more amazing authentic Thai recipes and inspiration!