When I first made this favorite Thai dish, people thought I ordered it from a local restaurant. The rich and robust Thai herbs and roots exude the smell and taste that make this a wonderful dinner dish. While I do not promote any particular brand, I encourage people to use fresh herbs whenever possible– they are just simply better and provide a different taste profile than if dried.
The key to making Panang curry is a personal or even family-held tradition that often remains in that circle. While I have made my own Panang curry concoction into a paste–I use one that I prefer from my local grocery store for this recipe. I encourage you to use your red curry paste if you have the time to make them in advance and use it for this recipe. Using a store-bought red curry paste shortens the cooking time, and the fresh herbs and spices will help propel the flavors into a sapid sauce.
- 1 1⁄2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut each into 4 pieces
- 2 tbsps. of vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1⁄4 cup Panang curry paste or favorite brand of Thai curry paste
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 small Roma tomato
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
- 1-2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1 1/2 inch long strips
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, sliced thin chiffonade
- 1 lemongrass stalk, use light part of stalk finely sliced across
- 1 inch knob of ginger or galangal, julienned
- 12 leaves of Thai basil
- 1 tbsp. dark-brown sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cooked jasmine rice, to serve
Prepare the herbs and aromatics for easy sautéing and garnishing at the end.
- Place a stewing casserole under medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Stir in the aromatics: garlic, onion, and ginger. Sauté the ingredients until translucent for about 1-2 minutes, add the lemongrass and continue to stir for another minute.
Add the curry paste and tomato paste, stir around for another minute to release the oils from the aromatics.
Add the chicken thighs cut into cubes and continue to stir around until the chicken is coated with the curry paste mixture. Add the Roma tomato into the mix and continue to cook.
Once the chicken is seared on all sides, add the chicken broth and fish sauce. If using potatoes, add them now. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes over low heat.
- In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of cornstarch and about 3 tablespoons of the hot curry broth. Mix until the cornstarch has dissolved. Add this mixture back to the casserole.
- Add the coconut milk and brown sugar and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Add the red bell pepper and the kaffir chiffonade and simmer for another 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. If using the baby corn, add them now.
Add a garnish of fresh kaffir chiffonade, Thai basic leaves, and a slice of serrano pepper on top. Serve hot with a side of Jasmine rice.