Panang anyone?

I really enjoy making curry, all things spicy and saucy, normally I stick to Indian, mixture of Rogan Josh (beef – slow cooked), lamb shank korma (rich and slow cooked so the meat falls off the bone), pasanda (sweet and nutty) are among my favourites, not forgetting a trusty daal recipe to go with them (more on these later).

But here I am exploring curry slightly further east, Thailand and a Red Beef Panang, after a trip to Leeds City Library to have a look at recipes (I firmly believe that recipes out of books, or at least ideas are more trustworthy than internet recipes until you can find a couple of recipes that seem to agree). I went with an open mind, but a hungry tummy which always makes my decision making questionable… and left slightly grumpy, no recipe and 15mins to go before Leeds Kirkgate Market closed.

Decided to get some steak and see afterwards what to make, Malcom’s Butchers provided us with some nice sirloin steak and after a confusing phone interenet recipe search, decided on a beef panang. In Leeds we are lucky as you can get pretty much anything, so off to the Chinese supermarket to get bits and pieces I don’t consider stock cupboard ingredients such as coriander root, galangal and shrimp paste.

Thai curry pastes have complex ingredient lists, but really simple methods – liquidise everything together to form a paste with a little water, this was roughly taken from ‘Temple of Thai‘:

N.B. for all spices, use whole and dry roast (until they go golden brown and start to pop)

2 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp grated nutmeg

3 mild green fresh chillies

2 cardamon pods (green)

½ tsp black peppercorns

½ tsp sea salt

12 big dried red chillies – slit down the middle, seeds removed and soaked in cold water for 10 mins or so

2 tsp peeled and chopped galangal root

2 tbs lemon grass (only use the white part – usually bottom 1/3 only)

1 tsp kaffir lime peel (can use ordinary lime if kaffir not available – I couldn’t find it…)

3 tbs shallots – better if you can use thai shallots

2 tbs garlic

1 tsp shrimp paste (make sure you keep it somewhere sealed as pretty smelly)

Then once your paste is made you only need to use teaspoons at a time for each meal, the rest will keep for ages in the fridge, or you can freeze it in ice trays which is pretty nifty… Also be aware of chilli hands, we’ve all been there and chilli nose and more importantly eye is really pretty uncomfortable!

To make a quick panang curry you will need some coconut cream (you get this by getting a can of coconut milk, letting it rest of a long while – don’t shake it, and skim off the creamy top layer as it separates into cream and water). You use the coconut cream to fry the paste in as it is so high in fat, start off by adding 1 tbsp of curry paste to a hot wok with 1 tbsp coconut cream and slowely add more and more cream as the paste absorbs it without letting it become too dry. This will take about 5mins and you will probably add around ½ cup of coconut cream. Throw in some finely chopped veg – I used sweet pepper and onion and continue to stir fry, then finally thin strips of sirloin steak (for 2 people we used 100g), until just cooked.

This was a really tasty recipe, pretty spicy hot, but oh so yummy! Plain steamed rice will go perfectly.

For pudding some of the chocolate cake left over from the jubilee picnic party

P.S. had some more paste for lunch today – fried off with veg and rice, possibly counts as ‘fusion food’ having Thai fried beefy rice, but was (once again) really quite tasty and super quick.

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