Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Panang Curry

In a space of a few days, I made a smoky enchilada sauce, some harissa, and this panang curry paste.  Then I realized I could never use all of these spicy red slops in a timely matter, and I relegated the enchilada sauce to the freezer.

This recipe is pretty different from your typical Thai-restaurant red or green curry.  It's milder and sweeter.  I thought it was actually a bit too sweet (there's a whole can of pineapple in it), but the flavors are interesting anyway, especially with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in the curry paste.

In following this recipe from strawberry pepper, the biggest change I made was to use tempeh instead of seitan.  I'm a little sheepish about my aversion to seitan.  Mentally, I know that seitan is a nutritious and barely processed source of protein, but the texture is just too much like tough meat for me to be down with it.  And anyway, tempeh actually probably makes more geographical sense in this dish, given the (general) part of the world from which it comes.

I'm a pretty big fan of this recipe.  Coconut milk adds richness, but it's not overwhelming.  The spices are really interesting, and balanced out by the pineapple (though I thought it was a bit too pineappley).  Tempeh, cashews, and bean sprouts all add interesting textures.  In the recipe below, I erred on the side of not-spicy, since you can always add some cayenne or chili-garlic paste later.

 Tempeh and Pineapple Panang Curry
(adapted from strawberry pepper)

1/2 c cashews, unsalted
1 tsp peanut oil
1/2 lb tempeh, cut into bite sized pieces
1 c sliced scallions, extra for garnish (I used onion instead)
2 cs pineapple chunks (or 1 can) (I think this was too much)
1 5 oz. can bamboo shoots
1/4 c panang curry paste + 1 TB more if extra zing is desired (recipe follows)
3/4 c coconut milk
3/4 c vegetable broth (or substitute water)
4 oz. bean sprouts (about 1 c)

1. On a skillet over medium-high heat, dry roast the cashews, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
2. Lower to a medium heat, and add tsp of peanut oil (If using a wok, turn the heat to high, and continue with the same directions). Sauté the tempeh for 5-10 minutes, until browned. Add the scallions/onions and sauté an additional 5 minutes.
3. Add the pineapple and bamboo shoots to the skillet or wok and sauté for 5 minutes.
4. Mix in the curry paste, and stir to coat evenly. Allow this to heat up and roast for a minute so that the flavors come out.
5. Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth (or water) and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Most of the liquid should absorb, and the rest should be thick and creamy.
6. Add the sprouts and roasted cashews, leaving some out to garnish with, if desired. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, then remove from heat.
7. Serve with rice and garnished with cashews, sprouts, and sliced scallions.  Serves 4.


This curry paste was easy to make and rather unusual.  Again, as I was making this for the first time, I erred on the side of not-so-spicy.  If I make it again, I'll probably use another chili or two.
Panang Curry Paste

2 medium shallots, quartered (I used 1/4 of a white onion, chopped)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c tomato paste
1 TB brown miso paste
2 TB soy sauce
1/4 c coconut milk
1 TB lime juice
1 heaping TB lemongrass, sliced
6-10 basil leaves (I might use more than 10 next time)
2-6 red chilies (I used 3 dried red chilies)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 TB paprika
2 TB chili powder (I used about 1 tsp of cayenne)
1 TB coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 TB cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

1. Put all ingredients into food processor and grind until smooth.
2. Refrigerate until ready for use. Will be better the day after making, when flavors have had a chance to meld.  Should last a couple of weeks in the fridge, or freeze for longer storage time.  Makes about 1 cup.


janet @ the taste space said...

What an inventive dish! Love the pineapple with the spicy-savoury curry.

I've only had seitan once, when I made the chorizo sausages, but I never thought they tasted like tough meat. These were more loose if anything else. You may want to try making these!


Julia said...

Mmm good call; sausage seasonings can make anything taste amazing. I'll have to try it. :)

Gauri Radha गौरी राधा said...

Appetizing photos!!
I've never tried panang curry, must try it out soon.