Probably my favourite Thai curry of them all has to be a Panang curry. It’s thicker than the other curries in Thailand, closer to what we’re used to in a curry in England, and less of a soup.
A Panang curry is cooked quickly, using the thicker coconut cream as opposed to coconut milk and stock that you’d find in a green, or red Thai curry.
I’ve used a good quality rump steak in my recipe, sirloin works well as does any other tender cut. You have to make sure your paste mixture is cooked well before you add the meat because this cooks so quickly, you don’t want to overcook your lovely beef. If the rawness isn’t cooked out of the curry paste, the finished dish will end up a harsh taste.
Another way to cook Panang beef would be to use a stewing cut, like chuck steak, and slow cook it. This method isn’t common in Thailand, but I absolutely love it done this way. If you want to give it a go then just substitute the rump/sirloin for your favourite stewing cut, and when you get to step 4 – where you pop the lid on, turn the heat right down, and let it simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours before continuing.
For the curry paste, I’ve used 10 dried red chillis, with half their seeds removed. If you feel that it might be too hot for your taste, or you’re cooking for kids, then you can substitute some of the chillies for a tablespoon of paprika powder. That way you still get the lovely red colour, and dried pepper taste, without blowing anyone’s head off. Just make sure it’s not smoked paprika, otherwise we’re heading into Spanish territory!
I’ve made a quick paste using a blender. It’s literally done in five minutes and is so much better than a shop bought paste. If you don’t have a blender, you can obviously use a pestle and mortar, it will just take a lot longer!
Place all the ingredients for the paste in the blender.
Blitz with the coconut cream to a sauce consistency.
Heat a wok or nonstick pan over a medium heat and add the paste mix. Cook for around 5 - 10 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn't catch on the bottom. You want to make sure it's well cooked, and it's lost its harsh taste. The beef is ready to go in when the oil starts to separate from the paste.
Add the beef, the rest of the coconut cream and turn up the heat.
After around 3minutes, the beef with be cooked through, and you should be left with a thick sauce. If it has dried out too much, add a little water. Add a little fish sauce and the palm sugar and adjust to taste. The curry should be thick with a layer of the separated oil across the top.
Serve the panang curry drizzled with the leftover coconut cream, and top with the shredded lime leaves.
Another way to cook panang beef, would be to use a stewing cut, like chuck steak, and slow cook it. This method isn't common in Thailand, but I absolutely love it done this way. If you want to give it a go then just substitute the rump/sirloin for your favourite stewing cut, and when you get to step 4 - where you pop the lid on, turn the heat right down, and let it simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours before continuing.