My favorite Thai restaurant, Thai Basil, serves the greatest Panang Curry I’ve ever had. It’s slightly sweet, spicy, and full of flavor. I knew once we moved some thirty miles from Chantilly that I had to create it for home. I puzzled for years on how to do it, throwing complicated recipes around and ruining tons of perfectly good beef. Finally, I broke down and took a class with Nongkran Daks, the chef at Thai Basil.
In a way, it was great to learn the secret. In another way, it was quite disheartening. Nong makes her own curry paste, you see, with lots of unique and rare Thai ingredients. I don’t know where I can conveniently find Kafir lime leaves, coriander root, and galanghal on a whim around here! Certainly not at the grocery store at the corner!
So, dismayed, I broke the whole recipe down and tried again, and found a reasonable fascimile I can make at home using premade curry paste. And the curry paste is the trick here! It will turn out really well with Thai Kitchen brand. Better (and cheaper!), though, would be something like this.
Panang Beef Curry
2 Tbsp lard or other cooking fat
2 lbs. skirt steak, cut into 1/2″ by 2″ strips
1 onion, sliced
3 medium carrots, peeled and chunked into 1″ long pieces
2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste or panang curry paste
1 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk
1 Tbsp coconut aminos
1 Tbsp fish sauce
20 Thai basil leaves (optional)
- In wok or large frying pan, melt lard over medium-high heat
- Add beef and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes
- Remove and set aside meat, add onions and carrots and cook until soft, about 8 minutes
- Return meat and add curry paste, stirring to coat
- Pour in coconut milk and stir until uniformly red
- Add aminos and fish sauce; stir and reduce to medium-low heat
- Simmer for 20 minutes
- Before serving add, Thai basil and stir to wilt
- Serve over cauliflower rice, our simple recipe is in Eat Like a Dinosaur