Panang chicken curry

I was fortunate enough to travel to Southeast Asia last year. For those who know me best, you know that I LOVE Southeast Asian Panang chicken currycuisine–so this trip was my chance to eat my way through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and see how all of the Asian cuisine I’ve had back at home stacked up.

While in Luang Prabang, Laos, I had the most amazing yellow chicken curry. So upon my return home, I knew I wanted to try and recreate the dish. I won’t lie: The memory of this meal made me very hesitant to make it myself. The thought of attempting a recipe and it being an utter failure haunted me. But after doing some perusing, I found this Panang chicken curry recipe from Bon Appétit magazine, so I decided to give it a go.

And after all of my worrying and concern, I realized it was completely unfounded. This chicken curry was GOOD. It was not as spectacular as that first bite of curry I had on that warm evening with my fellow travelers in Luang Prabang, but that’s completely understandable. The real reason that chicken curry was the best I’ve ever had was because I was in an amazing new place, with a wonderful group of people, immersing myself in new cultures and cuisine. But Bon Appétit’s version comes pretty darn close–and each time I take my first bite of it, I’m reminded of that special trip.

PANANG CHICKEN CURRY
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
3 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk (divided)
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, Thai red curry paste
1 ½ cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 large leafy sprigs Thai basil or regular basil
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into about ¼-inch-thick slices
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips lengthwise, and then cut in half
1 8-ounce can bamboo shoots, drained
4 teaspoons tamarind paste
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Steamed rice (for serving)

Directions:

  1. Heat ½ cup of the coconut milk and Thai red curry paste in a heavy large skillet or pot (I used my Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Stir until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in remaining 3 cups of coconut milk, yellow onion, and basil sprigs. Bring it to a boil.
  3. Continue to boil until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  4. Add the chicken, bell pepper, bamboo shoots, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and sugar. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, stirring often, for about 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Serve over steamed rice.

Please note: I was able to find all of the Asian ingredients listed above in my regular grocery store. Just head to the Asian food aisle, and you should be good to go!

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