Blogging Marathon #68 Week 3 Day 4
Dish: Tofu Panang Curry
After posting an Indian fusion, a Mexican bean dish and a Parsi curry, it is time for another cuisine. Today I am posting a Classic Thai curry that I made from scratch. Panang Curry is a slightly milder form of Thai Curry and is not as watery as the former. It can be made with meats or vegetables or tofu. We love it with tofu, just like the curry we once had a family owned Thai restaurant in Tahoe.
The first time I made this curry from scratch, I was delighted. I have seen the Asian stores stack up every kind of curry paste and sauce, from the all purpose red curry paste to the pad thai sauce, Orange chicken sauce and Panang Curry paste. If I was to buy it all, I would need a pantry exclusively for Asian ingredients. Then I looked online and found a ton of recipes to make the curries from scratch. This method also saves me all the effort of looking for a curry paste suitable for Vegetarians, as we do not have fish, shrimp or oyster in any form.
While most recipes are more or less similar in ingredients and proportions, I used this recipe for the paste. It had shrimp paste that I left out. The curry tasted really amazing, bursting with fresh flavors. The galangal, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass come together to make a flavorful blend. This, added with fresh basil leaves gave the perfect curry. I added tofu pieces to the curry but mixed vegetables taste really great too. I added diced tofu but sometimes I like to saute it in chilli oil before adding to the curry. You can also add paneer pieces if you like. We enjoyed the curry with steamed rice, but it goes great with spicy basil fried rice too.
For Panang Curry Paste
Mexico Chillies a handful
Roasted Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
Lemon Zest of one large lime
Kaffir Lime Leaves 3-4
Galangal/ Ginger 1 inch piece
Chopped Cilantro Roots 2-3 stalks
Lemongrass 1 stalk
Shallots/ Onions 1-2
Garlic 2-3 pods
Dry Indian Chilli 1-2 (optional)
For the Curry
Firm Tofu 1 box (14 oz.)
Panang Curry Paste 2 tbsp
Green Pepper 1 medium, diced
Garlic 1-2 pods
Vegetable Oil 1 tbsp
Basil leaves a handful
Roasted Peanuts a handful
Corn starch 1 tablespoon dissolved in 2 tablespoon water
Cilantro and spring onion greens to top
For Panang Curry Paste (From here)
Remove the tops and stems of the chillies. Tear the kaffir leaf into bits and grate the galangal. Chop lemongrass stem and dice the garlic. Add all these with the remaining ingredients under curry paste to a blender. Puree to a smooth paste and store in an airtight bottle in the refrigerator.
For the Curry
Remove tofu from the box and press between kitchen towels to remove all moisture. Cut into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Add minced garlic and saute till fragrant. Then add the peppers and cook till slightly soft. Then add 2 tablespoon of the curry paste and saute. Tear 2-3 leaves of basil and add them.
Once the curry starts to become fragrant, add the tofu pieces and mix well. Then add the cornstarch water mixture and cook till it thickens to a gravy. Once the gravy starts to become thick and glossy, turn down the flame, top with chopped basil leaves, cilantro and spring onion greens. Serve topped with roasted peanuts along with steamed rice or pad thai noodles.