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Monday, November 28, 2011

Panang Curry

When we go out for Thai food, one of my favorite things to order is the panang curry. But there is no doubt when this dish is made in a restaurant, it packs a hefty wallop of fat, sodium and calories.

My version is lightened up, but still rich and flavourful and it is super simple to make.

Traditionally, panang curry is made with either beef or chicken, but I made it vegetarian, using dried seiten (wheat gluten) I got at T&T a few weeks ago. If you are not sensitive to gluten, this is a great source of vegetarian protein. If you cannot find it dried, you can get it prepared at most health food stores. Alternatively, you can use tofu, or the more traditional chicken or beef options.

This dish also doesn't usually have much vegetable matter in it, but I love how yummy veggies taste when simmered in this sauce, and it makes this a healthy one-pot meal. Use whatever veggies you prefer or have on hand.

Protein of choice (2 cups seiten or 1 lb organic tofu, boneless skinless chicken or beef cut into bite sized pieces)

Sauce

1-3 tbls Thai red curry paste*
2 tbls finely chopped fresh ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can light coconut milk
2 tbls tomato paste
2 tbls fish sauce
2 tbls natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
Season to taste (keep in mind fish sauce is high in sodium)

1 bunch broccoli, cut up (and lightly steamed if you want to cut down cooking time)
2-3 small Japanese eggplants cut in thirds, than each third cut into quarters)
2 yellow, red or orange bell peppers
1 bunch green onions, cut into one inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
A few handfuls fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)

Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Add in protein and veggies and simmer until cooked through. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve over brown jasmine rice, or any type of brown rice. Serves 4.

*Be sure to taste your curry paste first. I have found that even different jars of the same brand can vary significantly in terms of heat. I stupidly didn't taste mine yesterday and the meal ended up not being nearly hot enough for our liking. Next time I'll be throwing in a hefty dose of crushed red chilis to amp up the heat! If you don't like a lot of spice, don't be scared off, even though the one I bought said it was spicy on the label, it really isn't!!

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