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Penang CurryI am so engrossed in my quest to become healthy,  by reaching my ideal weight that I have not been attempting any new dishes other than salad and I have decided to reach into my vault for a recipe to post !! This is one dish I have been meaning to post but…. off late I have also been experiencing some form of writers block ………you will not believe the number of times I have sat in front of the laptop waiting and hoping that I can at least write one sentence ……I can go from there. Well thats what I thought !!! Hah !!!  One sentence later and  still nothing clicked in my brain. You would think that I am over it now which is why this post is here but nothing’s still happening !!!!!

A few months back, I went to a new farmers market after hearing a lot about it from a friend. Her husband works with V…….a few years back I was the youngest among all my friends and then V changed jobs and we made some new friends and I have to tell you I feel old when I’m with them……they are young !!! But I’m glad I met them …..some of the sweetest people ever !!! In fact, N & M are expecting their first baby and they are having their baby shower at my place. Only after I volunteered for it did I realize that my backyard is in horrible shape !!! So every spare moment after the kids and exercising goes towards yard clean up !!! V is just happy that he gets a hot meal every evening !!!!

Now onto the real story, the farmers market……..I was like a kid in a candy store in that place ! There was an aisle for every part of the world except South America and Australia. There were some African food there too !!! After checking out many of the aisles I found myself in the Asian aisle and lets just say………nirvana !!! I found Penang curry paste without fish sauce or shrimp and made it immediately. It was delicious !!!! I then set myself a challenge …..recreate the paste so that even during the times I do not go there, I can have the curry !!! Why do I not go there often you ask, well……its almost 30 minutes from my place. I go there only when I am in that part of town or when I am out of everything !!!!

I love this curry…it is richer, sweeter and creamier than all other thai curries. In fact this is the very reason it is one of the most popular thai curries here in the US. My cousin was visiting us when I made the curry and she liked it too.I paired it with Green Papaya Salad and rice. Vegetables are not usually added to an authentic penang curry just meat and sometimes green thai eggplant. It is also drier than other thai curries with just enough sauce to cover the meats. I added a lot of vegetables and added a little more coconut milk to suit my needs.One of the unique things about this curry is that it uses peanuts in the paste, something not found in the herbal Green Curry Paste or the fiery Red Curry Paste ! Another unique thing about this curry paste is that like massaman curry paste , this one is based on dried herbs and spices rather than fresh like the others. One thing to keep in mind while serving any Thai or Indian curry is that when you serve both the curry and rice hot , the heat will hit you , but to alleviate it serve the curry hot with room temperature rice !!!Penang Curry



Penang Curry Paste:

6-12 Dried Red Chillies

1 tbsp Galangal

2 ½ tbsp Lemongrass, chopped

1 tsp Lime Zest

1 tsp Cilantro Stems

2 ½ tbsp Shallots, chopped

4 tbsp Garlic, peeled

2 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 ½ tsp Cumin Seeds

1 tsp Peppercorns

1 tsp Nutmeg, freshly grated

2 ½ tbsp Peanuts


1/3 cup coconut cream

1 tsp raw sugar

1 ½ tsp soy sauce

1 cup coconut milk

1 block Firm Tofu, cut into cubes and pan fried

1 ½ cups Vegetables of your choice, cut

2 red chillies, seeded and thinly sliced diagonally

2 tbsp Thai Basil, cut into a chiffonade

In a pan, dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds and peanuts.

Then add to the other paste ingredients and blend to a fine paste using as little water as possible.

Saute the paste in oil for 10 minutes on a low heat, stirring often to prevent sticking. This is to develop flavour.

Add the veggies and saute for a couple of minutes.

Then add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add soy sauce and sugar.

Add the coconut cream a little at a time and simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Add the tofu , basil and red chillies and serve.

Penang CurryTaste Test

I love this curry. It is aggressive and has the perfect spice mix. It has a more condensed flavour than the other thai curries………less coconut milk and the use of the coconut cream probably.It also has a nuttier taste b’coz of the peanuts that go into the paste. I made mine soupy but the authentic version is with very little sauce. I love the veggies….I used beans, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers and broccoli. Many of the restaurants here use potatoes and avocado but I do not like it ……..neither do I like eggplant in it. Just because it had two varieties of coconut liquids ( for the lack of a better word ) in it does not mean it is not spicy……speaking of spicy ,I have an interesting fact for you……. you actually taste spicy food b’coz the capsaicin found in peppers causes a small pain in the tongue and it is not a reaction of the taste buds which only sense sweet, salty, sour and bitter !!!!

This is my version of the paste…there are many options online , they all include fish sauce and shrimp paste. Many of the recipes that I found online during my research had chicken or beef in them. The same procedure was followed , omitting the tofu and reducing the veggies to just about 1 cup. If you have kaffir lime leaves , use 1-2 leaves as the perfume is heavenly. 

This is off to Jagruit’s Repost from Archives Event.