The waft of spices and the deep jewel colours make Panang a good introduction to Thai curry. This mildly spicy and sweetly-tasting dish is made traditionally without any vegetables. I cut back on coconut sugar and add butternut squash to enhance both flavour and nutrition. Kaffir leaves are used purely to infuse the aroma of the curry at the end. Do try to stock up fresh kaffir leaves when you go to an Oriental supermarket. They freeze well and are a necessity in Thai food.
It is a one pot/wok quick meal served with hot Thai jasmine rice. Beef panang is also popular. Substitute chicken with stir fry beef strips. Or leaving out the meat and make it into a delicious vegetarian meal with just butternut squash.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serve 2 as a large main or 4 accompanying other main dishes
200 g chicken breasts skinless
200 g butternut squash
2 tbsp Panang curry paste. Homemade paste recipe or shop bought
400ml coconut milk
6 kaffir leaves
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 1/2 fish sauce
a few strips of red pepper or Thai long chilli to garnish
Slice chicken breast into bite size stripes.
Chop butternut squash into 2 cm chunks.
Heat a cup of coconut milk in a saucepan over gentle heat until coconut cream surfaces.
Add curry paste and stir fry for a couple of minutes until chilli paste starts to release red oil bubbles.
Add the chicken. Stir fry until cooked through.
Add butternut squash chunks and the rest of the coconut milk and cook gently with the lid on for 10 minutes until soft not mushy.
Season with salt, sugar, fish sauce and peanuts. Mix well.
Add kaffir leaves mix in then turn off the heat and put the lid on the infuse the herb for a couple of minutes
Garnish with red pepper strips