Seester’s Beef Panang Curry

Beef Panang Curry

Since I posted the round up we did for our Thai themed Sunday Family Dinner a few months ago, I’ve been getting TONS of requests for my seester’s recipe for Beef Panang Curry. And today is your lucky day because here it is!

The original recipe came from a Thai cooking class my seester took many moons ago. I’ve adapted it just a slight bit but the method is still quick and easy.

Beef Panang Curry

This recipe makes a lot curry but it tastes even better over time.  I used some leftover Beef Panang Curry to make the Beef Panang Naan Pizza below. Store bought garlic naan slathered with hummus, topped with beef curry and topped with grape tomatoes and cilantro. What had started off as throwing refrigerator leftovers together turned out to be a delicious re-made meal.

Beef Panang Curry

However you end up serving it, my seester’s Beef Panang Curry is a tasty-under 20 minute meal.

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Seester’s Beef Panang Curry

Ingredients:

2 pounds beef (ribeye, loin steak, tenderloin), sliced thin into bite sized strips
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 can (typically 13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
2 heaping tablespoons Panang curry paste or red curry paste
4-5 fresh kaffir lime leaves, finely minced
3-4 Thai chilies (jalapeno or serrano can be substituted), minced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms (shiitake, baby portabello, etc.)
2 tablespoons fish sauce, more to taste
2 scallions, cut into ½ inch pieces
2 cups torn fresh Thai basil leaves, about 1 bunch
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, more to garnish

Season the beef with the pepper and salt. Set aside.

Set a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot over high heat and pour in the coconut milk. Stir and cook until the milk begins to separate – about 5 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium and whisk in the curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, chilies and cook for an additional minute.

Stir in the bell pepper, mushrooms and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the beef and stir around the pot for 1-2 minutes until the meat is no longer pink. Add in the fish sauce, scallions, basil and cilantro. Cook the beef for another 1-2 minutes. Taste and add more fish sauce as needed.

Serve hot over rice. Garnish with additional cilantro leaves.

Cà Ri Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Curry)

Cà Ri Gà

Vietnamese is easily one of the top requested foods people ask me to post recipes for. Of course it’s one of my favorite cuisines but to actually quantify measurements in Vietnamese dishes is really tricky. Like Mom and our aunties, I kind of throw a bit of this and a couple of more dashes of that until I like the flavor results.

So please bear with me as I try to share more delish Vietnamese dishes this year and know that you can always adjust amounts (more heat, less nước mắm…) to your hearts content.

Cà Ri Gà

Cà Ri Gà is the Vietnamese version of a chicken curry stew and I LOVE IT. It’s hearty, incredibly aromatic and the flavors get better over time. The rich Cà Ri Gà can be served with jasmine rice or over rice noodles. However my preferred carb accompaniment is with crusty, toasted baguette so that you can dunk pieces in the sauce and gobble it on up.

Cà Ri Gà

I kind of think of Cà Ri Gà as the Vietnamese approach to fusion as a lot of components pull from various cultures. The curry spices itself are from South India – the Vietnamese call it “Cà Ri Ấn Độ“. I like to use a Madras curry blend–a paste in fact but Madras curry powder will also do the trick. As for the coconut milk and kaffir limes – I think of those as classic Thai flavors. And of course the baguette comes from the very heavy French influence in Việt Nam.

Cà Ri Gà

Cà Ri Gà is not difficult to make but like so many other memorable dishes, it does take some time to layer flavors. And trust me, it’s completely worth the few extra steps.

Start off by taking a chicken (it is chicken curry after all) and break it down into 8 pieces. Of course you can use whatever cuts you prefer but I would suggest leaving the skin on and bone-in for more flavor. Mo’ flavor, mo’ better!

Slather the chicken in some of the curry paste and other aromatics –then allow it marinate for several hours.

Cà Ri Gà

After the chicken has had ample time to steep in all the delicious aromatics, lightly brown the meat on both sides.

Browned goodness = Awesome flavor

Tip: Before browning the chicken, wipe off some of the aromatics as they can burn from the high heat in the pot.

Burned garlic/ginger = No bueno flavor

Cà Ri Gà

Remove the chicken after it has browned and saute some other goodies. I’m telling ya, Cà Ri Gà is an aromatic party!

Cà Ri Gà

Then add in a few dollops of the Madras curry paste and cook it down for a minute or two. The heat will release the natural oils from the spices that will add magic to your sauce.

Flavor Magic.

Cà Ri Gà

At some point you’ll also want to smash up some lemongrass stalks. But do me a favor and be careful while you’re hacking away.

Cà Ri Gà

In goes the coconut milk, chicken stock, beaten up lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and a few dashes of Vietnamese Liquid Gold (fish sauce)……..

Cà Ri Gà

Then the taters, carrots and chicken…………

Cà Ri Gà

And then about an hour later you’ll be ready to get down on some honest to goodness Cà Ri Gà! The chicken should be fork tender and swathed in the luscious curry sauce that is incredibly fragrant from the lemongrass, ginger and kaffir.

Should you find yourself with leftovers, take a tortilla and spoon some basmati rice in the center. Top the rice with the Cà Ri Gà, a few spoonfuls of the sauce and you’ll have an insane Cà Ri Gà Wrap! It also freezes really well.

Cà Ri Gà

And with that dear Friends – Ăn Ngon!

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Cà Ri Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Curry)
Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (4-5lbs), broken down into 8 pieces
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1 tablespoon finely minced lemongrass
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided (*more to taste)
5 tablespoons Madras curry paste, divided
1 cup diced white onions
1 inch fresh garlic, sliced into thin matchsticks
2 whole red Thai chilies, minced (*more to taste)
1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups chicken stock
2 stalks lemongrass
6-8 fresh kaffir lime leaves (2-3 bay leaves can be substituted if needed)
1 pound peeled potatoes, washed and cut into large pieces
3-4 medium sized peeled carrots, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
toasted baguettes

In a large bowl, add the chicken pieces, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, shallots, minced garlic, minced lemongrass, minced ginger, black pepper, sugar, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and 2 tablespoons of curry paste. Thoroughly coat the chicken and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the chicken in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 6-8 hours.

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the remaining oil to medium. Brush off the larger shallots/garlic/ginger pieces from the chicken (to prevent it from burning) and in batches, lightly brown the chicken on both sides—about 5-6 minutes. Place the browned chicken on a large plate.

Once all the chicken has been browned, discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil/grease from the pot. Throw in the diced onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chilies and saute for 1 minute before adding in the remaining curry paste. Cook for an additional 30-40 seconds to allow the aromatics and spices to release their oils and bring out their flavors.

Pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock. Take the back of a knife and smash the lemongrass stalks several times to bruise the stalks and release its oils. Add the bruised lemongrass, kaffir leaves, and remaining fish sauce to the pot. Place the potatoes and carrots in the pot and add the chicken. The items should mostly be submerged in the liquids.

Bring the liquids to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook the curry, partially covered, on a low simmered heat for 50-60 minutes. Once done, the chicken should be very tender and the sauce has reduced by about ½.  Taste and adjust with additional fish sauce and black pepper as needed.

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with toasted baguettes (or rice, noodles, etc.).

Channa Masala (Spicy Chickpea Curry)

Channa Masala (Spicy Chickpea Curry)

 

Here we are……the final installment to my Indian Foodventure. And let’s be honest. This isn’t a bad way to end it—-with Channa Masala!

Essentially Channa Masala (also seen spelled as “Chana“) is an Indian spiced Chickpea Curry. You’ll find several different preparations of Channa Masala but I like mine to be spicy and in a thick tomato sauce. Which is why the recipe from Eat, Live, Run suited me so well.

As a legume, Chickpeas are chopped full of protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber. It’s hearty and filling and I find this particular dish to be a wonderful vegetarian option. Even I don’t miss the “meat” while enjoying this!

 


Channa Masala (Spicy Chickpea Curry)

 

Jenna of Eat, Live, Run does an amazing job chronicling a step-by-step process to create her version of Channa Masala. It was easy to understand and I followed every step to the “T”! I really believe the pince step is crucial to the process and really intensifies the seasonings. DO NOT skip it! The flavors were incredible—deep, smoky, and spicy. Just how I like my Channa Masala. And best of all, it tastes even better the next day!

This concludes my Indian Foodventure! It was my first endeavor but I know I will be trying my hand at it again. And if you are anything like I was, I hope you’ve seen that some Indian dishes aren’t as intimidating as you may think. So get in your kitchens and whip up some delicious Indian foods! :)

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Channa Masala (Spicy Chickpea Curry)
From Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients:

2 15 Ounce Cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Garlic Cloves, smashed and chopped
1 Onion, chopped
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Inch Knob Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
1 15 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1/2 Lemon
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4-1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
2 Tablespoon Butter

In a large cast iron skillet, heat the butter. Once melted, add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes on medium low heat, or until golden brown. Once the onions have caramelized, add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno and stir well. Cook for about two minutes or until it starts to smell like heaven on earth. Add the tomato paste and pince*. This is very important and if you don’t do it right your dish is pretty much doomed. No pressure. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and tumeric and stir well. Then add the diced tomatoes, chickpeas and garam masala. Cook for about five minutes or until the chickpeas have heated through. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and top with plain yogurt and cilantro if desired!

**To pince is essentially a browning process. For this recipe, after you add the paste, stir it well into the other ingredients. Next you’ll want to flatten the ingredients into one layer on the bottom of the pan. Turn up the heat and allow the sugars to cook down for a few minutes and create a really nice brown crust on the bottom of your pan. It may look like it’s burnt but it’s not. Jenna describes it as smelling like “pizza” —and it does!

Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potatoes Curry)

Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potatoes Curry)

 

The third installment of my Indian Foodventure—–Saag Aloo or Spinach & Potatoes Curry.

Saag is a typically made with spinach or other leafy greens and is cooked down with spices until it reaches a smooth texture. Often you’ll find Saag prepared with Paneer–a fresh Indian cheese. Paneer isn’t difficult to make and comes together with only a few ingredients. However, it does take some time for the curds to come together and firm up. As such, I opted to prepare my Saag with fried Aloo (potatoes)—which is another common pairing.

 

Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potatoes Curry)

 

I adapted a recipe from Saveur by replacing the paneer with fried potato cubes and reducing the amount of heavy cream by 2 tablespoons. The final product resulted in a delightful vegetarian dish with great flavors from the garam masala. Absolutely a winning recipe!

A little side note: This is definitely one of those dishes that may look a tad unappetizing but is darn tasty! :)

Monday’s Post: The conclusion of our Indian Foodventure– Channa Masala (Spicy Chickpea Curry)

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Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potatoes Curry)
Adapted from Savuer

Ingredients:

1 Large Russett Potato, peeled and cubed
1 Inch Piece Ginger, peeled and chopped
3–4 Cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Serrano Chile, stemmed and chopped
8 Cups Spinach, washed, trimmed, and finely chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1-2 Pinches Cayenne
1/4 Cup Water
4 Tablespoon Heavy Cream
Kosher Salt
Vegetable Oil to fry Potatoes, plus 1 Tablespoon

Heat a large skillet with vegetable oil. Using a paper towel, dry the potato cubes. In batches, fry the potato cubes until golden brown all over, about 4–6 minutes. Transfer potatoes with a slotted spatula to a plate covered with paper towels and set aside. Season with kosher salt.

For the spinach, put ginger, garlic, chiles, and 1/4 cup water into a blender and purée to a smooth paste. Place a large skillet with 1 Tablespoon oil on the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Add ginger–garlic paste and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook until leaves wilt. Continue to stir often. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until spinach is very soft, about 10-15 minutes.  Stir in garam masala, cayenne, and cream.

Add fried potatoes to the spinach and cover skillet. Continue cooking until liquid thickens and spinach is silky soft, about 15 minutes more. Check for seasonings and add additional kosher salt or cayenne as needed. Serve with Naan or rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

 

Without a doubt, Indian fare is one of my favorite cuisines. I love the deep layers of flavors and spices—delicious.

But the reasons why I love it so much is also why I have never really prepared Indian food before. I was intimidated. Totally overwhelmed.

Of the scores of recipes I’ve reviewed, the ingredient lists have always thrown me off. A huge laundry list of spices—-all of which I knew were integral to the deep flavors that I loved so much. So whenever I had hankerings for Channa Masala, Curried Paneer, Samosas—-I would head straight to my favorite Indian spot and order up the goodies.

But then the other day I became set on making Homemade Naan for the first time. And in this gal’s opinion, very little goes better with Naan than Chicken Tikka Masala. MMMMM! This popular chicken curry with it’s creamy, tomato sauce is easily my favorite Indian dish. Is it authentically Indian? I don’t think so…..I’ve actually heard that it was created in London. Nonetheless, I love it.

I recalled an episode I saw of America’s Test Kitchen when they prepared Chicken Tikka Masala. It seemed so simple and relied on Garam Masala as the primary spice agent. As Garam Masala is a blend of a variety of spices, there was no need for me to purchase a ton of different seasonings! P-E-R-F-E-C-T!

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

 

While I was preparing this dish, the aromas quickly filled the entire house—- and it smelled amazing! It was fairly easy to prepare and was really flavorful. I was worried that the boneless/skinless chicken would be dried out due to the cooking method. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the meat to be quite moist—probably as a result of the generous coating of yogurt that sealed in the juices. The photos here show the Chicken Tikka Masala served with a Turmeric Rice but Basmati would be perfect with it, too.

In the end, we had a lot of sauce left over and I didn’t want to waste all of that great flavor. So the next day, I lightly grilled some prawns and threw them into the sauce. It was really delicious and became a wonderful seafood option!

All in all—I was quite happy with this Chicken Tikka Masala and will definitely make it again! My Host Family in Chennai would be proud :)

*Friday’s Post: Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potatoes Curry)


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Chicken Tikka Masala
From America’s Test Kitchen: Cooking for Two

Ingredients:

For the Chicken
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Two (6 to 8-ounce) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, trimmed
1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Teaspoons Grated or Minced Fresh Ginger

For the Sauce
One (14.5-ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Small Onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Teaspoon Grated or Minced Fresh Ginger
1 Small Serrano Chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 1/2 Teaspoons Tomato Paste
1 1/2 Teaspoons Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon Sugar
Salt
1/3 Cup Plain Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro


Make the chicken
1. Combine the garam masala, cayenne, and salt in a bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then coat the chicken thoroughly with the spices, pressing to help them adhere. Place the chicken on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. Whisk the yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger together in a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.

Make the sauce
1. Process the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until pureed, about 15 seconds. Heat the oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the processed tomatoes, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the yogurt and cover to keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to be 6 inches from the broiler element, and heat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and top with a wire rack. Using tongs, dip the chicken into the yogurt mixture so that it is thickly coated and arrange on the prepared wire rack; discard any excess yogurt mixture. Broil the chicken until the exterior is lightly charred in spots and the thickest part of the breasts registers 160 to 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Stir the chicken pieces into the warm sauce (do not simmer the chicken in the sauce). Stir in the cilantro, season with salt to taste, and serve.

NOTE: I’m not sure why, but the ingredients shown on the episode of ATK are slightly different than what is actually published in their cookbook. What you see here is the cookbook method.

Thai Red Curry Chicken

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

A few weeks ago, my sister labored in the kitchen with her version of Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà Ri Gà). The next day, Pioneer Woman posted her version of Red Thai Duck Curry.

It was a Sign.

The Kitchen Gods were telling me to make Curry.

And I don’t mess with Kitchen Divinities. That’s just bad Ju-Ju.

 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

I haven’t had Thai in awhile so I opted to give the Pioneer Woman’s recipe a spin. I heart PW. She wouldn’t steer me wrong.

 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

I took a few liberties and slightly modified PW’s original recipe. First–I used chicken instead of duck since it was what I had on hand. I also added a few more tablespoons of the curry paste for an added oompf of flavor. Since I do not like the taste of cooked pineapples (BLEH!), I totally omitted it. I found that the curry had natural sweetness from the coconut and didn’t need to add any sweeteners to compensate for it.

And because this gal loves heat, I threw in a few Thai Bird Chilies. But if you don’t like your curries too spicy, skip it. Finally, I added some scallions and cilantro at the very end with the Thai basil.

It was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! Rich, savory, herbaceous—and just yummy! For next time, I’d like to throw in a few kaffir leaves for an added layer of citrus flavor.  Note to self: Smuggle a few leaves off my auntie’s kaffir lime tree next time I go visit.

If you want a seafood option, I think prawns would also be fantastic in this curry. Just wait until the last few minutes to throw them in because overcooked prawns is no bueno.

 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

 

And for the record, I did end up making my own curry paste. I contemplated using the jarred stuff but then I heard my sister’s voice in my head asking “So…..did you make your own curry paste?”  Sheesh…..That woman always keeps me honest in the kitchen :)

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Thai Red Curry Chicken
Slightly modified from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Serves 5 – 6

Ingredients:

1½ Pounds Boneless Chicken Thighs
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
8 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
14 Ounces Coconut Milk
2 Cups Hot Water
4 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, minced
½ Whole Red Onion, sliced
3-4 Thai Bird Chilies, minced (optional)
1 Whole Red Bell Pepper, cored and sliced
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes
1 Cup Fresh Thai Basil, chopped
½ Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
½ Cup Scallions, chopped
Serve with Jasmine Rice Cooked

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken skin side down and cook for several minutes, or until skin is crisp and golden brown. (Don’t worry about cooking the chicken at this point. You just want to give the skin some great color.) Remove from the skillet and cut into slices. I also removed the skin but that’s completely up to you. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium low. If oil isn’t overly brown, go ahead and add the minced garlic to the pan. (If oil is to brown, pour it off and add some new oil.) Add red curry paste to the pan and stir. Cook paste for several minutes to release the flavors. Pour in the coconut milk, hot water, fish sauce, and minced ginger. Stir and allow to cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a separate pot heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Add sliced onions and bell pepper and cook for several minutes. Make sure the pan is hot, then add sliced chicken and stir. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.

Taste curry sauce, which should be slightly thickened by now. Add more spice if needed.  Pour curry sauce into the pot with the veggies, chilies, and chicken. Stir to combine and allow to bubble and simmer for a good 10 to 15 minutes. Add a little hot water if it seems too thick, or allow to bubble longer if it needs more thickening. Remove from heat and add scallions. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. At the last minute, stir in lots of chopped basil and cilantro. Serve immediately over jasmine rice.