Summer in Italy is rarely spent indoors. Sunny days are spent at the beach and the warm nights are spent out with friends. But unless you live in Rome or Milan, eating out is limited to Italian food. You may not believe this, but one can get really tired of eating Italian food. It’s not that Italian food isn’t enjoyable, but after several weeks of pizza, pasta and insalata mista, a palate change is severely needed. Thankfully, the little Asian market that I depend on was finally reopened after their month-long vacation. Stocked with ginger, coconut milk, limes and even cilantro (the first time I have ever seen cilantro in Italy), I headed home to make some panang!
I started preparing my ingredients…
chopped garlic and ginger
sliced bell peppers
Then I heated some coconut oil in a large pot, added the garlic, some of the ginger and the curry paste.
After the paste sizzled for a minute or two with the oil, I poured in the coconut milk and gave it a good stir to dissolve the curry paste. Then I brought it to a simmer for a couple minutes and added some sugar to cut the spice (it’s really spicy paste). Normally, a splash of fish sauce goes into panang, but I don’t have that—so I added a splash of soy sauce instead and some lime juice. I took a few scoops of the sauce and put it in a separate, small pot, brought it to a boil and added sliced chicken. Panang is better when it sits for a while, so I like to cook the chicken separately and keep it in the fridge until I’m ready to serve.
To the main pot, I added the bell peppers and let those simmer for several minutes. Then I added garbanzo beans and the rest of the ginger, turned off the heat and let it sit, covered, for about 2 hours. About 30 minutes before dinner, I brought it back to a boil, added some more fresh veggies, and the chicken.
Served up hot over a bed of jasmine rice with a wedge of lime and chopped cilantro it was just what we needed to wake up our taste buds! And to hear from our dinner guest that her mouth was dancing from happiness…made me very happy too.
If you need to wake up your tastebuds, give a try at making your own panang curry! Here’s what you will need:
-2 cans coconut milk
-80 grams Thai red curry paste
-Garlic and ginger to your liking
-2 red bell peppers
-2 split chicken breasts, sliced (optional)
-1 can garbanzo beans
-2 limes, one for the sauce; one for serving wedges
-Asian veggies like snow peas and bamboo shoots
-Sugar to lessen the spice (if needed)