Rich, sweet and creamy – Thai panang curry is something special. Traditionally packing in meat with kaffir lime leaves and thin slices of red peppers, this wonder is spiced with coriander and cumin to give it a characteristic herby, aromatic taste. The dish is enjoyed not only in Asia, but across the world – and for good reason.
Sweet and mild flavours
You'll find coconut milk, Thai red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves at the flavour core of this one, with onion, basil, finely sliced meat or seafood, red chillies, ground roasted peanuts and sugar subbed in too.
The result of this flavour formula is a light and sweet curry, perfect for anyone who prefers their curry on the milder end of the spice scale. While in most curries it's the meat that takes centre stage, in this one, it's the herbs and spices that do all the talking. And not to mention giving it the trademark red colour that we know and love.
The road to Panang
So, where does it come from? Its origin is actually quite amusing – it all began with a chicken. The word comes from the ancient Khmer language and means 'cross', like sitting cross-legged. The method of cooking chicken at that time was to cross the chicken's legs, bathe it in curry paste and coconut cream before grilling it – aka the chicken panang. Later on, the process was simplified to cutting the chicken in slices and boiling it in curry over a stove – and panang curry was born.
In Thailand, the dish is traditionally served in a bowl with a mound of fluffy steamed rice next to it. Mix a bit of each using your spoon and fork and enjoy.
The search for the best panang curry
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You'll find panang curry just about everywhere nowadays, with all sorts of places serving it up here in the UAE. From the classic to contemporary takes, restaurants all over are showing the panang curry some love.
For the curry in all its original glory, head to Thai Wok Select. These guys let you choose between chicken, beef, prawns or tofu for your panang-y companion. Pair yours with steamed jasmine rice or vegetable fried rice to complete the dish.
At Fuchsia Urban Thai, you'll find the usual suspects – coconut cream and kaffir lime leaf with galangal. Not only can you pick between chicken and beef, you can also choose the level of heat – go for the mild, or if you're a bit of a chilli fiend, opt for the 'Thai spicy'.
Nom Nom Asia's striking red panang with jasmine rice is also not to be missed. Full of vegetables and your choice of chicken, prawns, beef or tofu – this delight is great for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Wash yours down with a refreshing homemade ice tea.
Feel like getting your panang curry on? Order yours and other delicious Thai treats from Deliveroo