Photography copyright © 2020 by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott
If you love eating spicy meals, this recipe may be for you! Chef Nuit Regular has graciously shared, through her cookbook Kiin, her Panang Beef curry recipe, which is quite different from others. Her secret? She cooks the curry paste and beef together to coat the latter with the spice for a more intense and salty-sweet flavor!
This Panang Beef recipe is also called “dry curry” because unlike other curries, she uses thick coconut milk for the base, resulting in a thick gravy consistency rather than sauce-like.
Panang Beef Recipe
Excerpted from Kiin by Nuit Regular. Copyright © 2020 by Nuit Regular. Photography copyright © 2020 by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
What You Need:
2 frozen banana leaves, rinsed in cold water to thaw, and patted dry
1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoon white peppercorns
2 tablespoons Thai shrimp paste
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds
1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoon coriander seeds
3 dried red spur chilies, roughly cut, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes until softened, and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoons thinly sliced galangal
¼ cup thinly sliced lemongrass (about 2 stalks)
1 tablespoon grated magrud lime zest
½ cup packed thinly sliced cilantro roots with 3-inch stems or cilantro stems
¼ cup unpeeled Thai garlic cloves or thinly sliced peeled regular garlic
3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
2¼ cups thick part of coconut milk, divided
1 pound (450 g) beef eye of round, thinly sliced against the grain into long strips about 1½ inches thick
½ cup pea eggplants, stems removed
1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoons Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
2 fresh red spur chilies, cut in half crosswise, seeded, and julienned
5 magrud lime leaves (see page 18), thinly sliced crosswise
What to Do:
Panang Curry Paste
Lay the banana leaves on top of each other on a work surface, and place the shrimp paste in the middle.
Fold the leaves to wrap around the shrimp paste, and weave a toothpick through the leaf to secure the folds in place.
In a small, dry skillet over high heat, grill the folded banana leaf for 2 to 3 minutes per side. The banana leaf will turn brown, and the shrimp paste inside will start to dry out. Set aside.
In the same skillet over medium heat, combine the white peppercorns, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds and toast.
Stir occasionally for 2 minutes, then transfer to a plate to cool.
Using a stone mortar and pestle, grind the toasted spices to a powder.
One at a time, and pounding to a paste after each addition, add the chilies, paprika, galangal, lemongrass, lime zest, cilantro roots, garlic, and shallots.
The curry paste can be stored in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer for up to 1 month
Heat a medium pot over high heat for 2 minutes.
Add ½ cup of the thick coconut milk, and bring to a boil.
Stir frequently for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add 1/3 cup of the panang curry paste, the beef, and ½ cup of the thick coconut milk, and stir to mix.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
Be careful not to boil the coconut milk or it will separate. If you see a lot of oil rising up, reduce the heat and stir, so the coconut milk doesn’t split too much.
Add another ½ cup of the thick coconut milk, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
Then, add the remaining ¾ cup thick coconut milk, and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the pea eggplants, and cook for about 2 minutes.
Stir in the fish sauce, coconut sugar, chilies, and lime leaves, and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Remove from the heat.
Top with coconut cream, and serve with steamed jasmine rice.
Because of this recipe’s drier consistency, it would be best paired with Chef Nuit’s Holy Basil Stir-Fry. Enjoy!