Penang curry is a thick, creamy and spicy Thai curry. It is cooked by frying the curry paste in coconut cream and flavoring it with fresh herbs like galangal, fresh ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and red chili. Crushed peanuts are added to thicken the creamy texture of the curry and add flavor.
Thai curry is so easy and quick to make at home. I add mushrooms and red bell peppers to the curry to add to the flavor and also ensure that I have my veggies for the day. In this recipe, I have used chicken thigh meat but, stew beef or strips of beef are also great with Penang curry.
For a vegetarian version, avoid the meat and fish sauce (I am still looking for a substitute for fish sauce). Add more vegetable like bok choy, asparagus, roasted potatoes, bamboo shoots, baby corn and green peppers in addition to the mushrooms and red bell peppers.
Traditionally, penang curry is served with steamed jasmine rice. For a healthier option, you can serve it over brown rice too. My husband loves ramen so sometimes I, serve the curry over some cooked ramen noodles. It is spicy and warm and so so yummy.
Honestly, feel free to customize the curry as per you taste.
Here is how I make mine.
- 2 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into medium size pieces
- 4 oz/1 cup crimini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 4 pieces
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half
- ¼ cup peanuts, crushed
- 2 small pieces galangal (optional)
- 1 fresh red chili, deseeded and sliced in half
- 16 oz can coconut cream
- 6 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 8-10 tablespoons thai curry paste (Mae Ploy Thai curry paste)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 500 ml chicken stock
- Heat a medium pot. Add curry paste and only 12 oz of coconut cream.
- Sauté for about 2-3 minutes until aromatic.
- Add ginger, galangal, red chili, lemon grass and mix well.
- Add chicken, sugar, fish sauce and stir till well combined with the sauce.
- Add onions, kaffir lime leaves, peanuts and remaining coconut milk.
- Add chicken stock and salt. Stir well and cook on medium heat till chicken is almost cooked.
- Add Mushrooms and bell peppers. Boil curry for 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat and lemon juice.
- Serve hot with steamed white or brown rice.
- There is no substitute for galangal and lemon grass. If you cannot find it don’t use anything else.
- In place of kaffir lime leaves you can use lime zest. Its not the same but it gives a fresh lemony flavor.
- Use less curry paste if you do not like it too spicy.
- If the spicy is too much at the end add a couple tablespoons of coconut milk.