The Phanaeng (or Panang, Penang) Curry is originating from central Thailand and the recipe goes back hundreds of years. The word Phanaeng comes from the Khmer language meaning cross, mostly used for a cross-legged seating position. Traditionally the chicken was placed in a cross legged position upright on the grill. The chicken was bathed in the curry paste with grounded peanuts and then brushed with the same mixture over the whole cooking process. Later the process was simplified by cutting up the chicken in large pieces and, instead of being prepared on the grill, it went to the pot where it was cooked in the sauce. In this cooking lesson you will learn how to cook the Phanaeng Curry Chicken or, if you are vegetarian, Phanaeng Curry can be prepared as well as a vegetarian dish with Tofu.
At home you can use the now widely available ready made pastes. However, more tasty is of course to make your Phanaeng Curry Paste from scratch.
Ingredients for one portion. As you can see there is quite a bit more curry paste than a tea spoon. One tea spoon is for a European palate with very little tolerance for spicy food. Just start with a tea spoon and add more if you like it more spicy. You can always add more paste until the very end of the recipe. Just keep in mind that you can't reverse the process :-). As for the vegetables the amounts can vary as well according to taste.
Fry the curry paste with the oil in a wok
Add coconut milk until all the paste is covered
Bring to boil
Add baby corn and carrots and a bit of water. Add oyster sauce, sugar and salt. Bring to boil again.
Add chicken and stir it in.
Add sliced lime leaves and pineapple and bring to boil and add more coconut milk and fish sauce
The many different sweet and sour sauces used in Thai cooking originate from China. And this is just one of the many popular Thai dishes coming from there. In the 15th century the Hokkien people migrated to Thailand, followed by the Teochew people from the late 18th century on, who settled mainly in the towns and cities. They were as well the ones, who introduced the Wok in Thai cooking and the technique of stir-frying and deep-frying dishes. The use of chop sticks and even the popular Thai breakfast Chok (โจ๊ก-rice porridge) comes from there as well.
Some experts say, that the original sweet and sour sauce comes from the province of Hunan and was just a weak mixture of vinegar and sugar. If this is the case, the following recipe has very little to do with the original sauce. This version of the sweet and sour sauce could easily be served as a vegetarian stand alone with rice.
What makes this recipe really Thai, is what the name already implies. Pla saam rot literally means 3 tastes fish and refers to the aim of Thai cuisine to appeal to at least 3 taste senses in one Thai meal. In my opinion, if well balanced, this meal even appeals to four: Sweet, sour, salty and spicy.