Recipe: Chicken Panang | Chris Kresser
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Recipe: Chicken Panang

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chicken panang
This rich and creamy chicken panang would be a great addition to your Paleo menu.

This guest recipe is by Russ Crandall, a Paleo-friendly chef and blogger at The Domestic Man. The recipe is an excerpt from Russ’s new book, The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle, which will be publishing tomorrow (2/11/14) and can be preordered on Amazon.com. Enjoy!

Panang (also spelled penang and phanaeng) curry is a mild Thai curry that gets its name from the Malaysian island of Penang. It is similar to Thai red curry but is richer and creamier and typically uses crushed peanuts as a major part of the dish. Cashews make a fair substitution.

Panang is often served with pork, chicken, or shrimp in Thai restaurants in the United States, although beef is the traditional meat used in this dish. I love to make this curry with all these meats but typically use chicken for its flavor and texture. The baseline version of this dish is not spicy; add bird’s eye chiles to get to your desired heat profile. 

CHICKEN PANANG

SERVES: 4-6
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES, PLUS 30 MINUTES TO PREP THE PANANG PASTE
COOKING TIME: 25 MINUTES

  • 2 TBSP. COCONUT OIL
  • 1/4 CUP PANANG PASTE (BELOW)
  • 1 (13.5 OZ.) CAN COCONUT MILK, DIVIDED
  • 2-3 LBS. BONELESS, SKINLESS CHICKEN THIGHS, SLICED INTO BITE-SIZED CHUNKS
  • 1/4 CUP CHOPPED CASHEWS
  • 10 THAI BASIL LEAVES
  • 2 TSP. FISH SAUCE
  • 1 BIRD’S EYE CHILE, SEEDS AND RIBS REMOVED, SLICED INTO RINGS (OPTIONAL)

1. In a skillet, heat the coconut oil on medium heat for 1 minute, then add the Panang Paste, stirring to combine. Sauté until it becomes aromatic and the oil starts to separate from the paste, 3-5 minutes. Add a third of the coconut milk and simmer, stirring often, for another 2 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and stir in another third of the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is nearly cooked through, 8-10 minutes.

3. Add the chopped cashews, Thai basil leaves, fish sauce, and the remaining third of the coconut milk. Add the chile if desired. Raise the heat to medium and simmer for another few minutes until the basil leaves are soft and slightly darkened. Serve with Rice or Cauliflower Rice.

PANANG PASTE

YIELDS: 1 CUP

  • 3 LARGE DRIED MILD RED CHILES (SUCH AS GUAJILLO OR ANAHEIM)
  • 1 TSP. CORIANDER SEEDS, TOASTED
  • 1 TSP. CUMIN SEEDS, TOASTED
  • 3″ LEMONGRASS (WHITE BASE OF 1 STALK), COARSELY CHOPPED
  • 2″ GALANGAL, PEELED AND COARSELY CHOPPED
  • 5 FRESH KAFFIR LIME LEAVES
  • 1 TSP. SHRIMP PASTE (TERASI PREFERRED)
  • 2 GREEN CARDAMOM PODS
  • 2 SMALL SHALLOTS
  • 2 CLOVES GARLIC
  • 1 TBSP. SEA SALT
  • 1 TSP. BLACK PEPPERCORNS
  • 1/4 CUP COARSELY CHOPPED CASHEWS
  • 1 TBSP. WATER

1. Soak the chiles in warm water for 30 minutes, then remove the stems and seeds. Blend or process the chiles with the remaining ingredients.

2. This paste will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Before freezing, divide the paste into 1/4 cup portions.

Final Cover (Lo-Res)

ABOUT RUSS CRANDALL:

Russ Crandall is a Paleo-friendly chef and blogger at The Domestic Man and the author of The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle.  In his 20s he suffered a number of life-threatening illnesses, was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition–and was sent home with a lifetime’s worth of medications. Disenchanted with modern medicine, Russ started searching for his own answers and quickly discovered that eating a gluten-free, nutrient-rich diet instantly alleviated most of the medical issues that had plagued him for years.

Taking cues from his travels around the world, Russ quickly discovered that traditional dishes–those that people ate just a few generations ago–inherently embody healthy principles because they were created at a time before processed foods existed. During the day he serves as a Russian translator in the U.S. Navy, and in the evening he can be found tinkering in the kitchen. He and his family live in Baltimore but consider Hawaii home.

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