Beef Panang is my significant other’s favourite dish when we go to our favourite local Thai restaurant.
I took on the challenge a few years ago to make it but I found it too spicy and the meat was tough so I wrote it off…clearly, I was doing something wrong which at the time, I had no interest to investigate any further.
But recently I had a client request Beef Panang so this time I decided to do my homework and get it right.
I watched some videos on Panang which were so helpful especially this one in particular.
In a nutshell, I learned that adding fresh lemon grass, thai basil and lime kaffir leaves would bring this dish to a whole new level. I also learned that using prepared curry paste is totally ok (instead of making it yourself) because the prepared paste is made with special grinders so that everything is the perfect texture (or perfectly combined)…all I know is they said it was ok!
I also learned that both chicken or shrimp were great alternatives to beef, however if you are going to use beef, flank steak is a great cut for it. (Take note, that many chefs agree that beef is the ultimate protein choice for panang because of it’s rich flavour).
Personally, I think there is some truth to that but I have thoroughly enjoyed it with shrimp as well.
The trick to keeping it less spicy or if you prefer, to make it super spicy, is to adjust the amount of curry paste. The more you use, the hotter it gets.
The lime kaffir leaves and thai basil should be available at your local Asian market (assuming you have one in your town) and the bamboo shoots and lemon grass may be at your local grocer. You can make this curry without all of those ingredients if necessary, but really, they take the panang to another level.
- 1.5-2 pounds meat of choice (beef flank, chicken breast or thigh, or shrimp)
- lime kaffir leaves, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
- 2 stalks lemon grass, soft centers only, minced
- 1 red pepper, julienned
- 1 onion, sliced
- Thai basil leaves and stems, torn (a handful)
- 1 227ml can bamboo shoots
- 2 cans coconut milk, not shaken (you want the cream on the top)
- 2 tablespoons curry paste (or more if you like it spicy)
- Place coconut cream from one can only in a preheated soup pot. The cream is the thicker part on top.
- Mix Curry Paste into cream and reduce it over medium heat until you think it is just about to burn.
- Add the rest of the coconut milk that is in both cans.
- Add the lime kaffir leaves and lemon grass.
- Bring the liquid to a boil and let it boil down to reduce even further.
- While it is reducing add onion, peppers, thai basil and bamboo shoots and stir.
- Keep the mixture at a low boil and reduce until it coats the back of a wooden spoon without being overly runny (you want the coconut milk to be thicker, not watery).
Meanwhile if you are using steak, sear it in a separate pan and slice thinly.
- Add the meat to the pot once the coconut milk mixture has reached your desired consistency. If using chicken or shrimp, add them to the panang sauce and cook until the chicken or shrimp is thoroughly cooked.
- Serve over cauliflower rice or white rice.
I look forward to hearing how it goes for you!
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