Panang Beef Curry.

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Phanaeng curry, panang curry, or penang curry, is a type of Thai curry that is generally milder than other Thai curries. It traditionally includes dried chilli peppers, galangal, lemongrass, coriander root, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, shrimp paste and salt, and sometimes also shallots and peanuts. A popular phanaeng curry dish is beef phanaeng, which is a dish based on beef in a curry sauce.

Ingredients.

2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
750g of lean stewing beef, chopped into 2cm cubes
Five lime leaves, shredded
Two stems of fresh green peppercorns or 1 tablespoon of sweet brined green peppercorns from a jar
250ml of good beef stock
Three to four red bird’s-eye chillies (depending on how hot you like it)
One 200ml can of coconut milk
Three fresh tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
One red pepper, deseeded and cut into small dice
Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
Steamed rice, sprinkled with roasted chilli flakes, for serving

For the curry paste;

Six green cardamom pods, seeds only,
Six large dried red chillies
One tablespoon of coriander seeds
1½ teaspoons of cumin seeds
20g of galangal (a type of ginger), peeled and finely chopped
Two lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped
Four garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Ten kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
Five large Thai shallots (or two banana shallots), roughly chopped
One 2.5cm piece of fresh turmeric root, finely grated or 1½ teaspoons of ground turmeric
One teaspoon of shrimp paste
Four tablespoons of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil

Method.

To make the curry paste, lightly crush the cardamom pods and split them open. Remove the seeds and put them in a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar (you can chuck the pods away).

Heat a small frying pan and dry roast the chillies for two to three minutes until slightly browned.

Tip them into a small spice grinder or pestle and mortar with the cardamom seeds and return the frying pan to the heat.

Add the coriander and cumin seeds to the pan and roast them for a minute to release the flavours, then add them to the cardamom and chillies and grind or pound everything to a powder.

Add all the remaining ingredients and pound to make a paste, then set aside. If you prefer, use a spice grinder to blitz the spices to a powder, then transfer this to a food processor, add the remaining ingredients and process to a paste. (There will be enough paste to make two curries and you can store it in the fridge for two to three weeks or freeze for a month.)

To make your curry, you’ll need a medium-sized casserole dish with a lid.

Place the dish on the heat and add the oil. Brown the meat on all sides, working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the dish.

When all the meat has been browned, tip it back into the casserole dish and add the curry paste (see above). Stir to coat the meat with the paste and cook for two to three minutes.

Add the lime leaves, green peppercorns, beef stock and red chillies, then cover and leave to cook gently over a low heat for about one hour and 45 minutes.

If you prefer, preheat the oven to 140C/Fan 120C/Gas 1 and cook the curry in the oven for a couple of hours, or until the meat is tender. Have a look every now and then and if the curry looks like it is drying out, add a little water as needed.

When the curry is cooked, stir in the coconut milk, add the tomatoes and red pepper, then continue cooking for a further ten minutes – the pepper should still have a bit of crunch.

Garnish with some slice kafir lime leaves, halved red chillies and some coriander leaves (optional)

Happy Eating!

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