Friday, January 14, 2011

Panang Pork Curry

There is something about curry that is exciting to me.  I think it is a style or culture of food that is so far from home, from a place across the world, something opposite from what I was eating when I was a young boy. But after developing my tastes and interest in foods, curry isn't much different in essense from pasta sauces or mexican sauces. It is huge in flavor and very versatile with all types of meat, vegetables, and grains.

I've seen chefs on the tele from across the pond whipping up curries in large woks and hot pans, electric colors red and neon yellows. It looked so exotic and really caputured my attention. It is all that and more in my mind (and stomach.) I've come to really, really love Thai curries and with recent opening of Pacific Produce on Milwaukee's south side, 5455 S. 27th St., I knew I would be exposed to thousands of ingredients that has traveled from a far away land.

The making of a curry is simplistic and contains a small number of ingredients but it takes time to really perfect it. My version of this curry recipe is based on the eyeing of ingredients, not necessarily measuring out exact amounts. I love this style of cooking so add as much or little curry paste as your taste desires.

There are many types of curries but this features panang curry. It is a milder curry that features ingredients such as: chili peppers, galangel, lemongrass, coriander root/seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, and salt. Someday I would love to make curry from scratch but curry paste will do the job just fine.

Heat a pan with veg oil and add about 5-6 tablespoons of the curry paste.

Cook and break down the curry and then add about a cup of coconut milk and mix thoroughly until it is consistent.

Add the chopped pork to the curry. I used sliced tenderloin. Stir and cook for about 8 minutes until done.

Add about a tablespoon of sugar and a few tablespoons of fish sauce. Adjust amounts based on your personal taste. The pork and curry sauce on its own is a fine dish but I added a few vegetables for crunch and added texture. Cook the onions/carrots/carrots or whatever you choose for a minute or two.

Add more coconut milk throughout the cooking process to keep a consistent sauce base. This whole cooking process should only take about 12 minutes or so. Meanwhile, the kitchen smells amazing makes me imagine being in a steamy, hot kitchen in Thailand.

Garnish with basil leaves and kaffir lime leaves. The kaffir leaves have a strong flavor so beware how much you add. If you add too much, it can dominant other flavors. Serve with white rice.

Amazing, amazing flavors. The panang was indeed mild but it still had a distinct spice bite to it. The coconut milk rounds out that spiciness while adding base to the curry. The garnishes deliver a great herby touch, the kaffir providing a limey taste. The fluffy rice acts like a soft bed to the pork. It all works marvelous together.

Ok, enough of this blogging. I'm going to have another bowl.

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