Serving

Panang Curry Paste
Thailand

Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
10 oz  
***
2 hr  
Total
Penang is a Malaysian island but the style of curry paste originating there has been enthusiastically adopted by the Thai, and I also consider it quite highly. It's tedious to make, but if made with no added liquid it will keep for months in the refrigerator, longer frozen.



1
1/2
3
2
5
15
3/4
1
1
1
30
3
1
1
t
t
T
t


in

t
T
cl
oz
t
t
Coriander Seeds
Cumin Seeds
Peanuts, raw (1)
Peppercorns
California Chili (2)  
Thai Chili dried
Galangal (3)
Lemon Grass (4)
Kafir Lime peel (5)
Cilantro Root (6)
Garlic
Shallots
Salt
Shrimp Paste (7)
This recipe is traditionally made by pounding in a large stone mortar. It can be made in a mini-prep food processor (with lots of stopping to scrape down the sides), but won't be as smooth. Lemon grass in particular laughes at food processors. I use the mortar and a spice grinder. I pound each non-powdered ingredient separately for best control, then pound the whole mess together to blend.
  1. Separately dry roast Coriander and Cumin until they are aromatic and just starting to darken a shade. Cool thoroughly and grind together with Peppercorns.
  2. Dry roast PEANUTS until lightly browned. Cool and pound to paste in the mortar.
  3. Break up CHILIS (both kinds) and shake out as many seeds as will shake out. Grind to powder in your spice grinder.
  4. Remove tough outer leaves from LEMON GRASS, cut off hard root end and pound the bottom 5 inches well with your kitchen mallet. Slice crosswise as thin as you can, chop fine and pound to paste in the mortar.
  5. Peel and slice GALLANGAL very thin. Pound with your kitchen mallet, chop fine and pound in the mortar.
  6. Chop LIME PEEL fine and pound in the mortar.
  7. Chop CILANTRO ROOT fine and pound in the mortar.
  8. Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Chop SHALLOTS fine. Pound both in the mortar.
  9. Pound and/or grind All Ingredients together into a thick, rather dry paste.
NOTES:
  1. Peanuts:   In recipes peanuts are better if you dry roast raw peanuts yourself. For details see our Dry Roasted Peanuts page. If you cheat and use peanut butter, do not use Skippy or any other heavily sugared product aimed at the kiddie market - read the label - and don't feed that crap to your kids either.
  2. Chilis:   If you don't have dried Thai chilis use de Arbols - not as hot but larger. If you have only Japones, use twice as many. California chili can be substituted with New Mexico or Guajillo - they are mainly for color. For details see our Chili Page.
  3. Galangal:   This is pretty essential, but if you can't get it fresh or frozen don't use dried or powdered. Instead use fresh Ginger Root - on at all the same, but better. For details see our Galangal page.
  4. Lemon Grass:   For details see our Lemon Grass page.
  5. Kaffir Lime:   These are not yet easy to find in North America (I have my own tree and freeze fruit rinds when in season). If you don't have any, use grated zest of a regular lime (no white). Not the same, but passable. For details see our Kaffir Lime page.
  6. Cilantro Roots:   These are hard to find even here in Los Angeles, so you will probably have to use stems. Include no leaves and use twice the volume as stems aren't as dense.
  7. Shrimp Paste:   Use the relatively refined Thai shrimp paste. For details, see our Shrimp Sauce / Paste page.
  8. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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