Get ready to eat the rainbow.
I hope you are holding your fork because this vibrant recipe will be on your table in about 20 quick minutes!
- Boil some noodles.
- Throw all the sauce ingredients in the blender, then heat in a pan.
- Add noddles and garnish with your favorite crunchy + sweet + savory + herby condiments.
That is it!
If you don’t already know it, I love Thai food. I LOVE THAI FOOD. I mean, I crave it at least once a week. There is something about its combination of sweet + robust + salty + piquant flavors that work me into a frenzy. By the time I come out of my cravings coma, I am already at my chopping board sorting condiments, somehow having autopiloted to the store to gather up all the beautiful ingredients. Seriously. It puts my hypothalamus in an elevated manic state, I love it THAT much.
We have yummy Thai restaurants near us, but there is something about the bouquet of mint + cilantro + Thai basil in my own kitchen and the freshness of sweet carrot and spicy peppers on my own cutting board that make me want all the visual and olfactory stimulation to myself.
And lucky for him, The Man loves it, too. (What makes me frenetic puts him in a gluttonous stupor.)
I love the colors. I love the smells. I love the range of flavors that meld together so harmoniously. And I love having control of levels of heat and sweet and crunch and umami…AND how big my heap of noodles is. (It’s pretty damn big.)
If you truly enjoy making your way around the kitchen, you are probably nodding your head in understanding that cooking Thai food is not just about the food–it’s also about the experience. If you have never cooked Thai food before, DO IT NOW and get yourself all stimulated.
With the recipe comes a list of condiments. Use them all or use none. You will get a different dish each time you play around with your choices. I used Napa cabbage as a condiment. I thinly sliced the green part of the head across the width to make ribbons, which I added to the sauce just long enough to wilt. The resident carnivore (aka The Man) uses sliced flank steak as a condiment while I do not. In case you are interested: he heated 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over high and seared the meat 4–5 minutes per side to medium-rare. He let the meat rest 10 minutes, then thinly sliced against the grain. In traditional panang dishes, the beef is cooked in coconut milk.
PS…The Man asked me to make sure I mentioned it is okay to use soy sauce in place of fish sauce, as he is not a fan of its aggressiveness. Soy sauce will sub for the tangy saltiness of fish sauce although it isn’t quite as multidimensional. Fish sauce achieves its depth through years long fermentation. With that complexity, however, also comes a funkiness that many people do not find palatable. With or without it, this dish will not disappoint!
This Panang Red Curry Bowl is delicious with floral and mildly sweet Gewurztraminer or (you probably guessed) Champagne.
กินให้อร่อยนะ (enjoy your meal)!
If you make this Panang Red Curry Bowl I’d love to hear all about it! Leave a comment below and tag #nakedepicurean on Instagram so we can celebrate together!
Panang Red Curry Bowl (for 4)
FOR THE SAUCE
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce or gluten free soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root (use a microplane–it is life-changing!)
- 3 cloves peeled garlic, sliced
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 16 ounces dried flat linguine-width rice noodles
TOPPINGS and OPTIONS
- Napa cabbage, green parts of leaves cut widthwise into thin ribbons
- 1 pound flank steak, seared and sliced thinly
- cashews, coarsely chopped
- scallions, green parts
- red cabbage, thinly sliced
- carrots, grated
- cilantro leaves, roughly torn or chopped
- mint leaves, roughly torn or chopped
- hot red peppers, with or without the seeds depending on your desired level of heat
- Thai basil, roughly torn or chopped
- lime wedges
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles according to package directions, making sure to rinse twice. Remove from water when the noodles are toothsome. Pour into a colander and set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine all of the sauce ingredients plus ⅓ cup of water in a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth.
- Heat sauce in a large skillet. Bring to a simmer. Add cabbage (optional) and stir until is begins to wilt. Add noodles and toss well.
- Divide the noodles into serving bowls and top as desired.