Saturday, January 30, 2010

::Authentic Panang Curry::


::Panang Curry Paste::

The Panang (Penang) curry paste in this recipe is made up of shallots, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime peel, white pepper, cilantro root and shrimp paste. Roasted seeds are usually added and may certainly be pounded into the paste (1-2 tsp of each). Peanuts can also be pounded into the curry paste but in our recipe the peanuts are added to the boiling coconut milk mixture.

  • 5 large dried red spur chiles seeded and soaked
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 8 fresh Thai chiles
  • 5 sliced shallots
  • 1 tsp finely sliced fresh galangal
  • 1 tsp sliced fresh lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced kaffir lime rind
  • 1 tsp finely sliced cilantro stems or root
  • 2 tsp ground Thai white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt (sea salt is preferred)
  • 1 tsp Thai shrimp paste


  1. Pound dried chilies and salt together well in a mortar and pestle. Add galangal, lemon grass, kaffir lime rind and coriander root, continue pounding until mixed.
  2. Add shallots and garlic, follow with pepper and shrimp paste. Pound well after each addition.

Cook's notes: This curry paste could also be prepared in a small blender container or food processor.

::Panang Curry::

Panang Curry Panang curry takes it name from the city island off the West coast of Malaysia, which is also known as Georgetown. This type of curry is richer, sweeter, and creamier then the more herbal Thai red or green curries, making it very popular with foreigners.

Peanuts, a unique ingredient in this recipe, are found in only one other Thai curry, Masamam. Beef is the most famous type of Panang curry but chicken, pork, fish or even liver can also be delicious. Vegetables are not usually added to Panang curry, but tiny bitter green eggplants could be a possibility. This is a drier type of curry more like its Indian cousins, with just enough sauce to cover the meat.


  • 3/4 lb (400 grams) beef or chicken
  • 3 tbsp homemade Panang curry paste
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup ground roasted peants
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil


  1. Wash the beef, cut into pieces about 3 cm (about 1 inch) thick.
  2. Heat 1 cup of coconut milk over medium heat until the oil surfaces. Add curry paste, stir constantly for 2 minutes until fragrant and red oil surfaces. Add the beef, and cook for a further 5 minutes or until done. Add the remaining coconut milk.
  3. Season to taste with salt, fish sauce and sugar. Add roasted peanuts, stir well. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the beef is tender. Stir well to combine. Sprinkle kaffir lime leaves on top, and turn off the heat.
  4. Add basil in the last 5 minutes.

Serves 4.


If you live in Ottawa, this is where I went to pick up the ingredients. BestPrice Oriental Market.

Monday, January 25, 2010

::Authentic Yellow Curry::

Yellow curry (gaeng leung or gaeng karee ) is a Thai version of Indian yellow curry, including some dried spices in the curry paste. Yellow curry paste (nam prik gaeng karee) is a mellow sweet-spicy paste blend based on turmeric and curry powder pounded together with coriander, cumin, lemongrass, galangal, shrimp paste, dried red chilies, sea salt, ginger, garlic and shallots. This mild paste is usually used in fish stews or combined with coconut milk, chicken, onions and potatoes for Yellow Chicken Curry.

::Yellow Curry Paste::

Yellow Curry Paste Ingredients:


Dry roast corinder seeds and cumin seeds until fragrant over low flame in a heavy bottom pan (be careful not to burn). Set aside. (See a more detailed explanation of dry roasting spices).

Pound in a mortar and pestle or process in a small blender/food processor container in the following order: dried chiles, sea salt, shallots, garlic, galangal, lemon grass, and gingerroot. Process or pound until smooth but some small pieces can still be seen.

Now add the roasted spices and curry powder. Process or pound again until the seeds are completely broken up into powder and the paste is blended through. Last add the shrimp paste and gently blend in, using the mortar or processer.

::Yellow Curry::



Cut meat into 2 inch thick pieces (chicken) or slices (beef).

Fry the spice mixture in 2 tbsp. of the oil used for frying the shallots (if you are ambitious and have made your own fried shallots use that oil or simply use vegetable oil) adding the coconut cream (see note from Kasma below regarding coconut cream) in small amounts.

Then add the chicken and cook without stirring. Spoon into a pot. Add the coconut milk and salt. Cook the meat until tender, add the potatoes. Remove from heat when done, dip into serving bowl, and sprinkle with fried shallots. Serve with cucumber relish.

::Yellow Chicken Curry::

Yellow Curry with Chicken (Gaeng Ka-Ri Gai) Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp yellow curry paste (either from the recipe above or ready made like Nittayai brand)
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into 2 inch pieces (cut through the bones with a sharp cleaver if using chicken with bones)
  • 2-3 small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 can (16oz) coconut milk, shake before opening to mix seperated milk
  • 2 tbsp fried shallots (available ready-made in a plastic jar), optional
  • 1 tsp fish sauce, to taste (Golden Boy brand is recommended)


In a small bowl mix the curry paste with 1 Tbsp. of water to dilute. Add to the coconut milk in a medium sized sauce pan. Stir to mix. Add the chicken and potatoes, and 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the meat and potatoes are cooked through, not simmering on low heat, but let the curry roll on a low boil.

At the end of cooking, taste and add fish sauce to adjust the saltiness. Cook a minute longer. Remove from heat. Garnish with fried shallots (available ready made in a plastic container), if desired. Serve with Thai jasmine rice.

Friday, January 22, 2010

::Ottawa Restaurant List::

These are the restaurants that keep coming up in food mag's and forums. Aidan and I try and visit one every anniversary. SO far, we've not visited many.

1. Beckta Dining & Wine

"For the third year running, Beckta tops the list, with food that is consistently inventive and delicious. Chef Michael Moffatt quietly goes about the business of building mouth-watering dishes around one top-quality in-season ingredient, with lots of attention to varying starches (in taste and texture) and rich sauces to round out the plate. Stephen Beckta continues to work the room with panache and an uncompromising commitment to excellent service."

2. Domus Café

"I cannot say enough about John Taylor, his cooking, his ingredients, and his legacy of chefs now kicking it up elsewhere who learned in his kitchens."

3. Le Baccara

"Tucked away in a corner of Casino Lac Leamy, La Baccara is one of those loss-leader high-end restaurants that seem to be de rigueur in all casinos. Lucky us."

4. Restaurant e18hteen

"Smack dab in the middle of the ByWard Market and surrounded by some of the most mediocre restaurants in the city, e18hteen is a great room with great food."

5. The Wellington Gastropub

"Co-owners Shane Weldron (front-of-house über-cool dude) and Chris Deraiche (chef) keep the 'tude very casual while serving up really great food at affordable prices. Deraiche changes the menu every day (clearly, the man is certifiable), so he keeps it small and focused on excellent ingredients."

6. Benitz Bistro

"Chef wisely keeps the menu on the short side and changes it constantly. Dinner here is great, which probably explains the smiles."

7. Allium

"There's lots of hay being made these days over the good eats on Murray Street. True, but for my money, the dinner action in town is in Westboro/

Wellington Village, with Absinthe, Anna, The Table, The Wellie, Siam Bistro, the Won Ton House, Nicastro's and Juniper ... and Allium on Holland. Check out the Monday-night tapas. Also a great place for a nibble before you head out to the GCTC."

8. The Urban Pear

"Maybe it's just me, but the food at The Urban Pear just tastes way better this year. Owner and chef Ben Baird leans hard on his crack kitchen crew to turn out big flavours at very reasonable prices."

9. Les Fougères

"Go check out Les Fougères, tucked away on the edge of the Gatineau Park. But don't let the country charm fool you. The service is top-notch and the food rocks."

10. Signatures by Le Cordon Bleu

"When is traditional French cuisine not so traditional? When it's served up by executive chef Yannik Anton ... The room is formal, so here's another one you might think of saving for a special occasion."


Juniper {Westborrow}
Social {Market}
Perspectives {Brookstreet Hotel March Rd.}
Canvas Resto Bar
Whalesbone Oyster House {Bank Street DT}
Fourth Avenue Wine Bar {Glebe}
Sweetgrass {Market}
Black Cat Bistro {Preston}
Navarra {Market}

Someday this whole list will be PINK with visits!