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PFB 2010: Thai Panang Curry & Green Mango Salad

September 24, 2010

Wow. I am blown away to have made it to Challenge #2 of Project Foodblog. Thank you everyone for your support and for voting for me. I am having so much fun with this!

Here is my mission: Ready to tackle a classic dish from another culture? Pick an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with. You should include how you arrived at this decision in your post. Do your research then try to pull off successfully creating this challenge. Try to keep the dish as authentic as the real deal, and document your experience through a compelling post.

Panang Chicken Curry and Green Mango Salad

Before I got married to my amazing husband just over two years ago, I did quite a bit of traveling. I volunteered in an orphanage in Mexico, organized day camps for kids in Eastern Caribbean, presented value making and beliefs in public schools across England, took a University class in Prague and Austria, and toured the incredibly country of Israel (which would have been my 2nd choice of international cuisine – ahhhhhhhmazing). But when it came to this challenge, I knew I had to go with my most memorable cultural experience – the captivating and enchanting country of Thailand, where I taught English for a short, but unforgettable, time.

Thai cuisine stands out vividly in my memory, and for good reason too. From the incredible street vendors in Bangkok which I didn’t quite trust (tasty…. but what exactly am I eating?) to “this-is-so-spicy-I-am-going-to-DIE” tears streaming down my face (hint: water does NOT help the spicy factor!). I’ll never forget the fresh papaya-mango fruit bowl breakfasts and the busy open-air markets where I literally wandered through with my fingers pinching my nose. I’m pretty sure the fish they were selling had just come out of the water. One night for dinner I sat down only to be seated directly in front of a giant fish face. The fish was almost the length of the table. It was looking at me. I did not eat it. But Thai sticky rice, noodles, the freshest fruit, the chicken, the spices, the flavors… let’s face it: Thailand is home of the best Asian cuisine. And therefore, the inspiration of this challenge: Panang Chicken Curry with Green Mango Salad. To.Die.For.

The Ingredients

Thai Fish Sauce

Let me also say that this was far more than just outside my comfort zone. I have never before tackled Thai red curry, lemon grass, fish sauce or hardly even mango or coconut. Unreal, I know! I am so thrilled to have challenged myself with these dishes because they were absolutely delicious. I opened up a whole new world of flavors and I can’t wait to try this on more family and friends. I started this challenge with a visit to our local Asian market, where the owner of the store solidified my Thai dish decision – Panang Chicken Curry, one of the most wonderful dishes I ate in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Another memory of an amazing cilantro and mango salad brought me to the Green Mango Salad dish. And just like that, it was authentic Thai for dinner.

“Khx Kin” – Let’s Eat!

Green Mango Salad:
adapted from Darlene Anne Schmidt

2 firm, unripe mangoes
1/4 cup dry shredded unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3-4 sliced green onions
handful of peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil

Dressing:
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
3-4 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp brown sugar (more to taste)
1-2 tsp Thai chili sauce

Mango Salad Ingredients

Whisk together dressing ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve. For more saltines, add more fish sauce, or for more sweetness, add more brown sugar. The dressing should be a tad sweeter than salty for best results.

Peel the mangos. Either grate or finely chop and place in a large bowl. Add the bean sprouts, cilantro, green onions and half the peanuts and coconut. Toss well to combine.

When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over salad, and toss well again. Top with fresh basil and remaining peanuts and coconut.

Green Mango Salad

Panang Chicken Curry
adapted from Cinda Chavich

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tsp peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
handful of snow peas
1 medium eggplant, peeled, sliced, and blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes
2-3 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp Thai fish sauce
1 tsp cooking wine
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 tsp smooth peanut butter
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp of lemongrass, chopped, or one 3 inch peice of lemon grass, chopped
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp waterhandful of peanuts, chopped
1-2 tsp cilantro, chopped
1-2 Thai red chilis, chopped (optional)

Blanch eggplant in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Grill chicken and garlic in peanut oil on medium-high heat, until almost cooked through.
Add red pepper and stir. If you’re adding the Thai chili peppers, this is where you’ll want to throw them in.
Add Thai red curry paste. When it begins to sizzle, stir in chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, cooking wine, sugar, peanut butter & lemon grass (it’s best if this is already combined and ready to go). Bring to a rolling boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add your cornstarch-water mixture, and continue to boil for a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Lower heat and let simmer. Add snowpeas and eggplant, and mix well.
When ready to serve, top with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Serve over Coconut Basmati rice (replace half the cooking water with lite coconut milk – delish!).

Thai Panang Curry Chicken

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2010 7:17 pm

    Congrats!! Ok, maybe you don’t have time! I look forward to seeing what you come up with. But even if it’s just the Monday Food buzz post too, that would work.

    • September 24, 2010 7:49 pm

      Oh gosh, I will make time for the Blog Hunt! It’s such a great concept! Thanks 🙂

  2. September 27, 2010 5:32 pm

    This looks great Kristin! I’m so jealous of all your travels! You have my vote. Good luck! 🙂

  3. September 27, 2010 5:35 pm

    These are two very complementary dishes- great job! You have my vote!

  4. tmo permalink
    September 27, 2010 9:25 pm

    did Kevin eat it with you?! must try this recipe in my own kitchen soon 🙂

    • September 27, 2010 9:29 pm

      guess what – Kevin LIKED it!!! amazing, i know!

      if i were to do it again, i wouldn’t use the eggplant, but would replace it with some other veggies. let me know if you try it, and what substitutions you make!

  5. September 27, 2010 10:02 pm

    YAY SO GLAD IT WORKED!!!! 🙂
    this is so yummy looking!

    so cool that you taught in Thailand! you have more guts than i do.

  6. September 27, 2010 10:04 pm

    That salad would work really well with green papaya too. It’s a nice, sweet way to even out the spice of the curry. G’luck on this round. Voted for you!

  7. September 27, 2010 10:50 pm

    interesting life…nicely done….sounds like you have an amazing husband who is enjoying your amazing food!
    my vote you can count on!

    • September 28, 2010 8:58 pm

      well, he’s not always enjoying it, but i for one am!!! LOL! he is amazing however, despite his picky palate. thanks for your comment – and your vote!

  8. September 28, 2010 8:16 am

    Looks great! I also did authentic Thai so I can attest to the excitement of working with new Asian ingredients! Just voted. 😉

  9. September 28, 2010 10:37 am

    Wow, I am so impressed with your travels and activities abroad! “This is so spicy I am going to die” just killed me – you are funny. Great entry! Voted!
    -Butter
    (runningonbutter)

  10. September 28, 2010 12:44 pm

    The fact that you’ve used SQUID SAUCE definitely puts you into the next round. haha you just got my vote, that’s definitely cuisine that scares me, but you made it look fun and absolutely delicious 🙂

    Good luck!!!

  11. September 28, 2010 4:06 pm

    Once again, you’ve got my vote! Love this post 🙂 You make Thai food sound so good!

  12. September 28, 2010 6:17 pm

    Great post! Panang is my favorite! I voted for you!

    Good luck! =)

    You can check out my PFB post at : http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/864

  13. September 29, 2010 8:11 am

    Oh my, both those dishes sound wonderful! Thailand is probably #1 on travel list right now – I have to get there soon!!
    You’ve got my vote!

  14. September 29, 2010 1:03 pm

    Mmm, that mango salad looks great, and it looks like your curry came out way better than mine. You’re getting my vote!

  15. September 29, 2010 6:07 pm

    Cute entry! Really enjoyed it! Oh, the deliciousness of Thai food…mmm….
    1 vote for you.

  16. Gina Ruiz permalink
    September 29, 2010 9:00 pm

    Beautiful post. It looks delicious. You have one of votes. Good ck in the competition.

  17. camille permalink
    October 1, 2010 1:07 pm

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM! Looks awesome!

  18. October 14, 2010 12:36 pm

    This sounds fantastic – and so easy! I’m often intimidated by Asian dishes because they always seem to involve a lot of ingredients but the only thing here I’ve never worked with and don’t have regularly is lemongrass. You’re inspiring me to change that!

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