International Recipes

Penaeng Kai
(Penang Curry with Chicken - Thai)

Penaeng is a dry curry, probably originally 'imported' from Malaysia. It can be prepared with any meat, and many fishes. This variety uses chicken.

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The Paste

  • 25 to 30 dried red chiles, shaken to discard the excess seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots (purple onions)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons very finely sliced lemon grass
  • 1 tablespoon grated galangal (use ginger if you can't find galangal)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander root
  • 1 tablespoon kapi (shrimp paste)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped freshly roasted peanuts

The Curry

  • 1 cup chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Sugar to taste
  • 2 lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 10 to 15 holy basil leaves, finely shredded


The Paste

  1. Mix together to a fine paste in a food processor. This paste will keep under refrigeration. You can also freeze it: I suggest placing it in an old ice cube tray to curry paste cubes, for ease of measurement later.
  2. The prepared paste should be allowed to mature for two or three days before use to bring out the full flavour.
  3. Note that it is better to make the paste milder than to use less than about 2 tablespoons in the final recipe.

The Curry

  1. Place a wok over medium high heat, and warm the coconut milk, but don't let it boil. Add the curry paste, and stir it until the oil begins to separate out and form a thin film, to bring out the maximum flavor. Add the remaining ingredients except the lime and basil leaves, and simmer until the sauce is absorbed and thickened, then add the leaves and stir fry briefly before serving.
  2. Garnish with julienned red chiles, with steamed white rice, and the usual table condiments.


Penaeng Curry Paste: You can buy prepared curry pastes in many shops, but for the full flavor you should seriously consider the little effort involved in making your own. This was a back breaking chore when the pastes were prepared in a heavy mortar and pestle, but these days you can come very close to the same result using a food processor.

You can reduce the number of chiles used if you want a milder curry, but I don't recommend going to less than 10 chiles.

If you particularly like your curries hot, then replace the fish sauce in the cooking with nam pla prik (chiles marinated in fish sauce), that has had at least a week to mature.


Posted by Wingsfan91 at Recipe Goldmine 11/15/2001 4:48 pm.

Special thanks to Muoi Khuntilanont.

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