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penaeng kai - Penang Curry with Chicken

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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penaeng curry paste

You can buy prepared curry pastes in many shops, but for the full
flavour 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 chillis used if you want a milder curry,
but I don't recomend going to less than 10 chillis.

You need

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

Mix together to a fine paste in a food processor. This paste will keep
under refridgeration. You can also freeze it: I suggest plaing it in an
old ice cube tray to curry paste cubes, for ease of measurement later.

The prepared paste should be allowed to mature for two or three days
before use to bring out the full flavour.

Note that it is better to make the paste milder than to use less than
about 2 tablespoons in the final recipe

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The curry

You need

1 cup of chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
half a cup of cocnut milk
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
2 to 3 tablespoons of the curry paste
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
sugar to taste
2 lime leaves, finely shredded
10-15 holy basil leaves, finely shredded

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
seperate out and form a thin film, to bring out the maximum flavour.
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.

Garnish with julienned red chillies, with steamed white rice, and the
usual table condiments.

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

Special thanks to - Muoi Khuntilanont.