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Sunday, August 28, 2005

IMBB18: Khao-pad Panang Goong

Khaopadpananggoong

Over there At Our Table, Linda is hosting Is My Blog Burning made for frying happy people. I am certainly one of those. When I was little, the only green stuff I ate willingly had been dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried, and I ate them with ketchup. Happily my palate has advanced somewhat since then. I still indulge in those golden, crispy beauties occasionally, most-notably in the early Spring, when Zuckerman farm sells their giant, piping hot, deep fried asparagus to warm up the cold foggy Saturday mornings at the Ferry Plaza farmers market. There is even ketchup on the side to transport me conveniently back to those carefree days.

As a home cook, I abhor deep frying. I am such a klutz around the kitchen I always end up hurting myself. You should see battle scars on both my arms from jumping hot oil. I will therefore refrain from doing anything deep fried here. Stir-frying, on the other hand, is so easy, not to mention much less life-threatening. When I am out of ideas for dinner I often resort to throwing a few things together, a stir-fry kitchen sink, so to say. It's also such a good way to use up your leftovers: rice, meat, even curry paste.

The fried dish I am doing for this IMBB is Khao-pad Panang Goong, stir-fry rice with prawns in Panang curry paste. When I make Panang curry, I always have a little bit homemade paste leftover. Many times, the tablespoon or two of the leftover paste would languish in the fridge until all sorts of interesting fungi turn the lovely red paste into a blue-ish, green-ish, black-ish, and positively furry lump, at which time it would be forcibly moved to the trash. At other times, when I am a little bit more together, I use the paste as a flavoring base for a delicious plate of stir-fry rice. I love to use prawns for this, instead of chicken or other land-animal meats, because the citrus note on the Panang paste compliments seafood beautifully. You are certainly allowed to use other meats, even tofu, if you object to prawns for whatever reason.

Khao-pad Panang Goong
Stir-fry Rice with Prawns in Panang Curry Paste

2 heaping tbsp Panang curry paste, homemade or store-bought
4 cups cooked rice
12 large prawns, peeled and deveined
fish sauce to taste
4 tbsp oil
A small handful each of chopped cilantro and green onions, to garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Heat a wok or a large fry pan, add the oil and the panang paste, stirring vigorously until the paste is fragrant.
2. Turn down the heat to low, let the paste cook for a minute, stirring frequently, to cook it thoroughly. (Otherwise the herbs and spices in the paste will taste raw.)
3. Turn the heat back up, add the prawns and a few splash of fish sauce, stirring quickly to mix the prawns with the paste.
4. When the prawns just begin to pick up a little color, add the rice, mix very well.
5. Add more fish sauce to taste.
6. When the rice is heated through, and the prawns are cooked, turn off the heat and add the chopped cilantro and green onions, stir to mix.
7. Serve immediately, garnish with a few wedges of lime. Before eating, squeeze the lime over the rice to add a bit of acidity to the dish.
(Optional garnish: fried Thai basil leafs)

P.S. I don't use any sugar as my homemade curry paste is not super spicy. If your store-bought one is too spicy, feel free to either use a bit less paste or add sugar (like they do at most Thai restaurants) to lessen the impact of the heat. You could even add a few tablespoons of coconut milk (at step 2), they will also help tone down the heat.

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