Recipes

Panang Curry

Finally! A healthy recipe! It has been a rough couple weeks since returning from Mexico. The whole adjusting to real life/going to work thing was tough, but so was getting back to my healthy eating. I have to admit that there have been one too many cheat days lately. Probably because I have been in the mood to bake lately and there always seems to be a good reason to do so. My weight has not gone up (thank goodness) but it hasn’t gone down either. However, I don’t feel discouraged. I just feel… ready. Well, after we get back from Vegas anyways…

One of the more challenging aspects of writing a healthy living blog is trying to come up with new recipes and ideas. Especially since I tend to eat the same things over and over again when I am trying to lose weight.

In the past two weeks, I have been repeating really simple, clean foods that I don’t need to use a recipe for. This is something I struggled with in the past. I loved to cook complex and luxurious comfort foods that took time, effort, and a really complicated looking recipe. I used to think the best recipes were the ones that had the most ingredients! Now, I can’t believe what an immature cook I was. I am now finding that the foods with the most flavor and require the most skill are clean, simple, and are coincidentally healthy.

Although I still crave a greasy burrito from the taco truck by my work sometimes and I wish I could eat a thick, toasted bagel for breakfast, these are not foods that make me feel satisfied and nutritious. I don’t feel good after meals like that and I am getting to a point where they just aren’t worth the aggravation of bloat and fatigue.

The following meals are the ones that I make on a regular rotation. I haven’t gotten tired of a single meal yet although it has been 4 months. I sometimes change up seasonings or herbs, or switch out the sides or the salad dressing, but I don’t get tired of these foods.

And a new one to add to my list! Panang Curry with cauliflower rice. This is something I used to get to-go once in a while when I didn’t feel like cooking. I realized though that I was wasting a lot of money. Holy crap. Like $13 multiplied by…. a lot of times I didn’t feel like cooking. I would bring it home and put it over cauliflower rice that I keep in the freezer. But now, I will NOT buy this again at a restaurant. Way too easy and delicious to pay someone else to make it.

I found all the ingredients really easy to get as I frequent a couple Asian markets in our area. But I think you can get almost everything at an American grocery store. The only tough one is the curry paste, but it comes in a sizable container and you use so little at a time, that it really lasts. It only cost me a couple bucks. Very cheap ingredients too! I cut the recipe below in half and it was the perfect amount for Ryan’s and my dinner, plus enough for me to have for lunch today.

I was surprised that the recipe didn’t call for any Thai chilies. I kind of hate buying the stuff because there is always too much in a package and I use like 5 out of 40 chilies. What gives the curry a kick is the ginger and garlic. I did not add any Sriracha or red pepper flakes and it was perfect. And I am the girl that orders 4 star spice at all Thai restaurants and am disappointed at how tame it is!

The recipe I used is a combination of like 5 that I found. Some recipes were too Americanized and didn’t use lime leaves or Thai basil, but had that touch of peanut taste that I like. Some used too much sugar and some called for tamarind which I didn’t have on hand. If I did though, I could probably have omitted the lime juice and brown sugar, as I have substituted those 2 ingredients for tamarind before. I tried making this recipe without any of the brown sugar and it tasted off. I had to add it back in the end. Not one of those that you can just omit the sugar and call it good. I will try next time with tamarind and let you know how it goes! However, this recipe turned out exactly like I wanted it to. Tasted just like when we order it at restaurants, so I don’t like to fix what’s not broken!

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Panang Curry

(6 servings)

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons Panang curry paste (I used Mae Ploy)
  • 1 pound thinly sliced beef or chicken breast (I used flat iron steak because it was on sale) (Cut into bite sized pieces, I did not do this and the pieces were a bit too big) 
  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced (most typical used is red but I had yellow and green)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated or finely minced ginger (I used 4 tsps as I wanted a kick to it!)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 14 oz. cans of coconut milk
  • 1-2 TB peanut butter (optional) 
  • 2 TB light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 lime leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves, torn
  • Garnish: cilantro (I didn’t have any as I forgot to buy it, but I did wish it had that cilantro-y taste!) 
  1. Melt coconut oil over medium high heat in large nonstick skillet. Add curry paste and saute for 1 minute.
  2. Add sliced beef and cook just until meat is no longer pink. Add ginger and garlic and saute 30 seconds.
  3. Add the 2 cans of coconut milk. Stir in sugar, peanut butter, fish sauce, lime juice, bay leaf, lime leaves and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes then add red bell peppers and Thai basil and simmer 2-3 minutes or until peppers are crisp tender. Discard bay leaf and lime leaves.
  4. Garnish with additional fresh Thai basil, lime juice and cilantro to taste. Serve with cauliflower rice.

Also, I am tired of buying Thai basil so I just started growing my own 🙂 My next post will be about my somewhat pathetic, yet very eager attempts to garden! I don’t have a great track record, but am hoping my enthusiasm alone gets me somewhere with my garden.

 

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3 thoughts on “Panang Curry

    1. Ooh! I love strawberry spinach salads! What kind of dressing do you use? I like warm bacon dressing 🙂 not the healthiest but so yummy!

      1. Oh I haven’t tried that!! Sounds really good! Lately I’ve been using a raspberry vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette. Warm bacon dressing sounds so much better… 🙂

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