Panang curry paste is similar to red curry paste, using the same type of sundried red chilies, but without cumin seed. Some versions add Indian curry powder or garam masala powder in the paste. In this version, we add the garam masala when the curry is cooking for a stronger aroma.
Use sundried red Anaheim pepper for people who don’t like spicy food. For the spicy version, use red sun-dried cayenne pepper. If the chillies are seeded, it won’t be too spicy.
Cut chillies into small pieces and soak in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain well before putting them in the mortar.
You can make Massaman curry paste and turn it into red curry paste by adding cumin seed, or Panang curry paste by adding Indian curry powder (garam masa- la powder) to the curry. In Thailand we call this “same same but different”.
Making green curry paste requires fresh green chilies. The Green Anaheim pepper (Prik Noom or Green Chili) is commonly used in Thailand as it’s sweet, but not too spicy. You can also use green bell pepper, jalapeño or green cayenne pepper. If you don’t like coriander or cilantro, use 4-5 sweet Thai basil leaves to make a strong, green colored paste.