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Today: A classic Thai dish gets introduced to a bright, herbaceous garnish; we eat bowlfuls.
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Sometimes dinnertime inspiration comes from the least likely places—in this case, off of Highway 80 in California, in a Thai restaurant. One of the dishes on the menu was a slow-cooked beef curry, or Panang Nuer. It was doused in a rich peanut curry sauce but garnished with a chiffonade of kaffir lime leaves to brighten it. After devouring her bowlful, indieculinary set out to recreate the dish in her own kitchen, subbing the beef for chicken and adding a Thai-style gremolata as garnish. Served over soba noodles or rice, it's the perfect springtime comfort food—bright enough for a warm day, but heavy enough to satisfy a craving for a hearty meal:
1/2 cup red Thai curry paste (preferably Maesri brand, if you can find it) 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil or any neutral oil Two 8-ounce cans coconut milk 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter Juice of 1 lime or a chiffonade of 4 kaffir lime leaves (worth it if you can find them!) 1 tablespoon brown or palm sugar 1 tablespoon fish sauce 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
For the Thai gremolata:
2 small shallots, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, minced Zest of 2 limes 1/2 cup minced, packed cilantro
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).