Panang curry paste is similar to Thai red curry but is typically richer and a bit sweeter. Both can be found in Asian markets and online, but red curry is more readily available in most supermarkets. Lemongrass and makrut lime leaves add exquisite fragrance but are entirely optional. You can substitute 1-inch-wide strips of lime zest that you remove with a vegetable peeler for the lime leaves.
1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 to 4 tablespoons panang or Thai red curry paste (depending on heat preference)
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce, plus more for seasoning
1 stalk lemongrass, bottom 6 inches, lightly crushed (optional)
6 makrut lime leaves (optional) or six 1-inch strips lime zest
2 portions halibut, rockfish, lingcod, or Pacific cod (1 pound), cut into 2-inch pieces cut into 2-inch pieces Available in Our Seafood Subscription Box
½ cup frozen peas
Steamed rice, cilantro leaves, Thai basil leaves, sliced fresh chiles, lime wedges for serving
Sauté the Vegetables
In a medium pot or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the bell pepper, onion, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
Make the Curry Sauce
Stir in as much of the curry paste as desired along with the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until heated through. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and the lemongrass and lime leaves if using. Season lightly with salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the peppers are tender and the liquid is slightly reduced, 8 to 10 minutes.
Simmer the Fish and Peas
Add the fish and peas and simmer until the fish is cooked through but not falling apart, 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste with more fish sauce and salt.
Finish and Serve
Just before serving, remove the lemongrass and lime leaves or zest if used. Divide the rice and curry between shallow bowls. Top each portion with cilantro, basil, chiles, and lime wedges, and serve at once.
Pair it Up
Look for off-dry whites with a little sweetness to cut the spice, such as a gewürztraminer, riesling, or sauvignon blanc. For beer, a crisp, fruity Belgian-style witbier will echo the curry’s fragrant lemongrass flavor.
Change It Up
Like most soups and stews, this curry is even better the next day. Rewarm it gently to avoid overcooking the fish.