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Coconut milk and curry paste, now what?

On a whim, I bought a tin of penang paste and a can of coconut milk at an asian market but am not exactly sure what to do now. Any help?

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  1. You might try this Thai Shrimp Curry from epicurious...is penang curry paste red or green? This recipe calls for green curry paste but I really think you could use red instead, though the experts out there may have something to say about my assertion:


    This is a beautiful dish and I usually put in red bell pepper instead of the plum tomatoes.

    1. Heat about a Tbs. of the penang paste with a cut up chicken breast and a cubed sweet potato, then add the coconut milk. Simmer until the sweet potato and chicken are done, then serve with rice.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Andiereid

        I do just the opposite: simmer the curry paste & coco milk, then add the other ingredients.

      2. I have a suggestion for the coconut milk! I make a pilaf from an old recipe I clipped from the NY Times years ago, I love it and sometimes I don't even make anything to go with it!

        First fish out an oven safe dutch oven, cast iron is great for this. Take a cup and a half of basmati rice or jasmine rice, and saute with browned and crispy shallots (you want some color on the shallots so they hold up some texture and color in the baking that comes later), until the rice gets that opaque color and takes on a little golden brown in places. Add chicken stock, can of coconut milk, a bay leaf and a handful of golden raisins (you could also add some unsweetened dry coconut at this point). Bring to a boil and then bake for 45 minutes or so, until the liquid is absorbed. There will be a funny coconut foam over the rice when it's done, but it is stirred into the rice when it's ready to be fluffed.

        1. Isn't a penang paste more of an indonesian paste? I would normally cook my onion/garlic/ginger mixture and stir in the paste to combine. Then I would add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Then add meat. Indonesian curries are usually a little drier, so I would simmer it until most of the liquid is gone and it is thick and sticky-ish. I like to use a LOT of paste because I'm a fan of spicey food.

          1. I usually cook the paste in a little oil before adding the other ingredients.

            1. CI just had a recipe for Thai chicken soup .......

              1. i also like to use the whole can (is it the little maesri one?). i put all manner of stuff in my curries when i make it. tofu or meat, green beans, sweet potatoes, bamboo shoots, baby corn (these taste great with panang curry), carrots, peppers... yum. my problem is that i always end up making way too much because i get overzealous.

                also the can probably has some instructions on how to combine the ingredients, in terms of order. I'd also recommend cooking the paste with the coconut milk first, so that the paste gets evenly distributed. you can cook raw meat in the paste, it'll be fine. i usually just dump everything in and let it simmer.

                1. I just made this the other day: simmer coconut milk and panang paste, add a splash of fish sauce, seitan (or meat and cook till done), bamboo shoots, and mushrooms (or other veggies).

                  1 Reply
                  1. i usually stir fry onion, garlic, and thai chiles (maybe diced bell pepper) until onions are golden. put this mixture on a plate.

                    add chicken to pan/wok w/some oil and brown.

                    add curry paste and about 1T oil into pan/wok.

                    GRADUALLY stir in coconut milk until well blended.

                    add onion mixture.

                    add whatever other veggies you want - broccoli, squash, asparagus (or whatever) - boil for ~5 minutes.

                    serve over rice.

                    1. This is what I do:

                      Open the can of coconut milk. Skim out the cream and put that into the pan with a bit of oil, and let it heat up (oil will separate out). Add in curry paste. Saute paste. Put in protein of choice (chicken, pork, beef, tofu, shellfish), and saute until it gets some color. Put in the rest of the milk, aromatics (lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, onion), seasonings (palm sugar, fish sauce) veggies (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes), water/stock if necessary, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

                      Finish with lime juice, fish sauce, pepper, scallions, mint leaves, basil leaves, cilantro as necessary. Serve with rice.

                      1. This is a Nigella recipe from the NYT a while ago. I changed it a bit because I had no pumpkin. Used sweet potatoes instead.
                        Served it over rice. A great use for coconut milk and Thai curry paste (red or green or yellow or even chartreuse).

                        This recipe uses canned chickpeas, but I'm sure home-cooked ones would be fine.

                        PUMPKIN AND CHICKPEA HOT POT

                        3 tablespoons vegetable oil

                        1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion

                        1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

                        2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste, or to taste (available in Asian markets and specialty food stores)

                        1 teaspoon ground cumin

                        1 teaspoon ground coriander

                        2 pounds peeled seeded pumpkin, cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks

                        2 15-ounce cans coconut milk

                        1 cup homemade or canned chicken or vegetable broth

                        3 tablespoons soy sauce

                        4 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained

                        Freshly ground black pepper

                        1 cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro leaves.

                        1. Place a large wide pan over medium heat, and add oil. When hot, add onion and salt, and sauté until softened but not browned. Add curry paste, and sauté for 1 minute. Add cumin and coriander.

                        2. Raise heat to medium-high, and add pumpkin. Stir for about 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk, chicken broth and soy sauce. Partly cover with a lid, and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently until pumpkin is almost tender, about 20 minutes.

                        3. Add chickpeas, partly cover, and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir gently, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. If more heat is desired, add more curry paste. Ladle hot pot into serving bowls, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

                        1. This is how I make Thai curry...usually I do red, green or massaman. Not sure if this technique is as good with Panang curry, but it would probably be pretty good. But for sure it works w/ the other types I mentioned. I generally get Maesri brand.

                          In my wok or big pot, put in 4 generous tablespoons of curry paste, 1 can of coconut milk and 1 can of water. Sometimes I use a bit less water. I mix it together, heat it up. I taste it to get the right spice level, though it won't taste good yet, since there is no fish sauce or sugar.

                          ONce it's boiling, I add meat (if I am using any). For example, I put in some cut up chicken breast. Next comes onion, eggplant, sweet potato. These are all awesome in Thai curry and I rarely make curry now w/out these three ingredients. I often put in tofu, string beans, thai basil, carrots, depending on what I have. Sometimes I partially cook sweet potato before putting it in.

                          Once all the vegetables are cooked, I add about 4 tablespoons each of fish sauce and sugar. You can use soy sauce instead of fish sauce (I do this for vegan/vegetarian friends and it comes out almost as good). If I am using fresh basil, I throw this in at the end.

                          I eat it w/ white rice. Delicious, excellent every time!

                          Dave MP