Do You Panang?

If you don’t – you should.  No judgment.

Thai food has never been my favorite – I don’t crave it like I do a bowl of pho, banh mi, sushi/sashimi/nigiri, or just a plain bowl of kim chi jigae.

However, when the mood strikes – I want it pretty badly.  Usually either a larb salad or panang.  (Never pad thai – I don’t like peanuts or peanut butter in my savory food.  No judgment, please.)

And the mood struck.  Yesterday.  For dinner.

Well, it struck before when I was at Sprouts getting my bulk shopping on (20% off sale – HOLLA!), and saw a jar of Thai Red Curry when I wandered to the “International” aisle.  I was getting tired of the guy that had his cart in the middle of the grains isle, leaving no room for others, and would not leave the area.  No judgment, sir.

Tofu Panang


  • 1 package extra firm tofu, cut into cubes (take as much water out as possible)
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil (you can use olive oil but sesame gives this dish a great flavor), divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2  cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, minced – I have tried it with ginger powder and it was fine, not perfect but fine
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil – I have tried it with dried basil and it was fine, not perfect but fine.
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
  • 3 tbsp Thai red curry/panang paste
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 can of water – read on
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup carrots sliced into sticks
  • 1 package mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (if you don’t want to use this, use soy sauce or tamari), or to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro.


  • Heat pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add 2 tbsp oil and heat.
  • Add tofu to pan and season with salt and pepper.
  • Fry tofu until browned on all sides.
  • Remove the tofu from pan and set aside.
  • Heat remaining 2 tbsp of oil.
  • Saute onions, garlic, ginger, and pepper, until tender – about 7 minutes over medium-high heat.
  • Add curry paste, cumin and coriander, and heat with the onions until cooked through and the raw smell is gone – about 1 minutes.
  • Add basil and mix in with curry paste combo for about 10 seconds.
  • Add salt.
  • Pour full can of coconut milk into the pan.
  • Fill 1/2 of the now empty coconut milk can with water and pour into mixture.
  • Stir to combine and bring the whole mixture to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add red & yellow bell pepper, carrots & mushrooms.
  • Bring to a boil – approximately 10 minutes.
  • Add tofu and turn heat down to medium-low.
  • Let it simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Add fish sauce and lemon juice; mix until incorporated.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve over jasmine rice.
  • Garnish with cilantro.  Serve with wedges of lime or lemon (optional).

Note:  BE CAREFUL with the fish sauce.  If it spills even an iota within a 5 mile radius, your skin, clothes and life will be ruined for a full week.  I speak from experience.

Do you enjoy Thai food?  Do you cook it?  Have you spilled fish sauce on yourself?

No judgment.


Filed under Dinner, Uncategorized

35 responses to “Do You Panang?

  1. I love Thai food but have never cooked it before. I mean seriously, I can barely boil rice! This seems like a challenge of epic proportions. But it looks delicious!!

    • I could barely boil rice too until recently – very very true story and I still don’t get it like I exactly want. Luckily my fault is making it too sticky – which worked in this recipe!

  2. I don’t like pad thai or peanut sauce either. It grosses me out.

    I do love thai though. I very very rarely cook it, I usually order in. Cooking international food scares me.

  3. I’ve never had a bad experience with fish sauce. Actually, I think I have oyster sauce currently instead. What happens? Is it smelly?!?!

    Sound delicious! I have a package of tofu (as well as most of the other ingredients) in the fridge just begging to be turned into Panang, now! I just need cilantro, basil and mushrooms. I’d say I am definitely going to make this this weekend! Thanks.


  4. I haven’t had much Thai food, so I’m pretty ambivalent about it- I’ve had really good dishes and really bad dishes!

  5. This Italian Family

    I don’t have a lot of experience with Thai food, but Christopher loves it so it’s something I really should try some time!

  6. Peanuts do not belong in my food. nope. not ever.

    LOVE THIS! I bookmarked it for my next tofu-a-thon! ❤ you rock! thanks!

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  8. I enjoy Thai food on rare occasion. It doesn’t typically sit too well with me, but I still crave it every now & then. I should make it at home to suit my taste!

  9. I love love LOVE tai food but I never make it myself. 😉 maybe ill try this recipe

  10. heck ya i panang! i love that its so good! ill have to make this sometime-maybe before heading to thailand next week! 🙂

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  12. This looks uh-mazing! I love Thai food! Red curry is actually my favorite 🙂 This looks beautiful.

  13. I really love pad thai- although I should really expand my knowledge on thai because it’s one of the few dishes I’ve had. At least I can be certain you’d never steal my leftovers…

  14. We love pad thai (no judgement…hehe) but we love larb the most. Ryan makes it at home for us more often than we eat it out and its scrumptious.

    • My attempt to make larb actually was my fish sauce disaster. Let’s say it spilled. My apartment, my hands, clothes and kitchen smelled like fish for a whole week. And in my mind for another!

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  16. 20% off at Sprouts? Very nice, that place is awesome and I miss having one near!

    I love Thai food but tend to stick with pad thai since I’m not a huge curry fan and I’m afraid to try something new b/c what happens if it’s not as good as the Pad Thai? Um, spilling fish sauce on yourself does not sound fun, eww.

  17. Thank you for the warning. I will start treating fish sauce like it is a nuclear bomb. And thank you for the panang recipe. I always get this when I order Thai, but I never thought to make it myself. I will now.

  18. I made it on Saturday… delish!


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