If creamy, sweet and nutty Thai curries send your taste buds to paradise then there's only one option – Penang curry. This delicious dish is a popular pick for Thai food fans and it is fairly easy to make by yourself at home. 
Penang curry originates from Thailand's central region, but its popularity quickly spread as people moved to find work elsewhere. The earliest records date back to 1890 and call it phanaeng. But these days, you'll find it dished up at street market stalls all over Thailand – accompanied by a steaming bowl of sticky rice. 
Although Penang curry can be made with chicken, the most common variation in the UK is Penang fish curry. Almost any white fish will work well for this recipe so try to pick something seasonal and sustainable. We have opted for hake, but whiting or pollack would both work as well. 
Hake is a fantastic choice as a round fish. It has some of the best sustainability credentials of any fish from the cod family. The taste is so similar to cod that it makes the perfect alternative to cod while still being more affordable and sustainable. Hake has a lovely flaky texture when cooked and works well with many strong flavours such as chorizo and chilli. This is why it is perfect for use in fish curry recipes. 
This recipe calls for a number of Thai specific ingredients, most of which can be found at larger local supermarkets. We have also included some more common alternatives should you struggle to find all the ingredients. 


From the Adela 

3 tbsp sunflower oil 
15 Thai shallots (or 8 ordinary shallots), peeled and finely sliced 
2 x 160g/5¾oz cans coconut cream 
4 tbsp Thai yellow or red curry paste 
400g/14oz can coconut milk 
2 lemongrass stalks 
8 fresh kaffir lime leaves, rinsed 
1-2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla) 
2 tbsp palm sugar or soft light brown sugar 
150g/5½oz pea aubergines washed well (or 150g/5½oz green beans, cut into short lengths) 
1 large red pepper and 1 large yellow pepper, seeds removed, cut into 3cm/1¼ chunks 
1kg/2lb 4oz skinless mixed fresh white fish fillets, such as hake, pollack and whiting 
200g/7oz mangetout, trimmed and rinsed 
Handful coriander leaves picked 
Handful Thai basil (or normal basil), roughly torn 
Cooked rice, to serve 

Making the Penang fish curry sauce 

Place a large non-stick wok or wide frying pan on over a medium-high heat. 
Add the oil and stir-fry the sliced shallots for 5–8 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. 
Return the pan to a low heat, add the coconut cream and the curry paste and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. 
Pour over the coconut milk and stir in 100ml/3½fl oz water. Bring to a gentle simmer. 
Put the lemongrass on a board and cut in half lengthways. Bash with a rolling pin to bruise and flatten the stalks – this will allow their flavour to escape more easily into your curry. 
Add the lemongrass, lime leaves, fish sauce and sugar to the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes more, or until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. 
Add the pea aubergines and simmer gently for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until almost tender. 
Stir in the peppers and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring regularly. The coconut curry sauce needs to be bubbling gently to cook the vegetables. 
When the aubergines are tender, taste the curry sauce and add more Thai fish sauce if necessary. Once you’re happy with the taste, remove the curry sauce from the heat and remove from the heat while you prepare the fish. 

Cooking the hake 

Cut the fish pieces into 3cm/1¼in chunks and season with ground black pepper. 
Stir the fish and mangetout into the curry and cook for a further 5 minutes. 
Turn the fish in the sauce every now and then at the beginning of the cooking time, but stop as soon as you see it beginning to flake. 
Once the fish is cooked the curry should be thick and creamy; you are now ready to serve. 
Sprinkle the crispy shallots, coriander leaves and roughly torn Thai basil over the top of the curry for a final flourish. Serve with cooked rice. 
Cheers ‘N’ Garn 
Tagged as: hake
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