Chicken & Eggplant Panang Curry with Rice Chips using store-bought curry paste makes this an easy, throw-together weeknight meal. With its origins hailing from Malaysia, or Thailand (although Penang is just off the coast of Malaysia), this curry is creamy, a little feisty & loaded with those hedonistic South East Asian flavors that are both comforting & vibrant. Did I mention the giant rice chips served with the curry?Jump to Recipe
I grilled the eggplant slices & the chicken before adding them to the curry. Now, you don’t have to do this but I think it looks nice & adds a subtle smokiness. Feel free to skip this step if you’re in a hurry or you just can’t be bothered. It happens to us all.
Thai basil is available in some grocery stores, green grocers, farmers markets & Asian markets, which is where I buy mine. It’s also as easy AF to grow. Use your bog-standard basil if you can’t find it but know Thai basil has a unique taste & fragrance unlike that of your garden variety basil. For the curry paste I use Mae Ploy Panang curry paste. You can buy it online or from an Asian market. I think it’s the best.
Indian cuisine has pappadums (why they’ve never gained popularity in the US is beyond me; they need to). Pappadums (spelled a multitude of ways) are made from lentil flour & when cooked they puff & become like a big crunchy chips. They’re delicious. So good in fact I had a whole layer of them packed in my suitcase I brought back to the US from my recent trip home to Australia. You know the rice wrappers used for the fresh spring rolls in Vietnamese & Thai restaurants? Well that’s what I used for these big rice chips. Rice wrappers cook for a nano second in hot oil or they can be microwaved about a minute – this also puffs them & makes them crisp – just not as well as the hot oil. Still, microwaving is quick & easy with no messy oil. They make a perfect crunchy element to accompany the curry. They’re like South East Asia’s answer to pappadums.
Massamum Beef Curry is another Thai/Malaysian favorite of mine & is perfect for this cooler weather. Or if you’re looking for something for the grill – Satay Lemongrass Chicken Skewers are delicious with their vibrant Thai flavor.
Make sure to serve Chicken & Eggplant Panang Curry with Rice Chips spooned over steamed jasmine rice. You definitely want the fragrance of jasmine rice to accompany any South East Asian dishes. This is me, signing off from a tiny rural town in Indiana, Midwest USA where it’s about as far removed from exotic Asian food as you can get. Unless of course you count the Chinese take-out in the next town : ) Toodles, Lovoni xo
Let’s be friends on Instagram
chicken & eggplant panang curry with rice chips
- grill pan
- work or large skillet
- 3 to 4 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices about 20 oz (aubergine)
- coconut or peanut oil, plus 1 tablespoon extra (could also use canola oil)
- salt & pepper
- 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 3 to 4)
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
- 1/3 cup Panang curry paste I used Mae Ploy brand
- 14 oz can coconut milk not low fat
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons grated palm sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 round rice paper wrappers for the chips
- 1/2 cup packed Thai basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup toasted cashews, chopped
- steamed jasmine rice to serve, optional
- Toss eggplant slices with a little oil, salt & pepper. Cook in a hot grill pan for 3 minutes each side or until softened & grill marks appear; set aside. (If you’re using larger eggplants, cut each slice into quarters after cooking.)
- Lightly coat the chicken in oil. Cook in hot grill pan for 5 minutes each side until browned. Chop the chicken into cubes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of extra oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic & ginger. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add curry paste; stir for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add coconut milk, broth, sugar, fish sauce & chicken. Bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes until thickened slightly.
- While the chicken is cooking, microwave rice rounds, one at a time, for 50 seconds on high until puffed & crisp. If they’re not completely puffed, turn & microwave another 20 to 30 seconds.
- Add the eggplant to the curry; stir. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the eggplant is hot.
- Add the basil leaves & lime juice; stir to combine.
- Sprinkle the cashews & extra basil leaves over the curry. Serve with rice, lime wedges & rice chips.