The second dish we learned to make in our Thai cooking class was Phanaeng Curry Fried Rice with chicken. Our instructor was eager to share this recipe with us because she had grown up eating it in Thailand and said that it's uncommon to find a curry fried rice like this in American Thai restaurants.
I'm not the kind of girl to pick favorites (I like it all!), but if I had to pick one from our class, this dish would certainly be in the running. That's partly because of the novelty of it, and partly because rice is one of my very favorite foods, but mostly it's just because it's delicious. I'll definitely be making this one again.
Phanaeng Curry Fried Rice
Adapted from Niddy
4 1/2 cups steamed rice, cooked and cooled to room temperature
1 cup boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon shredded kaffir lime leaves
1 cup Thai sweet basil leaves
2 tablespoons phanaeng curry paste
1 cup creamy coconut milk (the thick stuff at the top of the can)
2 tablespoons cashew nuts (optional)
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Heat oil in a wok or pan on medium-high heat. Add phanaeng paste. Keep stirring and flipping for about 5 minutes so that it does not get burned.
2. Add chicken. Mix well with phanaeng paste. Add coconut milk, Thai sweet basil, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir until the coconut milk is almost dried up, about 1/4 cup left in the pan.
3. Add rice. Mix well.
4. Serve rice and top with shredded lime leaves. Serve cashews and cucumber on the side if desired.