Maesri Panang Curry Paste Review
Maesri™ is a company in Thailand that produces a decent range of food products, including a series of traditional Thai curry pastes. I actually tried one of their Curry Pastes quite a few years ago and, though I do not remember a great deal about it, I do recall that it was very good. The Panang Curry Paste, pictured above, is not quite as hot as I remember the other paste being, but I am happy to report that the overall quality is every bit as high.
The ingredients listed on the can are:
Dried red chilies, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, sugar, salt, kaffir lime, galangal, coriander seed, cumin, cardamom, and bay leaves.
On tasting a little of the paste, the dominant flavor is the galangal, with either the lemon grass, the kaffir lime leaf, or a combination of both coming up a close second. The chili, though it the first ingredient listed, and thus added in the greatest amount, does not strike one right away. Rather, the heat is not very apparent until you swallow and then it catches you in the back of the mouth and throat instead of the lips and tongue.
Using Maesri Panang Curry Paste in a Recipe
All the Maesri Curry Pastes that I have thus far come across have a recipe on the outside of the can, all of which are roughly the same and involve mixing the curry paste with coconut milk before adding specified ‘main’ ingredients. The Panang Curry Paste recipe suggests chicken as a main ingredient and calls for 400ml of Coconut Milk, but for my test, I used slightly less coconut milk (1 ½ cups), and I substituted shrimp for the chicken. I also added some onion, broccoli florets, and toasted cashews.
The result was very nice. Again, as in the initial taste test, the heat of the chili takes a moment or two to be apparent and so this didn’t seem to be a particularly hot curry. Probably, I would say, the heat level is about roughly the same as adding an equivalent volume of Sriracha sauce to the same amount of coconut milk and solid ingredients. The Galangal flavor again dominated the dish but the blending of spicing ingredients is nicely rounded and complex.
The Maesri Panang Curry Paste is as easy to use as any similar product and is very nicely balanced in terms of flavor. Though designed to produce a specific type of curry, the ingredient profile would easily allow it to be used in other ways too. It is highly recommended for the pantry.