Panang (sometimes written as phanaeng) is indeed named after the charming Malaysian island of Penang. However this is the Thais' interpretation of what a curry from their southern neighbour is, so don't expect to find anything similar when you are in Penang next. For that reason Panang joined a group of other famous dishes that simply do not exist in the country/city that they are named after such as the likes of mee Siam, Singapore noodles and Mongolian beef.
This is a relatively mild dish that can be enjoyed by the whole family; it is extremely aromatic and full of flavour, made extra creamy with the added crushed peanuts in this version of mine. I often add some greens to brighten up the curry, a trick I picked up from my grandmother - by doing so it also saves me the trouble of making another vegetable dish when I am feeling lazy.
vegetable oil for cooking
300 g of chicken thighs, cut into cubes, marinated with a little fish sauce
a handful of green beans, topped and tailed and halved, blanched
1 small broccoli, cut into manageable florets, blanched
1/3 cup of coconut cream (Ayam brand)
3 heaped tbs of Panang curry paste, homemade or shop bought
3/4 cup of coconut milk (Ayam brand)
2 tbs of fish sauce
2 tbs of palm sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
3 bird chilies, sliced
2 heaped tbs of unsalted peanut, dry roasted and pounded (optional)