Make rich, creamy, and spicy Thai Panang curry at home in just 20 minutes. It’s much more flavorful than the take-out and can be made vegan too.
About This Recipe
Panang curry (pronounced as Pa-Naing) is an Asian style curry that is spicy, creamy, and rich and has a distinct flavor of kaffir lime, coconut milk, and red chilies.
It is also called phanaeng, phanang, panaeng or panang, in Thailand or as penang, or Pulau Pinang in Malaysia. This curry is named after the city island called ‘Penang’ of Malaysia. Compared to Thai red curry, this curry is sweeter, creamy, and luscious.
Panang curry recipe takes only 20 minutes to come together, it is much better than your favorite take out and is highly customizable.
Make a vegan version of this Thai curry by using lots of veggies and tofu, vegan Panang curry paste, and skipping the meat and fish sauce, or make it with the meat of your choice like chicken, pork, beef, seafood, shrimp, or fish.
This curry is mildly spicy. It is less spicy as compared to Thai red and green curry and is mildly sweet due to the use of palm sugar.
This Panang Chicken Curry is,
- Keto, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Dairy Free
- Full of Flavour
- Easy & Quick
- Loaded with veggies
- Perfect for lazy meals
Chicken – Opt for boneless chicken thighs and cut it into bite sized pieces. You can also use boneless chicken breast.
Vegetables – This curry is loaded with vegetables along with chicken. I have added red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and broccoli, but you can go ahead in add more veggies such as mushrooms, eggplant, baby corn, snap peas, bamboo shoots, beans, carrots, etc.
Panang Curry Paste – To make this curry, you will need Panang curry paste. It is readily available in the market these days but you can also make it at home from scratch as well. Scroll down to get the recipe.
Check out the international section of the grocery store. If you have an Asian store nearby, this paste will be readily available there. Otherwise, you can also order it online like here on Amazon.
My fav brand of Panang curry paste is Real Thai and Mae Ploy. If you are looking for a vegan paste, then look out for Maesri or A taste of Thai brand.
Coconut Milk – Coconut milk adds a distinct flavor and also minimizes the spice level of the curry making it nice and mild. It also makes this curry rich and creamy, makes it taste delicious when served with rice. Some people even add cashew paste to make the curry richer.
Fish Sauce – This sauce adds an earthy savory flavor to the curry which adds to its taste. Skip adding it for a vegetarian or vegan version.
Palm Sugar – Palm sugar adds in a little sweetness to the curry, which makes it even more delicious. It dissolves in the curry well, without being sticky. If you cannot find palm sugar, you can also use brown sugar instead.
Red Chillies – For that much-needed spiciness, add in fresh Thai bird’s eye red chilies. It is great if you can find Thai red chilies, if not you can use normal red chilies too.
You can increase or decrease the amount of chillies as per your taste and preference.
Thai Basil and Kaffir Lime – These two ingredients give this curry a very authentic taste and you can source these from your local Asian market.
You can also order the ingredients online as well as they are readily available in a number of Asian stores. You can freeze the leftover Kaffir lime for future. It will turn black but will still retain it’s strong aroma.
If Thai basil is not available, you can use the regular basil too.
Oil – You can use any vegetable oil to make this curry.
Others – Some people use cornstarch to make the curry slightly thicker. I never use it but if you like a thicker curry, dissolve 1 tbsp cornstarch in 3 tbsp water, make a slurry and add it to the curry.
How to make Panang Curry?
Start by preparing the chicken and vegetables. Wash 14 oz boneless chicken breast and cut it into 1 inch cubes using a sharp knife. Slice ½ red bell peppers, ½ yellow bell pepper and cut a small broccoli head into small bite size florets.
Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil to a medium size pan.
Add the chicken pieces to the pan and fry on high heat until they turn slightly browned about 3-4 minutes.
Note – If making vegan, skip this process. You can use other meat of choice instead of chicken.
Add ½ cup sliced red bell peppers, ½ cup sliced yellow bell peppers and 1 cup small broccoli florets to the pan and fry for 2 minutes.
Note – You can use any vegetables of your choice.
Move the chicken and vegetables on the side of the pan.
Add 4 tbsp Panang curry paste to the pan.
Note – Use vegan Panang curry paste for vegan version as the regular one have shrimp paste in it. You can reduce the amount of paste if like the curry milder.
Fry for 2 minutes and then mix everything up.
Add 1 tbsp palm sugar and cook for another minute.
Add 5-6 sliced Kaffir lime leaves, 2 chopped bird’s eye red chilies, and 2 cups of coconut milk and let the curry simmer for 10-12 minutes. Now add 1 cup of water and mix well.
Now add 2 tbsp fish sauce and a handful of torn Thai basil and mix well. Serve it hot.
Note – To make it vegan, skip the fish sauce and use soy sauce or tamari instead. If Thai basil is not available, use regular basil.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make this curry in a slow cooker, add all the ingredients except coconut milk to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Once it is done, add coconut milk and cook on low for another hour. Serve hot.
Finding Panag curry paste is a bit difficult as compared to Thai red and green curry paste. You can find it in the International section or Asian section of the store. If you cannot find it, you can also search it online. Many grocery online portals will have the same and will deliver it to your doorsteps.
To make it vegan, skip adding chicken and make the curry with just vegetables or also add in Tofu. Also instead of fish sauce, you can use soy sauce or tamari.
Use vegan Panang curry paste, because sometimes the regular ones may contain shrimp paste.
How to make Homemade Penang Curry Paste?
Panang curry paste is available in the market these days but you can definitely make it at home for more traditional flavors. For a vegan or vegetarian version, skip adding shrimp paste to it and add 1 tbsp soy sauce instead.
- 2 tbsp Chopped Garlic
- ¼ cup Chopped Shallots
- 1 tbsp Chopped Galangal
- 2 tsp Cilantro Root
- 1 tsp Kaffir Lime Zest
- 3 tbsp Chopped Lemon Grass
- 1 tsp Salt
- 10-15 Dry Red chilies
- 1 tsp Shrimp Paste
- ¼ tsp white peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Roasted Cumin Seeds
- 1 tbsp Roasted Coriander Seeds
- 2 tbsp Roasted peanuts
- Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- If you have a peanut allergy, you can skip using them.
Instead of chicken, you can also use beef, shrimp (prawns), pork, and fish like salmon or any white fish in this curry.
You can make a vegan version by adding tofu or vegetables to the curry and skipping the fish sauce. If using tofu, cook the tofu in an oven or in a pan until crisp. Then add it to the curry.
If palm sugar is not available, use brown sugar in its place.
You can also add pieces of pineapple to this curry to give it a sweet and tart taste. Green mangoes also goes very well.
This Penang curry will last in the fridge for 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container. Reheat it in a pan or in the microwave before serving.
I don’t recommend freezing this curry as it has coconut milk in it. The texture of the curry might change once we thaw it.
You can also serve it with zoodles, noodles or spaghetti.
It also tastes great with Asian cauliflower rice and is perfect for low carb or KETO diet.
Try it with garlic noodles for a filling meal.
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Panang Curry Recipe
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 14 ounces boneless chicken thighs (cut into small pieces)
- ½ cup sliced red bell pepper
- ½ cup sliced yellow bell pepper
- 1 cup florets of broccoli
- 4 tablespoon Panang curry paste
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- 5-6 Kaffir lime leaves (chopped)
- 2 bird's eye red chilies (chopped)
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 handful Thai basil
- Start by preparing the chicken and vegetables. Wash 14 oz boneless chicken breast and cut it into 1 inch cubes using a sharp knife. Slice ½ red bell peppers, ½ yellow bell pepper and cut a small broccoli head into small bite size florets.
- Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil to a medium size pan.
- Add the chicken pieces to the pan and fry on high heat until they turn slightly browned, 3-4 minutes.
- Note – If making vegan, skip this process. You can use other meat of choice instead of chicken.
- Add ½ cup sliced red bell peppers, ½ cup sliced yellow bell peppers and 1 cup small broccoli florets to the pan and fry for 2 minutes.
- Note – You can use any vegetables of your choice.
- Move the chicken and vegetables on the side of the pan.
- Add 4 tbsp Panang curry paste to the pan.
- Note – Use vegan Panang curry paste for vegan version as the regular one have shrimp paste in it. You can reduce the amount of paste if like the curry milder.
- Fry for 2 minutes and then mix everything up.
- Add 1 tbsp palm sugar and cook for another minute.
- Add 5-6 sliced Kaffir lime leaves, 2 chopped bird’s eye red chilies, and 2 cups of coconut milk and let the curry simmer for 10-12 minutes. Now add 1 cup of water and mix well.
- Now add 2 tbsp fish sauce and a handful of torn Thai basil and mix well.
- Note – to make it Vegan skip fish sauce and use soy sauce or tamari instead.
- Serve hot.