Make traditional Thai Chicken Panang Curry at home in under 30 minutes using my easy recipe. It is much more flavorful than your favorite take-out.
There are some more Thai curry recipes that you must try – Thai Green Curry, Thai Pumpkin Curry, Thai Basil Chicken, and Thai Red Curry.
About Thai Panang Curry
Panang Curry (pronounced as Pa-Naing) is a Thai-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’ in Malaysia.
Compared to Thai red curry and Thai green curry, this curry is sweeter, creamier, and more luscious.
Panang curry recipe comes together in under 30 minutes, and homemade curry tastes much better than your favorite takeout. Homemade curry is highly customizable too.
This curry is keto-friendly, paleo, dairy-free, and gluten-free, and the recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
In this post, I am sharing a version with chicken, but you can make it with shrimp, fish, tofu, or chickpeas.
You will get all the ingredients at Asian markets, Asian grocery stores, or in the international aisle of large grocery stores.
Chicken – This curry uses skinless, boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts.
Vegetables – I like to load the Panang curry with vegetables along with the chicken. I have added red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and broccoli, but you can add more veggies, such as mushrooms, eggplant, baby corn, snap peas, bamboo shoots, green beans, carrots, etc.
Panang Curry Paste – Panang curry paste is the star ingredient of this Thai curry. Just like Thai red curry paste and green curry paste, it is also an essential ingredients in Thai cooking.
It is available in the international section of any large grocery store. You can also check an Asian grocery store or order it online from portals like Amazon.
My fav brand of Panang paste is Real Thai and Mae Ploy. If you are looking for a vegan paste, look out for Maesri or A Taste Of Thai.
This paste can be made at home from scratch as well. Scroll down to get the recipe.
Coconut Milk – Full-fat coconut milk adds a distinct flavor and minimizes the curry’s spice level, making it nice and mild. It also makes this curry rich and creamy.
Some people also add a little cashew paste to make the curry richer.
Fish Sauce – Fish sauce adds an earthy, savory flavor to the curry.
Palm Sugar – Palm sugar adds a little sweetness to the curry making it even more delicious. If you cannot find palm sugar, use brown sugar instead.
Red Chilies – Add fresh Thai bird’s eye red chilies for that much-needed spiciness. It is great if you get Thai red chilies; if not, you can also use normal red chilies.
You can increase or decrease the chilies 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 freeze the leftover Kaffir lime for future use. It will turn black but will still retain its strong aroma.
If Thai basil is unavailable, you can use regular sweet basil (Italian basil).
Oil – Use any vegetable oil to make this curry.
Some people use cornstarch to make the curry slightly thicker. I never use it, but if you like a thicker curry, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 3 tablespoon water, make a slurry, and add it to the curry.
Replace chicken with beef, shrimp (prawns), pork, or fish like salmon or white fish. Consider that the cooking time is different for different types of meat.
You can add pineapple pieces to this curry to give it a sweet and tart taste. Green mangoes also go very well.
How To Make Chicken Panang Curry
Start by preparing the chicken and vegetables. Wash 14 oz (400 g) skinless, boneless chicken breasts or chicken thighs and cut them into ½ inch pieces using a sharp knife.
Slice ½ red bell pepper and ½ yellow bell pepper and cut a small broccoli head into small bite-size florets.
Gather the remaining ingredients.
Make The Curry
Heat 2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add 14 oz (400 g) of boneless skinless chicken pieces and saute until they turn light brown (3-4 minutes), stirring frequently.
Add ½ cup of sliced red bell peppers, ½ cup of sliced yellow bell peppers, and 1 cup of broccoli florets to the pan and saute for 2 minutes.
Move the chicken and vegetables to the side of the pan.
Add 4 tablespoon Panang curry paste and saute for a minute, stirring continuously.
Now mix the paste with the chicken and veggies.
Add 1 tablespoon palm sugar and cook for another minute.
Reduce the heat to low.
Add 5-6 sliced Kaffir lime leaves, 2 chopped bird’s eye red chilies, and 2 cups of coconut milk and mix well.
Let the curry simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add 1 cup of water and mix well. Cook until the curry comes to a gentle boil.
Add 1 tablespoon fish sauce and a handful of torn Thai basil leaves and mix well. Serve hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Add all the ingredients except coconut milk to the crockpot to make this curry in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Add coconut milk and cook on low for another hour. Serve hot.
To make it vegan, skip adding chicken and make the curry with vegetables. You can add tofu or cooked chickpeas as well. Instead of fish sauce, you can use soy sauce or tamari.
Use vegan Panang curry paste because sometimes the regular ones contain shrimp paste.
Panang curry paste is available in the market these days, but you can make it at home for more traditional flavors. For a vegan or vegetarian version, skip adding shrimp paste and add 1 tablespoon soy sauce instead.
2 tablespoon chopped garlic
¼ cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped galangal (or ginger roots)
2 teaspoon cilantro roots
1 teaspoon Kaffir lime zest
3 tablespoon chopped lemon grass
1 teaspoon salt
10-15 dry red chilies
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
¼ teaspoon white peppercorns
1 tablespoon roasted cumin seeds
1 tablespoon roasted coriander seeds
2 tablespoon roasted peanuts (or 1 tablespoon peanut butter)
Add all the ingredients to a blender along with ¼ cup of water and blend until smooth.
If you have a peanut allergy, you can skip using them.
Panang chicken curry goes best with Jasmine rice. You can also serve it with steamed white rice, sticky rice, brown rice, quinoa, or couscous. I like to squeeze lime juice over it just before serving.
You can also serve it with zoodles, noodles, or spaghetti.
It tastes great with Asian cauliflower rice and is perfect for a low-carb or KETO diet.
Try it with garlic noodles for a filling meal.
Penang curry will last in the fridge for 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container. Reheat it in a pan or the microwave before serving.
I don’t recommend freezing this curry because it has coconut milk. The texture of the curry might change once we thaw it.
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Thai Chicken Panang Curry Recipe
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 14 ounces boneless chicken thighs (400 g, rinsed, and cut into ½-inch pieces)
- ½ cup sliced red bell peppers
- ½ cup sliced yellow bell peppers
- 1 cup florets of broccoli
- 4 tablespoons 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
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- handful Thai basil
- Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add chicken pieces and saute until they turn light brown in color (3-4 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Add red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and broccoli florets to the pan and saute for 2 minutes.
- Move the chicken and vegetables to the side of the pan.
- Add Panang curry paste and saute for a minute, stirring continuously.
- Now mix the paste with the chicken and veggies.
- Add palm sugar and cook for another minute.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Add Kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye red chilies, and coconut milk, and mix well.
- Let the curry simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Now add water and mix well. Cook until the curry comes to a gentle boil.
- Add fish sauce and a handful of torn Thai basil leaves and mix well. Serve hot.
For the Panang curry dish. I had Thai red curry paste, substuted brown sugar, no chilie peppers, but wish I had passed on the fish sauce.
Hi Daniel, The ingredients of Panang Curry paste are slightly different from the Thai Red Curry Paste. That could be the reason you felt the fish sauce was not needed. When you use Panang Curry paste, it definitely uplifts the taste of the dish.
I’ve been trying to replicate the Panang curry from a local Thai restaurant I particularly like but until finding this recipe hadn’t had much luck. Making the curry paste was definitely a time-consuming project and I had to substitute a number of ingredients but the end result was well worth it!
To say it was delicious would be an understatement; this has instantly become one of my favorite recipes!! Even with all my substitutions this came out remarkably similar to the dish I’ve been trying to make at home for ages. I hope to make it again in the near future, ideally with the proper ingredients assuming I can find a way to get them despite the Covid-19 situation. I love Thai/Indian/Chinese dishes and I’m definitely going to look at the other recipies on this site. If this experience was anything to go by I’ve got a ton of amazing food in my future. Thank you for this wonderful recipie!
Thank you for the lovely feedback 🙂
Made it exactly per recipe and was delicious. Thankyou