This homemade Panang curry paste recipe makes the best Panang curry with fresh ingredients, so much better than anything from the grocery store.
We're in the mood for curry in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends, and the first step to any great curry is the curry paste.
I'm gearing up to make my favorite Panang Curry Recipe, which is a bit spicier than you might find elsewhere, and that means we must start with Homemade Panang Curry Paste.
Panang curry is a red curry recipe from Thailand and popular in Southeast Asian cuisine. The curry paste is unique and essential for the dish's characteristic flavor, made from dried chilies instead of fresh, resulting in a milder, smokier curry.
You can easily spice up the curry itself with other ingredients, but traditionally, Panang curry paste is on the milder end of the scale, depending on the dried chilies used to make it.
Of course you can use your favorite store bought brand, but homemade is best when it comes to curry paste, as it is so much fresher and flavorful, which makes a huge different in the final curry.
This curry paste is ideal for any protein, including chicken, pork, lamb, beef, shrimp or any seafood. It is also great with vegetarian versions. Consider eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, or others. Feel free to include your favorite!
Let's talk about how to make Panang curry paste, shall we?
Panang Curry Paste Ingredients
- Chili Peppers. I'm using dried guajillo peppers and Japones peppers for this recipe. You can use puya peppers in place of the guajillos. Thai chilies are more traditionally used, though dried red Japones or chile de arbol are excellent here. NOTE: The dried peppers are stemmed, seeds removed, and soaked in water until softened.
- Fresh Ingredients. Shallot, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, kaffir lime (leaves or kaffir lime zest).
- Shrimp Paste. For umami addition.
- Roasted Peanuts.
- Spices. Coriander, cumin, white peppercorns - all lightly pan toasted.
- Water. As needed to think the paste, if desired.
How to Make Panang Curry Paste - the Step-by-Step Recipe Method
Process the Curry Paste. Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and process to form a thick paste. Alternatively, you can grind it by hand with a mortar and pestle for a coarser texture.
NOTE: Be sure to remove the seeds and stems from the peppers, then soak the dried chilies in hot water first until softened.
Thin with Water. Thin with a teaspoon of water, if needed. Use as desired.
Makes about 1 cup of Panang Curry Paste.
Boom! Done! Easy to make, isn't it? Just gather up your ingredients and grind it up. Your Panang curry paste is ready to enjoy.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Other Ingredients. Curry paste recipes can and do vary from cook to cook. Other ingredients you might include are cilantro roots, coriander root, peanut butter (in place of roasted peanuts), lime zest, mung beans, and others.
- How Much Curry Paste? A typical curry recipe that serves 4 will use 3-4 tablespoons of curry paste. This recipe makes about 1 cup, so you will be able to make 4 meals each for 4 people, roughly.
- Leftover Curry Paste. You can store any leftover curry paste sealed in the refrigerator for 1 week, though I like to freeze it in sealed baggies. It lasts several months this way.
- Rehydrating the Dried Peppers. You can easily rehydrate your dried chilies by adding them to a bowl with very hot water. Bring some water to a light boil, then pour over the peppers. You don't have to boil the water completely, but hotter water works best. Let them soak in the water for 20-30 minutes until they are soft.
- Toasting the Seeds. The recipe calls for the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns to be slightly toasted. Simply heat a pan to medium heat and add the seeds and peppercorns. No oil is needed. Dry toast them for 1-2 minutes, stirring, until they become fragrant, then continue with the recipe. This is not essential, though toasting the seeds brings out more developed flavor.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this Panang curry paste recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
If you enjoy Thai cuisine, I recommend the following cookbooks, which I used to adapt this recipe. Great cookbooks!
- Hot Thai Kitchen Cookbook, by Pailin Chongchitnant (affiliate link, my friends!) - "Demystifying Thai Cuisine with Authentic Recipes to Make at Home". It is filled with great recipes and I have learned quite a bit about Thai ingredients and the structure of building Thai curries.
- 101 Thai Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die: The Essential Recipes, Techniques and Ingredients of Thailand, by Jet Tila and Tad Weyland Fukomoto (affiliate link, my friends!)
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Thai Red Curry Paste
- Homemade Yellow Curry Paste
- Green Curry Paste
- Massaman Curry Paste
- Curry Pastes from Around the World
- Curry Hot Sauce
- Homemade Curry Powder
- Nam Prik Pao (Thai Chili Paste)
- Curry Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Panang Curry Paste Recipe (Prik Gaeng Panang)
- 2 guajillo peppers seeds and stems removed (or use puya peppers)
- 5 dried Thai chilies seeds and stems removed (or use chile de arbol or Japones)
- 1 small shallot chopped
- 2 stalks lemongrass chopped (bases removed)
- 2- inch piece of galangal chopped (skin on)
- 3 clove garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
- 2 kaffir lime leaves chopped
- 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds lightly toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds lightly toasted
- 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns lightly toasted
- Water as needed to thin
- Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and process to form a thick paste. Alternatively, you can grind it by hand with a mortar and pestle for a coarser texture.
- Thin with a teaspoon of water, if needed. Use as desired.