This homemade Panang curry recipe is quick and easy with chopped chicken, creamy coconut milk and warming spices, one of my favorite Thai curries.
We're making Thai curry in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. More specifically, it is Thai Panang Curry, and I think you're going to love this dish.
Panang Curry is a rich and creamy red curry dish from Thailand made with coconut milk and lots of veggies. It's a very versatile dish, as it is with a lot of Thai food, perfect for the addition of many different types of proteins, from chicken and pork to fish, shrimp, scallops, tofu, and more.
You may have enjoyed this recipe as your favorite Thai restaurant, though it is satisfying and quite easy to make at home, once you gather up the ingredients.
You'll have it on the table ready to serve in under 30 minutes, which is great for a slow cook like me.
Panang curry isn't traditionally an overly spicy curry dish, though spicy food lovers can easily up the heat with the addition of spicier chili peppers.
Most recipes call for red bell peppers, though I often include either spicy Thai chilies, or bird's eye chilies to satisfy that zesty craving. You can use other hot peppers available to you.
It's also a customizable dish, so feel free to toss in other veggies, other proteins, and vary up the ratios of ingredients.
Let's talk about how to make Panang curry, shall we?
Panang Curry Ingredients
- Coconut Oil. For cooking, or use vegetable oil.
- Chili Peppers. Red bell peppers for the base, and optional spicy chilies for heat. Use Thai chilies for a spicy Thai curry, or Bird's eye chilies.
- Chicken Breast. You can use chicken thighs as well.
- Panang Curry Paste. You can use a curry paste from grocery stores, or try my Homemade Panang Curry Paste Recipe. So much better.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves. Use lime zest, lemongrass, or a combination as a substitute.
- Coconut Milk. Use full fat for fuller flavor with delicious coconut cream, though low fat will work as well for a lower calorie version.
- Thai Basil Leaves.
- Bamboo Shoots.
- Fish Sauce.
- Tamarind Concentrate.
- Sugar. Use palm sugar, though brown sugar or white sugar will do.
- For Garnish. Chopped peanuts, red chili flakes, chopped basil.
- For Serving. Cooked rice, naan or roti bread.
How to Make Panang Curry - the Recipe Method
Cook the Onion and Peppers. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan or wok to medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 5 minutes to soften, stirring.
Brown the Chicken. Add the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes to brown, stirring.
Curry Paste. Add the Panang curry paste and lime leaves. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to let the flavors bloom.
Simmer the Curry. Stir in the coconut milk, basil leaves, bamboo shoots, fish sauce, tamarind concentrate and sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes to cook the chicken through and thicken the sauce.
Garnish and Serve. Remove from heat, garnish and serve.
Boom! Done! Your Panang curry is ready to serve! We always enjoy this curry, and love that it's so quick and easy to make. So fast to whip together during the busy weeknights!
I love mine with a good helping of Jasmine rice. So good.
Recipe Tips & Notes
Panang Curry Paste
Panang curry paste is essential for this recipe. You can use other curry pastes, but the very specific paste is what makes this recipe what it is. It's not an overly spicy curry paste, made with dried chilies instead of fresh. I strongly encourage you to make your own.
Best Proteins for Thai Curry
I'm using chicken for this recipe, though feel free to sub in tofu or pork. Seafood is great here, like shrimp, though it is best tucked into the pan the last few minutes before serving. Serve it just cooked through. I like to sear the shrimp first, then tuck it in at the end to warm in the creamy curry sauce.
You can also make a vegetarian version by skipping the meats and adding extra vegetables and/or tofu. Skip the fish sauce and use soy sauce instead.
Other ingredients I have seen in Panang Curry recipes include soy sauce and peanut butter, which you can swirl into the coconut milk before simmering.
Mild-Medium. You can easily include spicy peppers along with the bell pepper, or include spicier elements in the Panang curry paste. Or, sprinkle in cayenne pepper or a hotter chili powder when you cook down the chicken.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my Panang curry 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 recipes, 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
- Red Curry
- Massaman Curry
- Spicy Thai Curry Chicken Soup
- Coconut Chicken Curry
- Chickpea Curry
- Khao Soi – Northern Thai Coconut Curry Soup
- Thai Shrimp Curry
- Thai Green Curry
- Red Lentil Curry
- Phaal Curry (the Hottest Curry in the World)
- Curried Rice
- See all of my spicy 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.
Thai Panang Curry Recipe
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or use vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- 1-2 Thai chilies chopped (optional, for spicy Thai curry - or use Bird's eye chilies)
- 1.5 pounds chicken breast chopped into bite sized pieces
- 4 tablespoons Panang Curry Paste (see my homemade Panang Curry Paste recipe)
- 4 kaffir lime leaves chopped
- 2 cups coconut milk use full fat for more flavor
- 1/4 cup Thai sweet basil leaves whole or roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots canned is good
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar or use white sugar
- For Garnish. Chopped peanuts, red chili flakes, chopped basil, naan or roti bread for serving
- For Serving. Cooked rice, naan or roti bread.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pan or wok to medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 5 minutes to soften, stirring.
- Add the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes to brown, stirring.
- Add the Panang curry paste and lime leaves. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to let the flavors bloom.
- Stir in the coconut milk, basil leaves, bamboo shoots, fish sauce, tamarind concentrate and sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes to cook the chicken through and thicken the sauce.
- Remove from heat, garnish and serve.