Let me just say that this Panang Curry recipe could be my ultimate favorite kind of curry! It’s bursting with rich and creamy flavor from the curry paste and coconut milk and is made hearty with chicken, veggies and fresh basil.  

Recently I shared a new Yellow Curry and Massaman curry recipe, but if I had it my way, I’d serve these dishes together on the same night alongside some homemade naan and roasted vegetables! I’ve also included options for vegan and vegetarian panang curry, because this recipe is easily adaptable to any dietary restrictions.

Panang Curry in a bowl with white rice and naan bread.

My affinity for Thai food recipes is no secret–especially ones you can make at home, that taste just as good as take-out! You all have come to LOVE my Homemade Pad Thai just as much as I do, and I have too many other favorite Thai recipes to count. I just love the hugely bold flavors and freshness that comes with dishes, including this one!

I think the thought of making homemade curry can sound intimidating but it’s actually one of the EASIEST meals to make! Let’s walk through it, step by step!

Quick and Easy Panang Curry (and overview)

1. Sauté vegetables.  Heat oil over medium high heat in large non-stick skillet. Sauté onions for 2 minutes, then add bell peppers, garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes more.

2. Add to make sauce:  Add curry paste and peanut butter and sauté for 1 minute. Add 1 ½ cans of coconut milk. Whisk cornstarch into remaining ½ can coconut milk then add to the pan. Stir well.

Slices of red and green bell pepper in a skillet and then coconut milk added.

3. Add chicken. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or just until chicken is no longer pink and sauce begins to thicken.

4. Final touches. Stir in sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

A pot of panang curry with fresh basil leaves on top.

5. Serve curry over hot cooked rice, zoodles or spaghetti squash, with a side for naan.

Panang Curry Paste:

Which type?  You have the choice of buying this curry paste or making it homemade.  Personally, I prefer to buy panang curry paste and I am partial to the Mae Ploy Brand.  You can find it at your local Asian market, or on Amazon.

Spice level.  The spiciness of this dish will largely depend on the type and amount of curry paste you use.  I have found Mae Ploy to be a little spicier than other brands (2 tablespoons is medium spicy). That being said, I found when I used 1 tablespoon Mae Ploy Panang Curry paste it was lacking flavor for my taste.

If you want, you can always use less Panang curry paste and add additional Sriracha/Asian hot chili sauce to taste at the end of cooking.

Variations and Dietary Restrictions:

More vegetables: This is a great recipe to “clean out your veggie drawer”. Try adding mushrooms, zucchini, bean sprouts, spinach, bamboo shoots or carrots.

Chicken: You can substitute the chicken for shrimp or tofu.

Rice: Brown, white, or jasmine rice pair well with curry, or skip the rice and serve your curry over zoodles or spaghetti squash.

Vegetarian and vegan panang:  Use a vegetarian curry paste (one that doesn’t contain fish sauce or shrimp paste) like this one.  Also omit the chicken and fish sauce from the recipe and add additional vegetables of tofu!

The customization of this Panang Curry is endless, and so will be your love for it!

Panang curry with bell peppers, chicken and basil, in a pot with a wooden spoon.

Storing and Freezing Instructions:

This recipe will keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator (and that makes it a fabulous MEAL PREP dish)!  For even quicker meal prep, you can cut the chicken and slice the red bell peppers in advance.

Panang curry can be frozen for 2-3 months.  Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.  Cook rice fresh for serving.

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Recipe

Panang Curry in a bowl with white rice and naan bread.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 40 mins
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Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons Panang curry paste *
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts , cut into pieces against the grain
  • 1 small onion , sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper , thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper , thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 14 oz cans coconut milk (Chaokoh brand is my favorite)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves , roughly chopped
  • Hot cooked rice white, brown or jasmine

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in large non-stick skillet. Saute onions for 2 minutes, then add bell peppers, garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes more.
  • Add curry paste and peanut butter and saute for 1 minute. Add 1 ½ cans of coconut milk. Whisk cornstarch into remaining ½ can coconut milk then add to the pan. Stir well.
  • Add chicken, stirring to coat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or just until chicken is no longer pink and sauce begins to thicken.
  • Stir in sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve over hot cooked rice.

Notes

Panang Curry Paste: Although you can make it from scratch, I never have those ingredients so prefer to buy it from Amazon or a local Asian market. I like the Mae Ploy Brand. 
Spice level:  The spiciness of this dish will largely depend on the type and amount of curry paste you use.  I have found Mae Ploy to be a little spicier than other brands (2 tablespoons is medium spicy).
Veggies: This is a great recipe to “clean out your veggie drawer”. Try adding mushrooms, zucchini, bean sprouts, spinach, bamboo shoots or carrots.
Chicken: You can substitute the chicken for shrimp or tofu.
Rice: White, brown, or jasmine rice are best, or serve curry over zoodles or spaghetti squash. 
Vegetarian and vegan panang:  Use a vegetarian curry paste (one that doesn't contain fish sauce or shrimp paste) like this one.  Also omit the chicken and fish sauce from the recipe and add  additional vegetables of tofu!
Make ahead and Storing: This recipe will keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator (and that makes it a fabulous MEAL PREP dish)!  For even quicker meal prep, you can cut the chicken and slice the red bell peppers in advance.
Freezing Instructions: Panang curry can be frozen for 2-3 months.  Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.  Cook rice fresh for serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 327kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 41gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 519mgPotassium: 850mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1835IUVitamin C: 55mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 1mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I am a lover of great Thai food and was pretty much hooked on it when I lived abroad. My small town back home doesn’t have any so I’m learning to cook it. Let me tell you this recipe is spot on for authentic, restaurant quality Thai! It’s absolutely perfect!

  2. 5 stars
    So easy to cook, smells and taste amazing, the whole family loved it, clean bowls all round. Definitely be cooking this again.

  3. 5 stars
    I love Thai food. This was very good. I put in 6 tablespoons of Penang paste and still didn’t think it was hot enough. Good flavor. A recipe I would make again.

  4. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe and the results! I substituted large shrimp/prawns for the chicken, added pounded lemongrass (fished it out before serving), and also added baby broccoli, Bok choy and spinach. I’ve already shared this recipe with a friend and plan to make it often.

  5. Wow! This recipe is perfect! It really does taste like a restaurant quality Penang curry! I will make this again and again. It’s spicy but pleasantly so! Use the suggested curry paste, it works!!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I used bell pepper and broccoli and they were perfect but now that I’ve got a feel for how it cooks next time I’ll add more variety. I was so impressed by how easy it was. I used the recommended curry brand and amount and it was definitely too spicy for my young kids but my husband and I really liked it. Next time I think I’ll use a bit less though as both my husband and I agreed less spicy would still be just as enjoyable.

    I do have one question…the texture of my curry was coming out as I would expect up until right near the end around when I put in the final ingredients. It’s as if it lost its thickness and became more watery and the oil separated. Any idea why that would happen? The flavor and everything were still wonderful it just went from a thicker more restaurant type curry to one that seemed more watery out of the blue. I’m thinking it’s something about the coconut milk and temperature? Or maybe because my cornstarch is close to it’s best by date? But I have no idea. Any input is greatly appreciated!

    Regardless of my one mystery error this recipe seriously rocks. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. 4 stars
    Anyone have suggestions for making this a little bit healthier? I subbed one can of whole fat coconut milk with 2 cups of cashew milk and it came out ok—a little bland. Maybe I should use something other than cashew milk? My store did not have low fat coconut milk. I think my ratios were a little off too—I added a lot more veggies (zucchini, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, bamboo shoots) and doubled most of the recipe except the sugar and chicken. Used 4 tbsp of maesri curry paste and I’d say my dish is mild approaching medium heat. Any thoughts on how to add more flavor to the batch I made without adding lots more heat? Thanks for the recipe and suggestions!!

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