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 Red Curry, 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: 691kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 44gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 35gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 537mgPotassium: 1275mgFiber: 5gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 2088IUVitamin C: 60mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 4mg

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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 made this a couple days ago but I used chicken thighs rather than breasts for the added flavor. Turned out great! I had used a different recipe a few months ago that didn’t turn out nearly as good as this one. However, I will say that if you use Maesri curry paste (I did this time, used Mae Ploy last time) that you will likely need to up the amounts used. It’s not nearly as spicy as Mae Ploy so I doubled what recipe called for and I still feel like it wasn’t enough. Keep that in mind if you can’t find Mae Ploy.

  2. 4 stars
    Yum! I doubled the paste amount and it was really good. Thanks for the recipe.

    Did you know that 99% of coconuts picked in Thailand (including for Chaokoh) use horribly mistreated monkey slaves? Yikes! Other countries have better track records, but I don’t know if anywhere guarantees they aren’t using monkey slaves.

  3. 5 stars
    I have made this twice now and I love it! Thank you so much for putting together this recipe! I’m so happy I can fulfill my craving without ordering out. And I have leftovers!

  4. I have made this several times and I love it more every time. Such a delicious, rich and uncomplicated recipe. I think it is better than any I have eaten out. The only sub I used was Arrowroot instead of Cornstarch. Subbed 1:1. Perfect and so good!!

  5. 4 stars
    Seems I’m always disappointed both by online Thai curry recipes and curry I buy in so many Thai restaurants. So much of the curry I try, doesn’t matter where, is just soupy and runny. Whereas, Thai curry shouldn’t be as thick as Indian curry, it shouldn’t be thin and soupy either, but somewhere in-between. Why is this so hard for even restaurants to get right? This recipe makes an attempt to thicken it with corn starch, at least, and it produces a product better than most Thai restaurants near me.

  6. 5 stars
    OMG, I am so tired of people
    commenting on a recipe that did not follow it exactly. What is the point?!? If you aren’t making it as the author states, you should not comment. You aren’t making the same thing! Wait until you have all the ingredients, r at least make the recipe as posted and then your way and compare. Drives me nuts “ALMOST” as much as people who comment who haven’t even made the dish! “Looks great. Can’t wait to try.” No one cares that you think it looks good! Ugh!…
    Now, I made exactly as given. It is delicious, like several other recipes of hers I have used. Very easy to make and family loved it.

  7. 5 stars
    I made this recipe and I was unexpectedly surprised at good it was. I made a couple of changes (because its what I had at home), one of which I think improved the recipe. I used red curry paste with a little nutmeg added(one of the differences between red curry paste and panang curry paste) and I used coconit cream rather than coconut milk. I think the coconut cream gave it much more richness and depth. I also did not have kaffir lime leaves on hand but theyre in the curry paste so I couldnt tell. I was so excited when all was finished and what I made tasted like I picked it up from a Thai restaurant! Easy and delicious!

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! This was better than our local Thai restaurant options. Very pleased with the results and will be making again.

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