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

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. This was amazing and on point! I don’t need to go to a restaurant for this anymore, thank you! I used the Mae Ploy brand and it does provide just the right kick.

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent I missed a few ingredients like fish sauce used soy sauce in its place . I didn’t have basil so I used parsley. As good as what I order in Thai restaurants. Also added fresh tomato and spinach.

  3. 5 stars
    Our Asian store was out of panang curry paste so I bought the red and doubled up on the peanut butter. An Asian lady also told me to use coconut cream instead of milk because it comes out much creamier which it did. I halved the corn starch since I used the cream. It came out better than some I have had at good Thai restaurants and my family loved it. I am from Louisiana originally so I am used to making good gumbos, jambalaya, etc., so learning how to make this is a nice treat and I can’t wait to make it more frequently. A lot less work than my gumbo from scratch. Thank you!

  4. There’s nothing ‘from scratch’ about this recipe. I was expecting the curry paste to be made from scratch but instead you’ve bought it, and then followed the instructions on the side.
    Really disappointed.

    1. I’ve linked to a homemade curry paste recipe for anyone interested in that step. And no, this definitely isn’t the recipe off the side of the can, as you’ll see if you compare the two (this ones much better!).

    2. You really could have just kept Googling for a recipe that meets your qualifications of “from scratch”…why post negativity in someone else’s space for absolutely no reason?

      I have the curry that she recommends and this is not the recipe on the side.

      To say that it’s not from scratch because she’s using a store bought curry paste is like saying that a recipe that uses any sort of store bought seasoning blend isn’t from scratch, which is nonsense.

    3. 5 stars
      Excellent! I waited to add the red peppers until I was almost ready to serve it. I also added some more veggies at the end (kale, carrots, snow peas and nappa). I added some shallots and jalapeños with the onions, garlic and ginger! My son (28 yr old) said it was every bit as good, if not better, as any Thai Restaurant he’ss been to!

    4. Hi Jazz,
      Your criticism seems to be undeserved here. I’ve been making Penang curry (many times making my own paste) for 30 years, and this recipe is spot on. It is nice to have curry paste in the pantry because the ingredients can be difficult to find in short order (like before dinner 😉). My preferred brand of curry paste is Maesri, there is no recipe on the side, and it is vegan. Maybe give it a try!

      Lauren, great recipe!

  5. Made it last night and it was awesome. I didn’t have the basil because I couldn’t find any so next time I’ll definitely add it. Added some leftover mushroom and fresh greens beans and doubled the Mae Ploy.

  6. 5 stars
    OMG when I tell you this was AMAZING! Restaurant quality! There aren’t any good Thai restaurants in my small town and I was always a little intimidated to try cooking it. I ordered the panang online but was able to get everything else locally. It wasn’t hard at all and I followed the recipe to a T. Absolutely FABULOUS!

  7. 4 stars
    So… this is such an INSANELY amazing recipe. I am pretty sure I followed it to a T, minus the lime (only bc I didn’t have any). I may have put in a tad more peanut butter too. ANYHOW… I just had to post and say how ON POINT this recipe is and how thankful I am for it. This will deff be a staple now. I must add, it is really important to get a good whole fat coconut milk…. it totally makes the recipe. Additionally, the onions fatten up the recipe and the cornstarch is a must too. I am about to make it again and am going to add in some zucchini and orange/yellow peppers…. some home-grown basil on top too… OMG can’t wait. THANK YOU! I am so thrilled… and so i my husband and I assume my co-workers are going to flip when I bring in lunch tomorrow 😉

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