Dinner/ Recipes

Authentic Panang Curry Paste Recipe

10/11/2015 (Last Updated: 25/10/2019)

Learn how to make this Authentic Panang Curry Paste recipe from scratch. Full of fragrant herbs and warm toasted spices, it’s surprisingly easy to whip up a big batch of fresh curry paste made just the way you like it. Store in your freezer and it will be ready for your next curry cooking adventure. 

Why Make Panang Curry Paste From Scratch?

Okay we admit, pounding away at the mortar and pestle does take a little more effort than unscrewing the lid off a jar – about 40 minutes worth if we’re honest. But trust us. You need this in your life. It’s the curry therapy you’ve been waiting for. But despite the ‘effort’, it’s actually really easy to make your very own Authentic Panang Curry Paste at home. 

(Oooh here’s an idea! Why not throw a curry party, and make your friends earn their dinner? Make enough, and everyone can take home a portion!)

Real authentic homemade curry pastes are so much better because:

  • You control what you put in – real ingredients, fresh herbs and spices make all the difference. Pre-made pastes will always be inferior, requiring stabilisers and sometimes preservatives to made them last on the shelves.
  • You control the spice – love the heat? Up the chillis! Be sure to throw in a few extra colourful birds eye chillis for that kick you’ve been waiting for. But if you don’t want to risk a burnt tongue, play it cool and tone it down. So simple!
  • You can make up a big batch and store for later use – just place your paste in ice cube trays, seal up in a plastic bag and freeze overnight. The next day, pop your frozen curry cubes into an airtight container and store in the freezer. 


Toasting spices in a steel pan.
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Hand gripping a mortar and pestle, with thumb pressing on top for stability.

What You’ll Need

Spices

Other Ingredients

How to Make Authentic Panang Curry

  • Slice the top off large and small chillis and remove the seeds. Slice into small rings and soak in water for 40 mins to soften. Drain and squeeze out all the liquid (use gloves to avoid a nasty surprise later on!). Chop finely and set aside.
  • Gently toast all spices over a medium heat, starting with the biggest (ie star anise) and gradually adding in the others through to the smallest (ie coriander seeds).
  • Add the chillis and remaining ingredients in the mortar and pestle – in sequence as per the ingredients list – so that the most fibrous ingredients are added first. This will help you to achieve a smooth consistency. Use a spoon to scrape the ingredients from the side of the mortar and pestle down to the centre well as you go.
  • Finally add the spice powder and continue to pound until you obtain a smooth paste.

One taste of that fragrant, spicy, peanut-y goodness, you’ll never want to buy a pre-made sauce again.

FAQs

Is panang curry paste gluten free?

Yes. When made from scratch with fresh ingredients, panang curry paste is gluten free.

Is panang curry vegan?

This authentic panang curry recipe is not vegan as it includes shrimp paste. However, if you substitute shrimp paste with 1 tsp of salt you can make a vegan version. 

How to store homemade curry paste? 

Place paste in ice cube trays, seal up in a plastic bag and freeze overnight. The next day, pop out the cubes and place in an airtight container.

How long does panang curry paste last?

Homemade curry paste will last up to 6 months in the freezer (or up to about two weeks in the fridge).

Dried red chillis in a mortar and pestle surrounded by other panang curry ingredients on a wooden chopping board.

Tips

Noi at the Time for Lime cooking class shared his favourite panang curry tips so you can whip up this batch of Authentic Panang Curry Paste like a pro. As a previous guesthouse and restaurant manager, and recipe-writer for the Chiang Mai Mail, Noi really knows his stuff.

  • Toast your spices before grinding to release all their fragrant potential. Start with the biggest, like star anise and cinnamon, then work your way through to the smallest.
  • Chop all your fresh herbs and chillis as finely as possible before popping them in the mortar and pestle. That way you’ll end up with a creamy smooth-textured paste at the end.
  • Place your mortar on the floor and sit cross legged beside it. Yep! This will give you maximum power and assistance from gravity. Grab your pestle and hold it with your thumb pressed on the top. Then bang away, letting the pestle fall with a flick of your wrist. You actually need less effort here than you think – just let gravity do all the work for you! Meanwhile use a spoon to scoop the ingredients back down into the centre well of the mortar. 

Variations & Substitutes

  • Fresh galangal can sometimes be hard to source, so feel free to substitute with ginger
  • Substitute kaffir lime rind with regular lime or lemon
  • If you can’t source fresh coriander root, a good substitute is to use 2x fresh coriander stems 
  • Shrimp paste can be substituted with anchovy paste (or 1 tsp of salt for a vegan paste)

Have you ever made your own curry paste before? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments below, or on facebook or instagram. Your feedback means the world to us. 🙂

 

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Crushed chillis in a mortar and pestle, with other panang curry paste ingredients on a wooden board.

Authentic Panang Curry Paste

Learn how to make Authentic Panang Curry Paste from scratch. Full of fragrant herbs and warm toasted spices, it's surprisingly easy to whip up a big batch of fresh curry paste made just the way you like it. Store in your freezer and it will be ready for your next curry cooking adventure. 
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Base
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 1 jar
Calories: 756kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15

Ingredients

Spices

  • 2 star anise
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 white cardamom pods shells removed - or substitute with regular cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds

Other Ingredients

  • 3 stems lemongrass finely sliced - or substitute with 3 tbsp jarred/sliced lemongrass
  • 2.5 cm fresh galangal  or substitute with ginger root
  • 2 tsp kaffir lime fruit rind finely chopped -  or substitute with lemon or lime rind
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves finely sliced - or substitute with dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 10 large dried red chillis soaked as per below
  • 10 dried red thai chillis soaked as per below
  • 4 coriander roots chopped - or substitute with 2x fresh coriander stems
  • 5 tbsp unsalted roasted crushed peanuts
  • 5 thai shallots finely chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thai shrimp paste or substitute with anchovy paste (or 1 tsp salt for a vegan curry paste)

Instructions

  • Slice the top off large and small chillis and remove the seeds. Slice into small rings and soak in water for 40 mins to soften. Drain and squeeze out all the liquid (use gloves to avoid a nasty surprise later on!). Chop finely and set aside.
  • Gently toast all spices over a medium heat, starting with the biggest (ie star anise) and gradually adding in the others through to the smallest (ie coriander seeds).
  • Place the spices in a stone mortar and pestle, grind into a fine powder, then set aside.
  • Add the chillis and remaining ingredients in the mortar and pestle - in sequence as per the ingredients list - so that the most fibrous ingredients are added first. This will help you to achieve a smooth consistency. Use a spoon to scrape the ingredients from the side of the mortar and pestle down to the centre well as you go.
  • Finally add the spice powder and continue to pound until you obtain a smooth paste.

Notes

FAQs

  • Is panang curry paste gluten free? Yes. When made from scratch with fresh ingredients, panang curry paste is gluten free.
  • Is panang curry vegan? This traditional panang curry recipe is not vegan as it includes shrimp paste. However, if you substitute shrimp paste with 1 tsp of salt you can make a vegan version. 
  • How to store homemade curry paste? Place paste in ice cube trays, seal up in a plastic bag and freeze overnight. The next day, pop out the cubes and place in an airtight container.
  • How long does panang curry paste last? This Authentic Panang Curry Paste will last up to 6 months in the freezer (or up to about two weeks in the fridge).
 

Tips

Noi at the Time for Lime cooking class shared his favourite panang curry tips so you can whip up this batch of Authentic Panang Curry Paste like a pro. As a previous guesthouse and restaurant manager, and recipe-writer for the Chiang Mai Mail, Noi really knows his stuff.
  • Toast your spices before grinding to release all their fragrant potential. Start with the biggest, like star anise and cinnamon, then work your way through to the smallest.
  • Chop all your fresh herbs and chillis as finely as possible before popping them in the mortar and pestle. That way you’ll end up with a creamy smooth-textured paste at the end.
  • Place your mortar on the floor and sit cross legged beside it. Yep! This will give you maximum power and assistance from gravity. Grab your pestle and hold it with your thumb pressed on the top. Then bang away, letting the pestle fall with a flick of your wrist. You actually need less effort here than you think - just let gravity do all the work for you! Meanwhile use a spoon to scoop the ingredients back down into the centre well of the mortar. 
 

Variations & Substitutes

  • Fresh galangal can sometimes be hard to source, so feel free to substitute with ginger
  • Substitute kaffir lime rind with regular lime or lemon
  • If you can't source fresh coriander root, a good substitute is to use fresh coriander stems (and double the amount)
  • Shrimp paste can be substituted with anchovy paste or 1 tsp of salt
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 10g | Calories: 756kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 342mg | Sodium: 1462mg | Potassium: 1910mg | Fiber: 27g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 2425IU | Vitamin C: 104mg | Calcium: 612mg | Iron: 22mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks

 

Authentic Panang Curry Paste - Noi from Chang Mai taught us the freshest, easiest, TASTIEST way to your very own Thai curry paste that you can freeze, so it's on hand when you need. | wandercooks.com

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Nikki
    17/10/2019 at 4:37 pm

    I love the recipe. Can I know which mortar pestle you are using? I have been looking for a large-sized one for a long time.

  • Reply
    Alison
    02/08/2019 at 7:33 pm

    Yum! I love curry! I made the vegan version of this and it turned out great!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/08/2019 at 5:06 pm

      That’s awesome Alison, thanks for trying it!

  • Reply
    Tatiana
    02/08/2019 at 4:38 pm

    This recipe is SPECTACULAR!! It’s healthy, easy, and captures the flavors of Thai food in a way I haven’t encountered in most recipes. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/08/2019 at 5:06 pm

      Aww thanks Tatiana, means a lot. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply
    Dannii
    02/08/2019 at 3:57 pm

    You can’t beat homemamde curry paste. It just saves so much money too!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/08/2019 at 5:07 pm

      I knoooow, it’s so fun too!

  • Reply
    Natalie
    02/08/2019 at 3:10 pm

    Looks and sounds so delicious and authentic – can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/08/2019 at 5:07 pm

      So much flavour!

  • Reply
    Kelly Anthony
    02/08/2019 at 12:46 pm

    I love your idea of curry therapy and making a big batch to freeze for later. Such a great idea and everybody needs to a little curry therapy once in a while.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/08/2019 at 5:07 pm

      Totally agree haha, it’s a great way to use up some energy after a frustrating day and put it to delicious use!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    20/05/2019 at 4:57 am

    Hello, for the 10 large dried red chillis soaked as per below, what is a large chilli? Is it like 10 large chilli de Arbol cause that seems like a lot. Do you have a measurement in grams?
    For the 10 dried red birds eye chillis medium spice level soaked as per below I can only find dried powder and it’s extremely hot. Can you find these at a Thai market and it says medium heat? Do you know what brand you use for both chillis? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      20/05/2019 at 7:42 pm

      Hey Kelly – the chilli used can be completely up to the cook! We get ours from the Asian grocer for both the large chillis and dried bird’s eye. The label on our large chilli literally just says “dried large chilli”. The size is about 10cm long or more. The large chilli pack’s more flavour than heat, but you can put in less if you don’t want it too hot. Same with the bird’s eye chilli – put in as many or as little as you like. It’s up to the individual. You can replace dried and soaked bird’s eye chilli with – the rule of thumb is 1 bird’s eye chilli = 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Lee
    06/01/2017 at 4:35 am

    Hi, thanks for the recipe but where is the shrimp paste and nuts used in making the paste? There listed in the ingredients needed but they are not mentioned in the recipe

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/01/2017 at 9:00 am

      Hey Lee, thanks for getting in touch! When assembling all the ingredients in the mortar and pestle add them in the same order as per the ingredients list. I’ve updated the recipe to make this a little clearer. Best of luck and enjoy your freshly made curry paste! 🙂

  • Reply
    Linz
    04/05/2016 at 9:55 am

    What exactly is coriander root? Where can you find it and can you substitute coriander powder? Also, where did you find kaffir lime leaves and the rind, were they dried? I’ve never seen them in grocery stores here in the states?

    Thanks for posting, can’t wait to try it! 🙂

    Btw, some of the tips are the same things my South Indian mom would do when making masala for a curry!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      04/05/2016 at 10:28 am

      That’s awesome Linz! Great to hear your mum has the same tips – they’re great aren’t they! Thanks for getting in touch.

      We’ve had a browse around the web and you can use coriander powder, or you can even get cheap coriander root powder on Amazon here – Coriander Root Powder and the Kaffir Lime Leaves here – Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves . For the actual fruit, we only JUST found them where we live in a little Asian grocer – so we suggest trying one of those first, and if you can’t find them, regular lime rind will substitute fine.

      Let us know how you go sourcing the ingredients and if you need any other help. 🙂

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