Asian Recipes/ Curry/ Dinner/ Recipes

Quick Thai Chicken Panang Curry

28/10/2021

An easy weeknight curry recipe to add to your repertoire – Thai Chicken Panang Curry will set your taste buds on fire! Full of creamy coconut milk and rich flavour from Panang Curry Paste that’s on the table in 20 minutes.

Large bowl of Thai chicken Panang curry with mukrut leaves.

Why We Love This

We love the depth of flavour in this Panang chicken curry! Like all good homemade curries, it’s easy to adapt to your preference. Control the heat by using less curry paste or adding more coconut milk to tone it down, or add extra chillies to really fire it up!

It’s so easy to make on a weeknight – get it cooked and on the table in around 20 minutes.

Chicken panang curry also freezes really well, so why not make a big batch on the weekend and freeze for easy lunches or dinners when you need them most.

Thinly sliced lime leaves and chilli are topped on a bowl of Panang curry.

What is Panang Curry? 

Thai panang curry (also written as penang, phanang or phanaeng) is said to have originated in central Thailand, with some influences from Indian and Khmer cuisines. 

Panang curry flavours are like a combination of red curry and peanut satay blended together. The panang curry paste includes a few classic Thai ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, shrimp paste and makrut / kaffir lime, which along with the crushed peanuts, give it a unique flavour compared to other curries. 

Panang sauce is traditionally thicker than other curries and is usually cooked with meat – such as beef, chicken or duck – no vegetables. (Although you can totally add them in if you want to!) 

Fun Fact: The curry paste already includes shallots, so no need to add extra onion to the dish.

What You’ll Need

  • Chicken – Thighs or breast, it’s up to you! You can also make this curry with beef, pork, duck, seafood or tofu. 
  • Panang Curry Paste – Store bought paste is totally fine, but for the best flavour we highly recommend making your own homemade panang curry paste! Sub with regular red or green curry paste for different flavour profiles. If you do, you can also add some peanut butter to the mix for an earthier, nutty flavour. Best brands are Maesri, Mae Ploy and Aroy-D.
  • Coconut Milk – Sub with coconut cream for a thicker curry sauce. 
  • Makrut / Kaffir Lime Leaves – Fresh leaves are best for this recipe. You can also find them dried, frozen or in a jar at Asian and local supermarkets. Sub with the zest of one lime. They may be labelled as kaffir lime, makrut or Thai lime leaves. The best name to use is makrut.
  • Fish Sauce –  This staple Asian ingredient has a strong smell in the bottle, but is perfect for adding savoury flavour to your cooking. You’ll find it at Asian grocers or in well-stocked supermarkets in the international foods section, or online. If you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, substitute with soy sauce or leave it out.
  • Palm Sugar – Use this to add a rich, caramelised sweetness to the sauce. Sub with raw sugar or brown sugar if you need.
  • To Serve – Serve over freshly cooked jasmine, basmati, sticky rice or long grain rice. Optional garnish with shredded makrut / kaffir lime leaves and thinly sliced chilli.
Ingredients laid out to make Thai Panang Curry.

How to make Chicken Panang Curry:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the panang curry paste and torn kaffir lime leaves. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Throw in the chicken pieces, making sure to coat them well. Fry until mostly cooked through, around 5 minutes.
  1. Pour in the coconut milk and stir well. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the sauce to thicken and reduce slightly for another 8-10 minutes.
  2. Switch off the heat and stir through the palm sugar and fish sauce. Once the sugar has dissolved, serve immediately with optional fluffy white rice and garnishes.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Turn Off the Heat – Make sure to turn off the heat before adding the palm sugar and fish sauce. 
  • Storage – Panang curry will last for 2-3 days in the fridge in an airtight container, otherwise you can freeze it for 2-3 months. Store rice separately from the curry for best results.

FAQs

What is the difference between panang curry and red curry?

While panang curry and red curry pastes both have a rich red colour, there are a couple of key differences:
1) The inclusion of crushed peanuts in the paste gives panang curry a richer, nuttier and earthier flavour than red curry paste. 
2) Where red curries often include stock as a liquid in the sauce, panang is usually only cooked with coconut milk, helping the sauce to stay much thicker than other curries.

What goes well with this curry?

Rice is the perfect accompaniment to panang curry, as it soaks up all the flavours really well. You could serve it as part of a Thai feast with some yummy entrees like pandan chicken, crispy Thai spring rolls or miang kham salad bites!

Variations

  • Vegetables – While this dish doesn’t traditionally include vegetables – feel free to use up what’s in your fridge! It goes great with capsicum / bell peppers, carrot and broccoli. You can even add pumpkin or butternut squash. Small Thai eggplants are a delicious option too if you can source them!
  • Garnish Ideas – Top the finished dish with a sprinkling of fried shallots and/or a sprig of Thai basil leaves.
  • Similar Flavours – If you love the flavour of Panang curry, you’ll love our Thai choo chee chicken curry and our Indonesian Gado Gado dishes!
Bowl of Chicken Thai Panang Curry with utensils and rice in the background.

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

Bowl of Chicken Panang Curry topped with chilli and mukrut leaves.

Quick Thai Chicken Panang Curry

An easy weeknight curry recipe to add to your repertoire – Thai Chicken Panang Curry will set your taste buds on fire! Full of creamy coconut milk and rich flavour from Panang Curry Paste that's on the table in 20 minutes.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 4 Serves
Calories: 1053kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Equipment

Ingredients

Optional:

Instructions

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the panang curry paste and torn kaffir lime leaves. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
    100 g Panang curry paste, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 8 Thai makrut / kaffir lime leaves
  • Throw in the chicken pieces, making sure to coat them well. Fry until mostly cooked through, around 5 minutes.
    500 g chicken
  • Pour in the coconut milk and stir well. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the sauce to thicken and reduce slightly for another 8-10 minutes.
    400 g coconut milk
  • Switch off the heat and stir through the palm sugar and fish sauce. Once the sugar has dissolved, serve immediately with optional fluffy white rice and garnishes.
    1 ½ tbsp fish sauce, 1 ½ tbsp palm sugar, 4 cups jasmine rice, 2 Thai makrut / kaffir lime leaves, 1 long red chilli

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Chicken – Use thighs or breast. Sub with beef, pork, duck, seafood or tofu. 
  • Panang Curry Paste – For best flavour make your own homemade panang curry paste! For store bought, best brands are Maesri, Mae Ploy and Aroy-D. Sub with regular red or green curry paste for different flavour profiles. If you do, you can also add some peanut butter to the mix for an earthier, nutty flavour. 
  • Coconut Milk – Sub with coconut cream for a thicker curry sauce. 
  • Makrut / Kaffir Lime Leaves – Fresh leaves are best for this recipe. You can also find them dried, frozen or in a jar at Asian and local supermarkets. Sub with the zest of one lime. They may be labelled as kaffir lime, makrut or Thai lime leaves. The best name to use is makrut.
  • Fish Sauce –  You’ll find it at Asian grocers or in well-stocked supermarkets in the international foods section, or online. If you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, substitute with soy sauce or leave it out.
  • Palm Sugar – Sub with raw sugar or brown sugar if you need.
  • Turn Off the Heat – Make sure to turn off the heat before adding the palm sugar and fish sauce. 
  • Storage – Panang curry will last for 2-3 days in the fridge in an airtight container, otherwise you can freeze it for 2-3 months. Store rice separately from the curry for best results.
  • Vegetables – While this dish doesn’t traditionally include vegetables – feel free to use up what’s in your fridge! It goes great with capsicum / bell peppers, carrot and broccoli. You can even add pumpkin or butternut squash. Small Thai eggplants are a delicious option too if you can source them!
  • Garnish Ideas – Top the finished dish with a sprinkling of fried shallots and/or a sprig of Thai basil leaves.
  • Similar Flavours – If you love the flavour of Panang curry, you’ll love our Thai choo chee chicken curry and our Indonesian Gado Gado dishes!

    Nutrition

    Nutrition Facts
    Quick Thai Chicken Panang Curry
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
    1053
    % Daily Value*
    Fat
     
    33
    g
    51
    %
    Saturated Fat
     
    23
    g
    144
    %
    Trans Fat
     
    1
    g
    Polyunsaturated Fat
     
    3
    g
    Monounsaturated Fat
     
    6
    g
    Cholesterol
     
    45
    mg
    15
    %
    Sodium
     
    605
    mg
    26
    %
    Potassium
     
    602
    mg
    17
    %
    Carbohydrates
     
    158
    g
    53
    %
    Fiber
     
    4
    g
    17
    %
    Sugar
     
    6
    g
    7
    %
    Protein
     
    27
    g
    54
    %
    Vitamin A
     
    4129
    IU
    83
    %
    Vitamin C
     
    20
    mg
    24
    %
    Calcium
     
    116
    mg
    12
    %
    Iron
     
    6
    mg
    33
    %
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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    Quick Thai Chicken Panang Curry

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