Panang Curry Recipe Brings The Sweet And Spice To Dinner Time

Southern Thai panang curry with chicken, bell peppers, and just the right hit of spice will be your new favorite recipe. Thai cuisine is known for its aromatic curries, noodle dishes, and fragrant use of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. And nowhere do those ingredients shine more brightly than in panang curry. The origin of this dish is surrounded by debate and mystery, says food blogger and photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table.

Panang curry, which is also sometimes spelled phanaeng, was first recognized in Thai records in 1890 (via Deliveroo Foodscene). Most people attribute the origination of this scrumptious dish to Southern Thailand, on the island of Penang (via On The Gas).

This aromatic curry is a sweeter variation on Thai red curry. You will include a mixture of aromatic spices, coconut milk, and crushed peanuts (or in modern versions, peanut butter) to obtain a creamy, sweet sauce. Today, the curry can be made with chicken or beef, and even vegetarian versions can be found.

Whether you're already a fan, or this recipe will be a newfound favorite, one thing is for sure: Panang curry is sweet, spicy, and a wholly delicious way to enjoy Thai cooking.

Gather the ingredients to prepare panang curry

Our method for making panang curry is simple, and relies on using store-bought curry powder — panang curry paste, if you can find it, or the more common red curry paste, with a few flavorful additions. Panang curry paste can be found in many Asian markets, where you can also stock up on some of other needed supplies, including fish sauce, dried kaffir lime leaves, and Thai basil. (You can also use regular basil.)

The rest of our ingredients are fairly basic and can be found in any supermarket. You will need an onion, three bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange are traditionally used here), two pounds of chicken breasts, freshly grated ginger, garlic cloves, and fresh limes.

From the pantry, grab two cans of coconut milk, some unsweetened peanut butter or ground peanuts, brown sugar, and rice. Traditionally, sticky rice is served alongside panang curry, but we think jasmine or even long-grain rice would do just fine.

Gather and dice the ingredients

First off, you'll want to prep and measure out all the ingredients you'll need for making this curry.

Begin by slicing the chicken into ⅛-inch slices. Slice the bell peppers into strips of a similar size. Slice the onions into crescents. Finely dice or crush the garlic, and grate the ginger. Then, mince the basil. You want it cut into thin strips, or even roughly chopped small pieces.

To speed up the rest of the cooking process, it would help if you measure out the balance of the ingredients and have everything set up around your stovetop.

Sauté the onions and peppers in curry paste

To begin cooking panang curry, set up a large, heavy-bottomed pan or wok on medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil, and immediately add the curry paste, stirring it in with the oil as you cook. Sauté the curry paste in the oil, stirring often, until it becomes aromatic, about two minutes.

Add the sliced onions to the pan, stir them into the curry and cook until translucent, about two to three minutes. Then, add the bell peppers to the pan. Stir to combine, and cook them for another five minutes. The peppers should be a bit softened, but still retain their bite and firmness.

Add the chicken to the pan with the peppers and onions

Add the sliced chicken strips to the pan with the curry paste and the vegetables. Stir the chicken to combine, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink inside and browns slightly on the outside, about five minutes. The chicken should take on the pink-reddish hue of the panang curry paste. As the chicken cooks, occasionally stir the chicken and the vegetables together to prevent burning.

Add the minced garlic and ginger to the pan. Give everything a good stir, and cook for one minute. (Cooking the garlic longer can burn it.)

Add the remaining panang curry flavorings

With the curry paste, vegetables, and chicken all in the pan, it's now time to flavor your curry with all those things that make panang curry so special.

To the pan with the rest of the ingredients, add brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and crushed kaffir lime leaves. Crushing the leaves releases more flavor and aromas, and is quite important to the dish. There's no problem eating the leaves, so you don't have to worry about fishing the pieces out later on. Let the curry simmer for two minutes.

To the curry, add one whole can of coconut milk, and half of the remaining can. Whisk the peanut butter or crushed peanuts into the remaining half can of coconut milk, then add it to the pan.

Simmer the panang curry on medium heat until just warmed through, about two to three minutes. (You don't want to cook the curry for too long after adding the coconut milk, as it'll lose some of its sweetness.) Turn off the heat. Add ½ cup of diced basil, and stir it into the curry to combine.

Serve panang curry with rice, lime wedges, and additional hot sauce

After a simple time cooking in a pan, your panang curry is done! With just a few authentic ingredients, it's the perfect introduction to Thai cooking: sweet, flavorful, creamy, and aromatic, with just the right level of spice. And it couldn't have been easier to put together.

Serve panang curry with rice, topped with additional fresh basil and lime wedges on the side. We recommend pairing it with sticky rice or jasmine rice to really kick the fragrance of the dish up a few notches, but any white rice will do.

Panang curry will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for four days.

Panang Curry Recipe Brings The Sweet And Spice To Dinner Time
4.9 from 15 ratings
Panang curry with chicken, bell peppers, and just the right hit of spice will be your new favorite recipe.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
8
servings
serving of panang curry
Total time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, thinly sliced into ⅛-inch slices
  • 3 bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • ½ cup loosely packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 4 tablespoons panang curry paste or Thai red paste
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, crushed
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter or ground peanuts
  • rice, for serving
Optional Ingredients
  • more fresh basil, diced, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving
Directions
  1. Prep all the ingredients. Slice chicken into ⅛-inch slices. Slice bell peppers into strips of a similar size. Slice onions into crescents. Finely dice or crush the garlic, and grate the ginger. Mince fresh basil into thin strips or a fine dice.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, add the oil, and sauté the curry paste until aromatic, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, and cook until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken strips, and stir to combine. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and browns slightly on the outside, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Add 1 ½ cans of coconut milk. Whisk crushed peanuts or peanut butter into the remaining ½ can of coconut milk, then add to the pan.
  6. Simmer panang curry on medium heat until just warmed through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Add ½ cup of chopped basil, and stir to combine.
  7. Serve panang curry with rice, topped with additional fresh basil and lime wedges on the side.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 513
Total Fat 41.0 g
Saturated Fat 23.9 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 73.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 11.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Total Sugars 4.3 g
Sodium 247.4 mg
Protein 28.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe