Panang Curry is a standout dish in Thai cuisine, celebrated for its creamy texture and mild spice. Ready in just 30 minutes, this easy-to-make recipe combines freshly ground Panang curry paste with coconut milk and aromatic herbs, creating a burst of unique flavors.
Its slightly sweet profile, enhanced by the distinct tastes of galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai basil, pairs perfectly with rice or noodles. A popular choice in Thai restaurants globally, Panang Curry offers an authentic taste of Thailand's culinary richness.
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How to Make Panang Curry Paste?
To make Panang Curry Paste from scratch, you'll need fresh ingredients that might require a trip to a specialty store. Here's a simple step-by-step guide:
- 7 dried spur chilies (remove seeds for less heat)
- 2 stalks of lemongrass (use only the bottom part, discarding the leaves)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh galangal
- 1 small shallot
- 2 coriander roots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ tsp finely grated Kaffir lime zest
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- ½ tsp whole cumin seeds
- 2 tsp roasted peanuts
- ½ tsp peppercorns
- ½ piece of whole nutmeg
- 2 tsp whole coriander seeds
- Soak the chilies in hot water until softened. Once cool, pound them to a smooth consistency.
- Gradually add the remaining ingredients, pounding each until you achieve a smooth paste.
- For convenience, you can also blend the ingredients in a blender.
This recipe yields about half a cup of paste, which can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to a week. While pounding traditionally offers a fresher taste, blending is a quicker alternative.
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Ingredients and Substitutions Overview
For this Panang Curry, you'll find most ingredients at your local Asian grocery store. If something's not in stock, online stores are a great alternative for sourcing these items.
- Panang Curry Paste: The heart of the dish, you can either whip up your own using my recipe or grab a ready-made one from the store.
- Chicken and Veggies: I typically go for chicken breast and bell peppers, but feel free to mix it up with your favorite veggies or even some seafood.
- Coconut Milk: This is what gives the curry its dreamy, creamy sweetness.
- Fish Sauce and Peanut Sauce: A splash of these brings that unmistakable, authentic flavor to your curry.
- Herbs: A final flourish of Kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil really brings the dish to life. And don't worry if you can't find lime leaves – the store-bought paste usually includes them, so you'll still get that lovely zesty flavor.
How to Make Panang Curry?
Dive into the flavors of Thailand with this Panang Curry recipe! Follow my step-by-step photos and video to easily bring this authentic Thai dish to your table. Let's begin:
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- 1¼ lb Chicken, boneless
- ¼ cup Onion, chopped
- ¼ cup Green Bell Pepper
- ¼ cup Red Bell Pepper
- ¼ cup Yellow Bell Pepper
- 1 tbsp Galangal, chopped
- ¼ cup Panang Curry Paste
- 1 tsp Peanut Sauce
- 1 tsp Fish Sauce
- 2 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- ¼ cup Oil
- ¼ cup Thai Basil Leaves
To Prepare Panang Curry
- Start by heating oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté onion and galangal until they become soft and fragrant.
- Add in the Panang curry paste, stirring until its raw scent diminishes.
- Mix in a teaspoon of peanut sauce for an extra flavor kick.
- Toss in the green, red, and yellow peppers, giving everything a good stir to combine.
- Now, add the chicken pieces and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat the chicken well.
- Cover the pan and let the chicken simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Uncover and pour in the coconut milk, and let the curry gently boil for another 5 to 10 minutes.
- Next, add the fish sauce and brown sugar, blending them into the curry.
- Finish off by garnishing with Thai basil leaves, then turn off the flame. Your delicious Panang curry with chicken is ready to be served and savored!
- Enjoy this Panang Curry alongside a bowl of fluffy white rice and your choice of side dishes for a complete and satisfying meal.
Chef's Notes and Tips
Key Tips for Panang Curry:
- Curry Paste: Choose your adventure with the curry paste – go traditional with my homemade recipe or keep it simple with a store-bought option. Each brings its unique touch to the curry.
- Coconut Milk Magic: It's all about coconut milk for that irresistibly creamy texture and a hint of sweetness that balances the spices.
- Protein and Veggies: This curry welcomes all – chicken for the classic take, shrimp for a seafood spin, tofu for a plant-based twist, or an array of vegetables to pack in the greens.
- Flavor Trio: The combination of peanut sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar isn't just good, it's essential. They're the secret behind that authentic, mouth-watering taste.
- Salt Watch: The sauces and curry paste bring their own zest, so keep the salt shaker at bay to strike the perfect balance.
- Fish Sauce: If the smell of fish sauce isn't for you, feel free to skip it. Just know that it's a key ingredient in traditional Panang Curry, adding a unique flavor. Your curry will still taste great without it.
Variations to Spice Things Up:
- Vegetarian Delight: Load up on veggies – the more, the merrier. They add color, nutrition, and absorb all the flavors wonderfully.
- Vegan Variations: For a vegan delight, switch to a plant-based curry paste. Tofu and an assortment of veggies not only add substance but also soak up the rich flavors beautifully.
- Red Curry Twist: No Panang paste? No problem. Thai red curry paste is a fantastic stand-in and brings a similar depth and warmth to the dish.
- Seafood Surprise: For those who fancy a bit of the ocean's bounty, swapping in shrimp can transform the curry into a delightful seafood feast.
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Pair this flavorful curry with a variety of rice options like aromatic jasmine, classic white, or nutritious brown rice. It also goes wonderfully over noodles, making a satisfying and delightful meal for either lunch or dinner.
Enjoy this Panang Curry fresh and warm for the best taste. If you have leftovers, they'll keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze the curry for up to 2 months. Just use freezer-friendly containers for individual portions and thaw them properly before reheating.