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Curry is a whole delicious world, and one of its friendliest members is Panang Curry. Rich and slightly sweet, it’s peanuty, not-too-spicy, and excellent, whether you are looking for a starter curry or one to make an old favorite.

Panang curry chicken on a plate

Why You’ll Love This Chicken Panang Curry Recipe

  • Thai Flavor at Home. I am a long-time fan of Thai food (hello Shrimp Pad Thai!), an affinity that was solidified after Ben and I went to Thailand. Panang curry is very similar to red curry, but it is less spicy and has the addition of ground peanuts. Panang curry sauce is also thicker and sweeter than red curry.
  • Everyday Ingredients. Panang curry paste is what you’ll see in authentic panang curry recipes, but it is somewhat difficult to find in the U.S. Thus, I opted to make this curry with an easy-to-find red curry paste that I doctored with peanut butter, Worcestershire, and a pinch of sugar to mimic the distinct elements that make panang curry special.
  • Versatile. This panang curry is filled with vibrant vegetables and juicy chicken, but you can switch things up with any protein you like and whatever vegetables are in season.
Panang curry in a pot

5 Star Review

“Amazing! Super easy and tastes just like takeout.”

— Lauren —

How to Make Panang Curry

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. Tender chunks of chicken breast or chicken thighs stay moist and flavorful in the curry.
  • Thai Red Curry Paste. Red curry paste is responsible for much of this curry’s deep flavor. There is no substitute (just ask Massaman Curry). Fortunately it is very easy to find and most major grocery stores.
  • Vegetables. Carrots and red bell peppers add beautiful color, texture, and nutrition.
  • Light Coconut Milk. Helps make the curry creamy and flavorful.
  • Basil. If you can find Thai basil leaves, I recommend using it for this recipe. However, regular basil will work too.
  • Bamboo Shoots. Delightfully crunchy with a slightly sweet and earthy flavor. You’ll find them canned in the international food aisle or in your local Asian market.
  • Peanut Butter. For a touch of peanut butter flavor that also helps thicken the curry.
  • Soy Sauce + Fish Sauce. These staples of Asian cooking are bursting with umami goodness. If you need to make this recipe soy free, you can swap the soy sauce for coconut aminos or tamari.
  • Worcestershire. Another addition to the umami crew.
  • Coconut Sugar. Adds a touch of sweetness to balance the spice. If you don’t have coconut sugar on hand, brown sugar will work too.
  • Lime. Instead of kaffir lime leaves, which are in authentic recipes but harder to find, I used regular lime zest and lime juice

The Directions

Onion being cooked in a pot for Panang curry
  1. Cook the Onion. Sauté the onion in a Dutch oven, wok, large, deep, sturdy pot, or similar large skillet or large.
Onion being cooked in a pot
  1. Add the Curry Paste. Stir it in so it coats the onions.
Sauce in a pot
  1. Boil. Add the coconut milk and basil, then bring the mixture to a boil.
Red peppers being added to a pot
  1. Add the Veggies. Stir in the carrots and bell peppers.
Raw chicken being added to a pot
  1. Simmer. Add the chicken, bamboo shoots, peanut butter, fish sauce, Worcestershire, and sugar. Let simmer.
A pot with chicken, vegetables, and sauce
  1. Finish. Remove the panang curry from the heat, stirring in the lime zest and juice. Serve as desired and ENJOY!

Recipe Variations

  • Make It Vegetarian. Omit the Worcestershire and fish sauce (or use vegan fish sauce or Worcestershire), then add Crispy Tofu, Air Fryer Tofu, or a can of chickpeas like in this Coconut Curry.
  • Make It Richer. If you prefer a thicker, more decadent curry, you can use one can of light coconut milk (or add coconut cream) and one can of regular coconut milk.
Panang curry chicken on a plate

What to Serve with Panang Curry

  • Rice. The classic choice! Brown rice, white rice, Instant Pot Brown Rice, or cauliflower rice if you want to keep it low(er) carb.
  • Other Grains. Quinoa is fabulous with curry.
  • Noodles. Rice noodles or wide egg noodles are both delish with panang curry.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use a Big Pot. You need ample room to be able to stir the curry without it overflowing onto the stove. I like to use a Dutch oven.
  • Make the Most of Leftovers. Pile leftover panang chicken curry and white rice (if you please) into a wrap for an Asian Chicken Wraps-inspired option or lettuce leaf for a Lettuce Wraps-inspired option.
  • Add Some Heat. Panang curry isn’t particularly spicy, so if you prefer yours hotter, I suggest adding red pepper flakes or more red curry paste.
Panang curry on a plate with rice and peanuts

Panang Curry

4.86 from 7 votes
Panang curry is sweet, thick, and delish, with lots of veggies and tender chicken. Add your fave protein to make this easy recipe your own!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and cut into ¼-inch coins
  • 2 red bell peppers sliced into thin strips
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans light coconut milk for a more decadent curry, use one can regular and one can light
  • 2 large leafy sprigs Thai basil or regular basil plus additional leaves for serving
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite-sized pieces or swap 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • 1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots drained
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or additional low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce omit to make vegetarian
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 medium limes zest and juice, divided (about 1 ½ teaspoons zest and ¼ cup juice)
  • Cooked brown rice or cauliflower rice or quinoa for serving
  • Chopped unsalted roasted peanuts for serving

Instructions
 

  • In a Dutch oven or similar large, deep, sturdy pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is softened and turning translucent, about 5 minutes
  • Add the red curry paste and stir very quickly to coat the onion.
  • Add the coconut milk and basil and bring to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring periodically, until somewhat thickened, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the carrot and bell peppers. Boil and stir for 5 minutes more.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken, bamboo shoots, peanut butter, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and coconut sugar. Simmer, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat. Stir in the lime zest and juice. Serve hot with rice and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts and basil.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm curry in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6), without rice or peanutsCalories: 371kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 28gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgPotassium: 766mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 7606IUVitamin C: 63mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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16 Comments

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  1. Will try this without the fish sauce and with tofu or tempeh rather than chicken to make it vegan. Thanks!4 stars

    1. Hi Arden! I’m sorry you are having trouble finding the recipe. It is located right above where you commented, in the recipe card. You can always click the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the post to help you get there. Could you please check again?

  2. Amazing! Super easy and tastes just like takeout. I recommend an authentic curry paste.
    Will make on a regular basis!5 stars

  3. We enjoyed many Thai dishes but I had never made a curry dish. This tasted just like when you order it out. Very simple. Once you get everything chopped and prepped it comes together quickly.5 stars

  4. My first time making Thai curry. I am so glad this recipe popped up! It was simple to make and was so delicious! I did add an extra tablespoon of curry paste and extra lime juice; it was perfect! Thanks for the recipe! I will definitely be making it again.5 stars

  5. This was beautiful and I loved the addition of Thai basil! The spices and flavors were delectable and were exactly as I had remembered from the Thai restaurant that we went to.5 stars