Chicken Panang Curry

NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

Like I had mentioned in my Panang curry paste recipe, Panang (also spelled พะแนง, Penang and Phanaeng) curry is a mild Thai curry that gets its name from the Malaysian island of Penang. It is similar to Thai red curry but is richer and creamier, and typically uses crushed peanuts as a major part of the dish (I personally use cashews). It is often served with beef, pork, chicken or shrimp in Thai restaurants in the United States, although beef is the traditional meat used in this dish. We love to make this curry with all of these meats, but typically we use chicken for its taste and texture.

You’ll Need:
2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
1 can Maesri Panang paste or 2 heaping tbsp homemade Panang curry paste
2 tsp coconut oil
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
10 Thai basil leaves
1 tsp fish sauce
optional: Thai chili peppers to taste

In a skillet, heat the oil on medium heat for a couple minutes, then add the curry paste, stirring together. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, until aromatic.

Add 1/3 of the can of coconut milk and sauté, stirring together, for another two minutes.

Add the chicken and another 1/3 of the can of coconut milk, stirring together. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to med/low. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through. Should take 8-10 minutes.

As the chicken is cooking, chop your cashews and set them aside.

Add the chopped cashews, Thai basil leaves, fish sauce, and the remaining 1/3 can coconut milk. This is also a good time to add some crushed Thai chiles if you’re looking to spice up the dish. Raise the heat to medium and simmer for another few minutes, until the leaves are soft and slightly darkened.

That’s it! Serve with cauliflower rice or sticky rice.

Printer-friendly version
Printer-friendly version (paste + curry combined)

49 thoughts on “Chicken Panang Curry

  1. I am so excited to see this recipe! Panang Curry was one of my pre-Paleo favorites. I just got a 12-pack of coconut milk from Amazon but am a little bored of the same old red curry all the time. Your recipe looks pretty simple and delicious- can’t wait to try.


  2. Made this tonight using Mae Ploy Panang Curry paste. It was good, but I felt like it needed a bit of acid, perhaps a squirt of lime, to cut through the heavy flavors. Thanks for the recipe!


  3. This had some nice flavor, but mine was SO watery. I use a coconut milk that’s only coconut and water and wonder if that has anything to do with it? It definitely was delicious though just didn’t look the same :) Next time I’ll def try adding peppers, etc to beef it up a bit. Thanks!


    1. That is exactly what I did today. I added green, red and yellow peppersalong with sliced onions. This recipe is amazing. Ive made a few times and imnot tired of it. Very flavorful!!


  4. I went to the store in an attempt to follow your recipe…and no panang paste at all, nor the ingredients to make it from scratch. Luckily, this Central Market just so happens to employ a woman from Thailand who is an excellent cook. After chatting with her, I bought the Mae Ploy red curry paste and added the cumin, coriander & cardamom as most everything else was in the red paste. She also suggested to add some tamarind pulp – I added about 2 tsp and that was a great addition! I also used about half coconut milk and half homemade chicken bone broth – always looking for opportunities to add bone broth in things for the health benefits! So, it ended up being “inspired by” your recipe…but thanks! it was delicious! Look forward to trying other things from your site & book :)


  5. Hi Russ. Wow. So I just found out I have a sensitivity to coconut. And I think more than the fact that I have to stop using coconut oil and coconut flour (and I’m on SCD) for a while, I’m more depressed that I won’t be able to eat this for 3 months minimum. Seriously. It is that good. And my 4-year-old likes it, too! Thanks for the awesome recipe. I am loving your blog and hoping to get your cookbook soon, when I’m back to eating more than chicken soup again.


    1. Oops sorry- just spotted that above! I tried it out on my husband and I and it was absolutely amazing, the best thai curry i have ever been able to make. Thank you so much!


      1. I seemed to have been roped into making it for 9 people…! How would you advise doing this, 3 desperate batches or all in one big pot? I’m just worried if I try making it all in one big pot that I won’t be able to get the consistency right….. Pls help!’ Thanks :)


          1. Thank you! I love the consistency of this recipie :-) if I am scaling up by 3 which means tripling all ingredients by 3, then when your recipie calls for 1/3 of the coconut milk should I add a whole tin? And for each 1/3 thereafter another tin? My only worry was that it wouldn’t thicken up an May do too watery…. Sorry for what are probably stupid questions- it’s my first ever dinner party and to say I’m nervous is an understatement! :-)


          2. These are great questions – yes, I would add a whole can of milk, then the second can, and I would play it by eat with the third can to get the thickness you want. That last 1/3 of coconut milk is more for color and freshness anyway, so you don’t need all of it. Hope that helps!


          3. That is so helpful, thank u! I am going to make up the paste according to your recipie and will use the whole batch to serve the 9 people. Fingers crossed! And thanks for taking time to help, I really appreciate it :-)


  6. Russ Russ Russ! This was insanely good! My husband & kids (not quite the curry-phile that I am) raved about this recipe. I wished I had doubled it for leftovers. Or tripled it for leftovers. Or quadrupled it to bathe in. (Not really, that would be a sad waste of curry…)


  7. Panang is my favorite Thai curry and i have tried and failed to make it in the past but no more !! This recipe is ridiculously easy and yet delivers restaurant quality flavor, absolutely delicious !!! I added the chillis and some fresh kaffir lime leaves, superb ! Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes ! Cheers Russ

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Made this with pork this past weekend. Very easy recipe to follow and make. Will definitely be stocking up on the panang paste. We added snow peas at the end and one of us had it with rice and one without and it was still a filling meal.


  9. I love this recipe and have used it many times over the past 3 years. Friends never fail to compliment this dish and it’s so easy!!


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