chicken panang curry

Easy, Super Quick Chicken Panang Curry

This Chicken Panang Curry recipe is super easy to make and can be on the table in under 20 minutes. A staple of Thai cuisine, Panang curry is hot, spicy, sweet and beautifully creamy. It’s mega adaptable and you can swap out protein, add vegetables and adapt it to what you’ve got at home!

Use Store Bought Panang Curry Paste

An authentic Panang curry takes a lot of effort and whilst making a home made curry paste will always give better results, sometimes it’s just not viable. I use shop bought curry paste to really speed up the process.

I prefer to use Cock Brand curry paste – it’s got a moderate heat and plenty of flavour and umami from the shrimp paste.

chicken panang curry paste

You can also use Aroy-D and Mae Ploy pastes as I’ve found these to be just as good!

Tip: To avoid adding excess fat to your curry, take the solid part of your coconut milk and add it to a pan. On a medium-high heat, the water will evaporate leaving just the coconut fat. Fry your paste in the oil just like they do in Thailand.

What You’ll Need

To make Chicken Panang Curry, you’ll need:

chicken Penang curry ingredients

Chicken: I prefer to use chicken leg or thigh for this curry. It stands up to braising better than breast and has more flavour. You can of course use breast or even swap chicken out for prawns or tofu.

Curry Paste: I like to use Cock Brand Penang Curry paste but you can use which ever brand you prefer. If you want to make your own curry paste I’d suggest using this recipe. You can pick this up at any good Asian market or online.

Coconut Milk: Coconut is the base of the curry. Try to use full fat coconut milk if possible.

Kaffir Lime Leaves: These incredible lime leaves add some incredible perfume to the curry. Dry leaves can work but they don’t have as much flavour. You can also find them frozen in some Asian markets. You can omit if you can’t find them or sbstitute with lime zest.

Fish Sauce: Fish sauce is a must for Thai dishes. It’s the perfect way of seasoning curries and stir fries and it adds an incredible umami and depth of flavour.

Palm Sugar: Palm sugar has an amazing flavour but you can use any type of sugar that you have on hand. The main goal is to introduce the sweet element into the curry.

Basil: Thai basil is preferable but you can use regular Italian basil if that’s all you can find.

Optional Ingredients: You can add sliced bell peppers, carrot or courgette – this is a base recipe and can be adapted to what ever is left in your fridge!


Makes enough for 4 people.

  • 8 chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces, deboned and skin removed (or 3 chicken breasts)
  • 2 tbsp Panang curry paste
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Thai basil, as required
  • Steamed rice, as required

How to Make Chicken Panang Curry

  1. Heat a sauté pan on a medium high heat and add the solid part of the coconut milk or 1/3 of the milk. Heat and reduce the liquid.

  2. Once the oil has split and the liquid has evaporated, add the curry paste and sauté for 1 minute.

  3. Add the chicken and coat in the curry paste.

  4. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Tear the kaffir lime leaves and place into the sauce. Cover with a lid and cook until the chicken is cooked through (around 5-6 minutes).

  5. Season with fish sauce and palm sugar. Reduce until thick and coating the back of a spoon.

  6. Check for seasoning and serve with steamed rice. Garnish with sliced chilli, basil and kaffir lime leaf.

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