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This satisfying Chicken Panang Curry recipe has a creamy coconut milk base and a delicately balanced flavor profile, and comes together in just 30 minutes!

Top View Close Up of Panang Curry

I am a curry lover of all kinds. The crazy thing is, I really don’t handle super spicy food very well!

If I can handle this recipe, you definitely can.

When it comes to Thai cooking, a balanced flavor profile is key. A few years ago when I was in Thailand, I discovered the magic of Thai cuisine.

In fact, Thailand itself is magical, the landscape, the architecture, the people…

thai hill
The photo above was taken at the resort where I stayed in Phuket, Thailand. You can read more about my travels to Thailand here.

Each Thai dish typically features a harmony between sweet, salty, spicy, sour, and umami flavors. It’s a delicate blend with no one thing completely overpowering the others. Thai curries are like an orchestra in your mouth, with everything blending together, yet remaining subtly distinguishable.

Thai Tabletop

Even though this Chicken Panang Curry recipe is the quick version (we use jarred Thai red curry paste to make our lives easier!), it has that same delicious balance of flavors.

It features a creamy coconut milk base with spicy depth of flavor from red curry paste. Aromatics like garlic, ginger, and onion add complexity. Fish sauce adds salty umami flavor. Unsweetened creamy peanut butter adds nutty richness and subtle sweetness. A hint of coconut sugar enhances the sweetness. Fresh lime juice and kaffir lime leaves add tart citrusy flavor. It really is a symphony!

Chicken Panang Curry with Description

Chicken Panang Curry Recipe

Ingredients for Chicken Panang Curry

  • Coconut oil
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Yellow onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Thai red curry paste (ingredients: spices (including red chili pepper), garlic, lemongrass, salt, shallot, coriander root, and kaffir lime peel)
  • Unsweetened full-fat coconut milk 
  • Unsweetened natural creamy peanut butter (ingredients: peanuts, salt)
  • Fish sauce
  • Coconut sugar
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Kaffir lime leaves
Panang Curry with Chicken

How to Make Easy Chicken Panang Curry

  1. Sear the chicken in a little coconut oil.
  2. Add onion and red bell pepper and sauté briefly.
  3. Now add the aromatics like garlic, ginger, and Thai red curry paste! Let them have a little time on the heat so their flavors can really develop.
  4. Stir in the creamy base flavors like the coconut milk and peanut butter, as well as the flavor enhancers, such as fish sauce and coconut sugar. Simmer a little so the flavors can blend.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the fresh lime juice and kaffir limes leaves.
  6. Serve garnished with fresh Thai basil!

How to Store This Dish

Store Chicken Panang Curry in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Side View of Thai Panang Curry

Tips for Making Panang Curry

  • Don’t skip the peanut butter! That’s one of the things that sets Panang Curry apart from other curries. It lends depth of flavor with a slight nuttiness and subtle sweetness.
  • Let the chicken cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side before stirring or flipping so that it browns a little.
  • If you don’t can’t find kaffir lime leaves, you can substitute with 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime zest.
  • Look for Thai basil at Asian grocery stores. It has a distinct licorice-like basil flavor and it adds a lot to this dish.
Panang Curry Recipe Graphic

Panang Curry FAQs

What is the Difference Between Thai Red Curry and Panang Curry?

Thai Red Curry has more red chilies than Panang Curry, and so it has a deeper red color and more spicy heat. On the other hand, Panang Curry has peanut added, which lends a rich nuttiness and subtle sweetness.

What Does Panang Curry Taste Like?

Panang Curry has a creamy coconut milk-base and a balanced flavor profile with spicy red chilies, aromatics like garlic and ginger, bright citrusy freshness from kaffir lime, and a hint of peanut for nutty flavor and subtle sweetness.

Don’t be put off by the red chilies; this dish isn’t overly spicy!

Chicken Panang Curry Recipe

Is Panang Curry Thai or Malaysian?

There is a bit of debate as to whether the origin of Panang Curry is Thailand or Malaysia. It’s said that it takes its name from Penang Island off the west coast of Malaysia, and is a combination of Malaysian, Myanmar, and Indian cuisine.

What is Thai Basil?

Thai basil is notably different than the basil you’d typically get at an Italian restaurant. That’s because Thai basil is quite different from Italian sweet basil. And it’s estimated that there are over 100 different types of basil!

thai basil on wooden table

Thai basil is from Southeast Asia and has a more anise (or licorice) aroma and flavor than its Italian counterpart. The main difference in appearance is that Thai basil has a purplish stem and Italian basil has a green stem.

Pro Tip: Look for Thai basil at Asian grocery stores. It’s usually quite reasonably priced!

You can read more about Thai basil on Allrecipes and Serious Eats.

Is Panang Curry Keto Friendly?

Absolutely! This Chicken Panang Curry recipe has just 6g net carbs per serving. Serve it with cauliflower rice to make it a full keto friendly meal.

Pro Tip: And note that in addition to being low carb and keto, this recipe is also gluten free and paleo! (Serve it with cauliflower rice to keep it paleo.)

Panang Curry Recipe

What Should I Serve with Thai Curry?

Traditionally, Thai curries are served with jasmine rice. Jasmine rice is more aromatic than regular white rice, and to me it almost has a popcorn-like aroma. It’s fluffy with a slight stickiness when cooked.

If you want to keep the carbs down, you can serve Thai curry with cauliflower rice instead.

More Thai Recipes to Try

Close Up of Penang Curry

Let’s Connect

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Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also tag @anediblemosaic on social media.

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Chicken Panang Curry Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
This satisfying Chicken Panang Curry Recipe has a creamy coconut milk base and a delicately balanced flavor profile, and comes together in just 30 minutes!

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Ingredients
 

For Garnish:

  • Red chili pepper thinly sliced
  • Thai basil leaves
  • Lime wedges

For Serving:

Instructions
 

  • Add the coconut oil to a medium-large pot over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the chicken and spread it out in an even layer. Add the salt. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes before stirring, and then stir the chicken and cook it for 3 to 4 minutes more.
  • Make a well in the center of the pot and add the onion and red bell pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the red curry paste and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Add the coconut milk, peanut butter, fish sauce, and coconut sugar. Stir well to fully dissolve the peanut butter.
  • Turn the heat down to medium. Cover the pot and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice and kaffir lime leaves.
  • Serve with any garnishes you like, along with prepared jasmine rice if desired.

Video

Notes

  • Net Carbs: 6g per serving
  • Nutritional Information: Information is for the curry, and doesn’t include the optional rice for serving.
  • To Lower the Carbs Even More: Omit the coconut sugar and use keto sweetener instead. Serve this with cauliflower rice instead of jasmine rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 478mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2727IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: Chicken Panang Curry, Panang Curry, Panang Curry Recipe

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Easy Panang Curry Recipe Pin
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe. I made it tonight and everyone loved it, even the picky kids.

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