Panang Curry

Since I’m Indian, I stereotypically loved Indian kadhi (curry) when growing up. After trying Thai food for the first time, Thai curries also became a favorite. However, most Thai restaurants use fish sauce as a base for all curries and don’t have a good substitute on hand. So, I was inspired to learn to make panang so I could make sure and find an equivalent substitute and still enjoy the dish. This experiment was a huge success and I absolutely love the rich flavors in this dish.

Serves 4
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  1. 2 tbsp. oil
  2. 2 tbsp. chopped garlic
  3. 1 tsp. grated ginger
  4. 2 tbsp. Aroy-D or Mae Anong Panang Curry Paste
  5. 2 cans coconut milk (13.5 oz. each)
  6. 1 tbsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  7. 1 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  8. 1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice
  9. 1/4 cup roasted and unsalted cashews
  10. 1 cup chopped white mushrooms
  11. 1 cup chopped white/yellow onion
  12. 4 Thai basil leaves
  13. 4 oz. cubed extra firm tofu
  14. 5 broccoli florets
  15. 1 cup red belpepper
  16. 10 snap peas
  1. In a seasoned wok, heat oil on medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add ginger and garlic and let cook until light brown.
  3. Stir in curry paste.
  4. Whisk in coconut milk, grated palm sugar, soy sauce, and lime juice and turn heat up to medium-high. Add the lime juice little by little until it’s just how you like it. I used the entire 1 1/2 tbsp. of lime juice.
  5. Add veggies, tofu, and basil leaves and cook until tofu is cooked completely (you can test this by cutting the tofu in half and trying a bite.
  6. Top with crushed cashews and garnish with Thai basil leaves.
  1. Trader Joe’s carries light coconut milk with has 50% less fat than regular coconut milk.
If you live somewhere where you can’t find the Mae Anong Panang Curry Paste, you can purchase it directly from me.  I decided to start selling it on my blog because so many of my readers have trouble finding it. I am charging $22.00* (includes shipping), which accounts for purchasing it from my local market, packaging it, and shipping it out to you. Each packet contains 16 ounces of panang curry paste, meaning you can make at least 64 servings of panang curry. That’s just 34 cents per bowl*Please note that if you live outside of the United States, shipping will be more expensive and I may need to send you an additional Paypal invoice to cover the costs. PLEASE PURCHASE VIA PAYPAL BY CLICKING THE BUTTON BELOW.

Due to the popularity of this recipe, I put together this helpful video tutorial!



  1. Jessica Robison says

    If your eyes hurt when onions are cut like mine do, put out a small bowl with some white vinegar in it. It cuts the smell almost immediately!

      • fida says

        Hey Priya,

        I just finished making this dish. For some reason it feels like the flavor is missing, and i followed ur recipe step by step. I usually like this dish sweet, as there anything that i can add to give it a sweet curry taste?

        • Priya Aggarwal says

          I am sorry to hear it did not turn out to your liking. I would add more palm sugar to give it a sweeter taste.

        • Jenny H. says

          I make Thai curry and have for years. I would use coconut cream and a regular can of coconut milk. It’s not as calorie friendly, but taste much better and when I’m eating curry, I don’t care about healthy :p

  2. Alyssa says

    Just out of curiosity, and because I really like fish sauce and usually have it on hand, if I wanted to use it, where would I add it into the dish?

    • Alyssa says

      Also, what was the heat factor on this dish? Panang is usually my all-time favorite dish to order at a thai place, but I’ve never used a store bought paste to try. I have to pretty young children that can’t go too hot.

      • Priya Aggarwal says

        Hi Alyssa, this dish is not spicy at all if you use the Aroy D curry paste. You can always add red chilli powder to make it spicier. If you make the dish using my recipe, I have no doubts your kids will be able to eat it :)

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      Generally, light/thin soy sauce is used in place of fish sauce. As you can see, I don’t use any light/thin soy sauce in this recipe like I do in the pad thai recipe – Nonetheless, you can likely substitute out the soy sauce for fish sauce. Let me know how it turns out so other readers can learn from you too!

    • says

      Fish Sauce is a finishing ingredient, a top note. It cooks out quickly so add at the end, and serve Nam Pla phrik for dinners to adjust taste for themselves. Nam Pla Phrik is simplu fish sauce (nam Pla) and sliced chiles (phrik) Thai Dragons (Phrik Chee Fa) aren’t too hot, and the wonderful Bird Chiles (Phrik Kee Nue) are hotter and non metaliac in taste. BTW grow your own Thai chiles as the plants are so pretty! The Bird Chiles are rarely if ever sold in US markets. The plants are compact and perfect to put 3 in a hanging basket!

  3. Erin says

    I have been looking for a copycat recipe for the Panang Curry I get at my local Thai carryout and this is it almost EXACTLY. I used thin-sliced chicken breasts instead of tofu.

    The only difference actually between this and my carry out’s Panang is that the sauce was thicker… but I think that’s only because I had to let it reduce a little longer to make sure the chicken was cooked through. FANTASTIC!!! Thank you so much!

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      Oh, wonderful! I’m so glad you liked it and were able to find a way to make it with meat. I’ll let my meat-eater friends know what you did so they can try it too :)

  4. says

    I AM going to try this recipe this coming week, I’ve got high hopes since Panang Curry with chicken is my go-to meal at my local Thai restaurant. I’ll let you know how it turns out :)

  5. CristiMy says

    I made this tonight and it was delicious, although lacking in eye appeal. I followed the directions without looking through all the lovely step pictures. Afterwards, I took a closer look. There are red peppers and snap peas! Why were these not included in the written directions? Do you usually put those in and if so, what would the quantities be? Thanks

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      Hi ChristiMy! Wow, I have no clue how I omitted those two ingredients from the list when they were clearly used! Thanks for commenting on that. I’ve added them to the list :) Also, with regard to the eye appeal, top the bowl with freshly ground cashews and Thai basil. :)

  6. says

    Found this recipe on Pinterest and I’ve got to say that this looks absolutely divine! I’ve bookmarked this one. I’ll be using chicken or pork with mine, as we’re not huge tofu fans.

    Does Ranch 99 have a good selection? I live relatively close to one location. Haven’t tried it yet. Fairly new in town.

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      Thanks, Jean! Ranch 99 has a huge selection of Asian products/ingredients. It is also really good (and cheap!) for regular groceries and produce.

  7. says

    I am an American living in England and have not really ventured out much to try Indian Cuisine, I would like very much to try this, but I was curious if I could use chicken instead of tofu.
    Thank you so much :)

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      You know, I’ve been asked this question many times and I think the answer is yes but I honestly would not know for sure b/c I have never tried it. My guess would be that you might need to cook the curry longer in step 5 to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly. If you try it, please let me know by commenting! :)

  8. Renee says


    I really would like to try this, but cannot find the specific brand of panang curry paste you use. I tried amazon as well, but could only find a 6 pack for over $30 – I won’t use that much. Is there another brand you could recommend? I cannot get it locally, as I live in Germany and there are no asian markets near by. Any help would be appreciated!

  9. says

    Like a previous poster, I found this recipe on Pinterest. Got it going on the stove right now – my very first curry! – and I have to say, it tastes delicious! I can’t believe how easy it is to make! I’m an American living in France and thankfully found similar products to everything you listed. My family is a bit meat and potatoes so I am using chicken instead of tofu. Wasn’t sure how it would come out going into the wok raw so lightly browned it before throwing it in. Just hoping my family like this. If not…more for me!!! Thank you!

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      Thank you, Cat!! I am glad to hear that this recipe works with chicken as so many people have asked me about that! Cheers to having a great dinner with your family. Bon apetit 😉

  10. Sylvana says

    Hi! I’lll be making this dish on Tuesday for my boyfriend’s birthday – instead of tofu, can I use potatoes? And where can I find Thai basil? I tried at my local farmers market this morning, but they said it was out of season…thanks!

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      I think potatoes would taste delicious as well! Try any Asian farmers market, they should have it year-round. That’s where I buy mine! :)

  11. says

    There is a Vegetarian “Fish Sauce” that is based on mushrooms and is quite nice. Normally Penang curry has kapi in it (shrimp paste) which is tyical in Thai curries not fish sauce. Fish Sauce is more of a finishing taste if desired.

    I am glad to see you use regular coconut milk as it gives the proper texture and flavour to Thai curries. Coconut oil is good for the health! BTW for those in the US Coconut Sugar is now available at Costco! It gives a softer sweetness rather than a harsh sweetness of processed white sugar.

    I too love Thai curries and Indian masalas. I have been to both countries over 30 times since 1989, and find myself playing with Indian/Thai ingredients much as the best Chinese food in the world-is found in India :-) In Southern Thailand where Penang is tyical they too use lovely Indian spices in some dishes.

    BTW those curries in the Plains area of Thailand do not use coconut milk and sometimes are considered healthier, but I admit to loving both.

    I really enjoy your blog!

  12. Jenna says

    I was informed during a Thai cooking class that “light” coconut milk is simply watered down coconut milk. They advised us to buy regular coconut milk and just use less if we wanted to cut the fat in the dish, that way we aren’t paying the same price for more water!

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      Hi Jenna! You might be right. I checked the ingredient list for the light coconut milk and it is coconut milk & water. However, the comparison chart shows the following per 1/3 cup: Regular coconut milk has 140 calories and 14g fat. Light coconut milk has 50 calories and just 4g fat. I personally haven’t noticed a taste difference between the two so I prefer the light version.

  13. Neely says

    I learned from a Thai chef that store bought light coconut milk is just watered down regular coconut milk. It’s a good money saving tip to just add water to full-fat coconut milk. You can freeze extra canned coconut milk for several months.

  14. Nikki Rennolds says

    I saw this on Pintrest last night and HAD to make it tonight. So I went to my local grocery store (I live in FL) and of course they didn’t have Panang Curry Paste so I substituted Red Curry Paste. I’m not sure of the flavor difference but this dish is amazing! I’m going to locate an Asian market so I can expand my Thai horizons, but I will absolutely make again. Also I used finely chopped chicken in place of tofu and sweet basil instead of Thai Basil. Still, so yummy!!! Thank you for this awesome recipe!

  15. Ashley says

    I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to try this recipe! My mother and I are in love with this dish at restaurants and to know that you’ve created a very simple recipe… omg, I’m itching with excitement to go to the grocery store and make it!! I’ll let you know how it compares, but it looks SCRUMPTIOUS :)

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      Aw!! I love your excitement! Definitely post a picture of the final dish on my Facebook page: Hope it’s everything you hope for! :)

  16. Ams says

    Hi Priya,

    I’d just like to say thank you so much for this recipe! I have a husband who is very difficult to please and he absolutely loved this recipe! I also gave a sample to my parents who said that it tasted like restuarant food.

    Once again,

    Thank you so much – five star recipe.

  17. Rebecca Norton says

    Hi Pri!
    Making this right now! Smells wonderful! How do I store the curry paste once it is opened?

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      Yay! How did it turn out? You can just put it in a plastic ziplock bag (airtight) or a mason jar. :) Oh and also, I keep mine in the fridge once I open it!

  18. Nicole D says

    I just made this for the first time and I have to tell you I loved it. I added some Sriracha after just to spice it up a smidge but it was perfect. Thank you for posting this recipe. I can’t wait to try your Pad Thai 😀

  19. Chiara says

    I’m new to cooking anything more adventurous than pasta, and I just wanted to tell thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. I had to make a couple of substitutions for taste preference, but it turned out perfectly – thank you.

    • Maryanne says

      Coconut fat IE oil is considered a healthy fat! You can buy the coconut oil in spay can for cooking and jars of coconut fat for cooking at Trader Joe’s a d large jars at Costco. To obtain the correct Thai taste to a curry you need to use coconut milk, chaokoh and Mae Ploy are good quality brands.

      I have studied Thai cuisine during my 30+ trips about Thailand since 1987. I have taken formal classes from top chefs in Thailand, home cooks, even street vendors to learn of real Thai taste. I began loving Thai cuisine taking classes about 30 years ago from nearby close friend Kasma Loha-Unchit who won the James Beard award for her first cookbook.

      Thai cooking is based on healthy fresh ingredients!

  20. says

    Hi. I am going to gamble and scale this up for 60 people in about a week. I see to types of unsalted cashews. Quick question: Should the cashews be DRY roasted?

  21. Kevin King says

    Just made this for a bunch of guests and everyone loved it. I told them where it came from and there are some new recipris fans. Well done.

  22. ketan says


    You have made Thai cooking look easy! I just saw how u made on youtube, I am gonna try this once I finish my fasting for Shravan next month. Looking forward for your recipe on Red and Green curry.


  23. Kara Gallegos says

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! This is my favorite Thai dish, but I hate having to go to a restaurant just to get it. I can’t wait to try making this at home! I hope I can find the curry paste, otherwise I will be ordering it from you!

  24. Jordan says

    So I love Thai food, but there isn’t a decent restaurant that I have been able to find near where I live. Oddly enough the BEST Thai restaurant I have been to is in a small town in Florida. I live in Orlando and none of the ones here come close!

    Since I no longer live near the one I grew up by, I tend to get cravings for it and no way to fill them.

    I’ve never tried cooking Asian cuisine, but decided to try this tonight. I was forced to make some small changes, but overall it turned out AMAZING! I also used chicken instead of tofu, as well as adding some pad thai rice noodles. I sautéed the chicken in a little bit of oil, as well as adding a little bit of curry paste to them before adding it to the rest of the dish.

    It came out absolutely delicious, and my brother and roommates absolutely loved it! It is definitely going to become a regular meal in our house!

    • Priya Aggarwal says

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Jordan! I love that you adapted the recipe to make it your own and I’m so glad everyone loved it. Hope to see you around here more often.

  25. says

    Chicken panang is my all time favourite dish to order at Thai restaurants, which costs about $12 a dish. My boyfriend, who is vegan has never had it, so I’m super glad I made your recipe! Now I can share my favourite dish with him :)

    I have the flavour profile of the curry from the restaurant stuck in my brain, so I adjusted your recipe to taste. I didn’t miss the fish sauce etc. at all.

    PS. I had red curry paste in the house, so I used that instead along with a tablespoon or so of smooth peanut butter. Perfect!

  26. Gladys says

    This recipe is awesome, have made a couple of times. I had to comment because I’m making it tonight. I have adjusted the recipe by adding chicken and potatoes but just as yummy!! Thanks a bunch

  27. says

    This is a good, easy recipe. One trick that I have in my bag from making previous curries is to scoop the cream off the coconut milk and allow it to melt into the garlic and ginger, then once the cream is melted, swirl in the curry paste. Add the rest of the milk and follow the remainder of the recipe. This allows you to keep an even creamier texture.
    For those of you that want to cook meat- cook any meat gently in the oil, garlic and ginger from the very beginning, add the coconut milk cream and then swirl in the paste. Follow the remainder of the recipe.

  28. says

    My family is a bit meat and potatoes so I am using chicken instead of tofu. Wasn’t sure how it would come out going into the wok raw so lightly browned it before throwing it in. Just hoping my family like this. If not…more for me!!! Thank you!

  29. Ketan says


    A question since I am a Vegetarian, I found veg curry paste like Maesri in store but it had written that it was produced in facility that processes peanuts, shrimp etc. I am trying not to buy where shrimp or non veg items are processed.

    Does the Panang Curry by Mae Anong is produced in only vegetarian facility ?


  30. Jazmin o says

    I am seasoning my own wok and I was wondering if all curries can be cooked in it or if it would mess up my seasoning. I thought boiling in the wok was not good. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Priya Gulati says

      Hi Jazmin, I have never heard that boiling in a wok is not good and I’ve been doing it for years and my wok seems fine! Also, yes, all curries can be cooked in the wok.

  31. Sama says

    This looks so yummmy ~ it is on my to-do list!!!

    My questions is – Do you think this meal could freeze well and then re-heated for later eating? :s


    • Priya Gulati says

      I don’t think it would freeze well because of the coconut milk and tofu but I have never tried! It certainly will taste 10x better with fresh ingredients!

  32. Mimi says

    Hi,it looks delicious…if we want to use chicken is it better to pan fry it first or add it raw?and can we use both tofu and chicken ?

  33. natasja says

    I can find the curry paste for less than 4 dollars in a thai grocery store. 22 dollars is a rip off! But I am going to try your recipe. Thank you for posting! :)

    • Priya Gulati says

      As I mention in my post, there are additional costs that I have to account for when selling the paste, including shipping.

  34. katherine says

    HI, can you absolutely verify that the curry paste and nothing else in your recipe has NO SHRIMP or FISH, OYSTER sauce in them?

    • Priya Gulati says

      I can only confirm what the packaging says for all ingredients. You should contact the manufacturer for concerns. I can’t accept liability for allergies. Sorry.


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