Thai Panang Chicken Curry

Bowl with panang chicken curry garnished with coconut cream, chilies, and kaffir lime leave strips.

5 from 1 review

A classic Thai Panang Chicken Curry that’s full of creamy, spicy and nutty flavors! It’s easy to make in one wok, ready in just 40 minutes, and irresistibly delicious with steamed rice! 


  • 500 grams / 1.1 pounds Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless – cleaned and pat-dried, excess fat trimmed, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 Asian Red Shallots – peeled and halved, thinly sliced
  • 6 Garlic cloves – finely minced
  • 220 Red Chilies (Bird’s Eye preferred, but any small hot red chilies will work), to taste – finely chopped
  • 615 Green Chilies (Bird’s Eye preferred, but any small hot green chilies will work) to taste – finely chopped
  • 215 Prik Kee Nu Green Chilies (optional), to taste – finely chopped
  • 2 Large Red Chilies – thinly sliced at an angle
  • 1 small Red Bell Pepper – thinly sliced
  • 6 pieces Baby Corn – sliced in half lengthwise
  • ½ disc (25 grams) Coconut Sugar, to taste – shaved with a knife (substitute with palm sugar, or 1 tablespoon granulated coconut or light brown sugar if unavailable)
  • 810 Makrut Lime Leaves – destemmed and very finely minced
  • ½ cup Thai Sweet Basil Leaves
  • 2 TBLS Canola Oil (or any neutral flavored cooking oil)
  • 1 TBLS Chili Oil (optional – omit if less heat is desired)
  • 24 TBLS Thai Panang Curry Paste (I use Nittaya brand, but Mae Ploy or Maesri are excellent too)
  • 500ml / 17 ounces Coconut Milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 130ml (about ½ cup) Coconut Cream (reserve 20ml for garnish)
  • 2 TBLS smooth (Creamy) Peanut Butter (I use Skippy’s)
  • 4 TBLS Fish Sauce
  • 12 TSP Thai Chili Powder (optional), to taste
  • To Serve: Reserved coconut cream, finely sliced mild large red chili, finely sliced makrut lime leaves, steamed rice



  1. Prepare the ingredients: Clean and trim off the excess fat from the chicken thighs, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Chop/slice the shallots, garlic, red and green Bird’s Eye chilies, Prik Kee Nu green chilies, large red chilies, red bell pepper, and baby corn as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section. Finely shave the coconut sugar with a knife, destem and mince the makrut lime leaves into a powder, and wash and pat-dry the Thai Sweet Basil Leaves.

For the Thai Panang Chicken Curry:

  1. Sauté aromatics: Heat the canola oil and chili oil in a large wok or deep skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the red and green Bird’s Eye chilies and Prik Kee Nu green chilies. Sauté for 30 seconds to combine.
  2. Add the curry paste & chicken: Add the Panang curry paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes to break it down and combine with everything else. Then add the chicken and red bell pepper. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink and everything is evenly coated in the curry paste.
  3. Build the curry: Pour in half of the coconut milk (250ml) and add the finely minced makrut lime leaves. Stir continuously until evenly combined, then simmer for a 30 seconds. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk, the water, and 110ml of the coconut cream. Stir to combine. Add the baby corn and sliced large red chilies, and stir in the peanut butter, coconut sugar, fish sauce, and Thai chili powder until combined well. Simmer uncovered for 5-8 minutes, until the chicken is tender and has cooked through.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings: Give the curry a stir, then taste and adjust seasonings by stirring in more Panang curry paste, fish sauce, coconut sugar, or Thai chili powder if needed.
  5. Stir through basil: Switch off the heat and stir through the Thai sweet basil leaves.
  6. To Serve: Transfer to a serving dish/bowl. Drizzle the remainder 20ml of coconut cream on top, and garnish with finely sliced red chili and makrut lime leaves if desired. Serve immediately with warm steamed rice.



  1. Thai ingredients. Makrut lime leaves, Thai sweet basil, Bird’s Eye and Thai Prik Kee Nu green chilies can be found at Thai grocery stores. You can sometimes find them in Asian supermarkets too.
  2. Chilies. Feel free to adjust the amount of Bird’s Eye and Prik Kee Nu chilies to suit your heat level preference. The Thai Prik Kee Nu green chilies are listed as optional because they are fiery hot, and also because they aren’t always easily available in most places outside of Asia. Feel free to omit them if you can’t find them or prefer to make a milder curry. The large red chili is mild, and similar in flavor to red bell pepper. You can omit it if you prefer, or use more red bell pepper.
  3. Panang curry paste: Panang curry paste is available at Asian supermarkets, Thai grocery stores, and online. Different brands will have varying heat levels. I recommend using 2 tablespoons first, then tasting and stirring in more after simmering in step 3 if needed. Note that some brands add shrimp paste and fish sauce to their curry paste. Double check the ingredients to ensure that the brand you are using is free of these ingredients if you are allergic to seafood/shellfish. Vegetarian Panang curry pastes are available too, and I recommend Maesri brand Panang curry paste for a vegetarian option.  
  4. To make this gluten-free: Use a gluten-free Panang curry paste and make sure that the fish sauce you’re using is GF certified.
  5. Storing. Store leftovers in a sealed airtight container for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Reheat for 2-3 minutes on high in the microwave, stirring once in between, or in a wok or pot over medium heat on the stovetop until hot throughout. I recommend consuming within 5 days for best flavor and texture.
  6. See ‘Variations’ section in post above for more tips and ideas for customizing this Panang curry.


Keywords: Thai Panang curry, Panang chicken curry, Thai panang chicken curry