That Spicy Chick

Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice

Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice is easy to make in under 30 minutes and full of all the flavors you love in Thai panang curry! Tender chicken, garlic, chilies, veggies, Thai panang curry, paste fluffy jasmine rice and Thai sweet basil get stir-fried together in this showstopping delicious meal! Customize it with your favorite protein and veggies or make it vegetarian/vegan or gluten free.



 

Raise your hand if you love Thai panang chicken curry? Raise your hand if you LOVE fried rice? If your hands are up and swinging enthusiastically like mine, this showstopping and flavorful Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice is for YOU! 

It features:

  • Savory tender chicken pieces. 
  • Flavor-packed store-bought Thai panang curry paste that’s made with fragrant spices and herbs. 
  • Tasty aromatics and herbs. Garlic, fresh red chilies, citrusy makrut lime leaves and intoxicatingly fragrant Thai sweet basil leaves.
  • Creamy and nutty peanut butter and also coconut milk powder for coconutty vibes without making the rice soggy.
  • Colorful and flavorful veggies like bell pepper, crunchy baby corn, carrots, green peas, sweet corn.
  • Fluffy aromatic Thai jasmine rice.

All you need is a hot wok and 30 minutes and this beauty is quick and easy fried rice is on the table!

Although I prefer to use brown jasmine rice to make this a more nutritious meal, any long grain white rice will taste great. This fried rice is a high protein and high fiber meal that you’ll love the taste of. 

If you love the idea of using Thai curry paste in fried rice, try my Thai Yellow Curry Fried Rice, Thai Green Curry Fried Rice or Thai Red Curry Fried Rice!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and easy! It’s ready in under 30 minutes and perfect for weeknights!
  • BIG FLAVORS! It’s nutty, slightly spicy and creamy, a bit sweet, and so incredibly flavorful!  It’s also intoxicatingly fragrant with zesty makrut lime leaves and Thai sweet basil leaves!
  • Nutritious. It’s high in protein and fiber and will keep you full and satisfied for hours.
  • Customizable. Swap the chicken for your favorite protein and add more/different veggies if you like. You can also make it as mild or as spicy as you desire.
  • Meal prep friendly. Make a batch or double batch on a Sunday to enjoy it for an easy lunch or dinner during the week!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutes

Labeled ingredients for Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice on a wooden board.
  • Marinated Chicken: I used bite-sized pieces of boneless and skinless chicken breast and marinated it with salt, white pepper, fish sauce and light soy sauce. Skinless chicken thigh fillets would work well too. (See the ‘Variations’ section below for more protein options.)
  • Aromatics: Garlic and red chilies. I use Thai Bird’s Eye chilies but any small hot red chilies will work. Adjust the quantity of chilies to taste based on your heat level preference.
  • Veggies: Red onion, red bell pepper, frozen mixed vegetables (green peas, carrots, corn) for convenience and baby corn. You can use any other variation of bagged frozen mixed vegetables which may have green beans, cauliflower or other veggies. I also add some extra green peas because I love the taste of them in this Thai panang curry fried rice. Do the same if you enjoy green peas too or simply use more frozen mixed veggies. There’s no need to thaw the frozen veggies as it will quickly thaw and cook in the hot wok.
  • Makrut Lime Leaves: Also known as kaffir lime leaves but I prefer not to call it that because it’s a derogatory term in some parts of the world. This Thai herb adds a citrusy aroma and lime-like flavor to this fried rice. I used the fresh version which is available at Thai grocery stores. The ground dried version can be substituted. It is available in mainstream supermarkets that are well stocked with international ingredients.
  • Thai Sweet Basil Leaves: This fragrant Thai herb can be found in Thai grocery stores, Asian markets and some mainstream supermarkets. It’s used in Thai dishes like Thai green curry and Thai eggplant stir-fry.
  • Coconut Milk Powder: To add coconut flavor without making the fried rice too soggy by adding too much coconut milk. All you need to do is mix it with a small amount of water to reconstitute it into a light coconut milk. Substitute with light coconut milk or regular coconut milk if unavailable.
  • Smooth Peanut Butter: I used Skippy brand Creamy Reduced Fat Peanut Butter but any commercial creamy style peanut butter will work. If using a natural peanut butter without added sugar, you may need to add more sweetener to taste. 
  • Canola Oil: Or use any other neutral flavored cooking oil with a high smoke point.
  • Thai Panang Curry Paste: I use Nittaya brand, but Mae Ploy and Maesri make great and authentic tasting panang curry pastes too. Use Thai red curry paste if unavailable.
  • Cooked Rice: I used cooked Thai jasmine brown rice but white jasmine rice or any long grain white rice will work. As with all fried rice, day-old chilled rice yields the best texture. 
  • Sugar-free Brown Sugar Replacement: I use Swerve Brown Sugar but you can substitute with coconut sugar, palm sugar, light brown sugar, or other granulated sugar-free or regular white sugar instead.
  • Thai Chili Powder (optional): For an extra kick of heat. Leave it out if you’re not too big on spicy food. Or substitute with crushed red pepper if unavailable.

Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.

How to Make Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice

  1. Cook the chicken. Heat oil in a wok or heavy bottomed deep skillet. Cook the marinated chicken until no longer pink but not yet fully cooked.
  1. Stir-fry the onion and bell pepper. Just until the veggies are starting to soften.
  1. Add the garlic and chilies. Stir-fry until fragrant.
  1. Add remaining veggies, curry paste, and makrut lime leaves. Stir-fry until the curry paste has broken down and is combined well with everything.
  1. Add the coconut milk and peanut butter mixture. Reduce the heat and pour in the coconut milk and peanut butter mixture. Mix well to combine with everything. 
  1. Add the cooked rice and seasonings. Add the rice, fish sauce, sweetener and Thai chili powder (if using) and mix until everything is evenly combined and evenly coated with the curry paste. 
  1. Toss through the basil. Just until wilted and fragrant, then switch off the heat.
Added Thai sweet basil leaves to fried rice in wok.
  1. Serve! Divide evenly onto plates and garnish with finely sliced makrut lime leaves. Serve with cucumber slices and a lime wedge for squeezing if desired. 
Panang Curry Chicken Fried Rice on a plate with sliced cucumber and lime cheek.

Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.

Cook’s Tips

  • Cook over high heat. Too low heat can cause fried rice to become soggy. Only reduce the heat when adding the coconut milk and peanut butter mixture so that it doesn’t boil rapidly or burn.
  • Use day-old chilled rice. Even two-day old rice is great for making fried rice. It will have had time for moisture to evaporate after chilling in the fridge. Leftover or cooked old rice is key for making a non-mushy fried rice.
  • Adjust heat level to taste. Use less fresh Bird’s Eye red chilies (or omit) and a milder Thai panang fried rice. You can leave out the Thai chili powder too. Or use more chilies and chili powder to make it spicier if you prefer.
  • Use a Thai brand panang curry paste. It’s preferred as the flavors will be more authentic. That said, a western brand curry paste will work too.
  • Season to taste. You might need to add less or more fish sauce and brown sugar to get the right balance of flavors to suit your preference.
  • Meal prep. This panang curry fried rice is fantastic for meal prep and will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Double the ingredients and cook in two batches if your wok or pan is not large enough to handle twice the amount of ingredients. Divide into meal prep containers and store in the fridge. When ready to eat, reheat in the microwave on high for 1.5 to 2 minutes or until hot throughout.

Variations

  • Use a different protein. Sliced pork tenderloin (fillet), skirt or flank beef steak, or shrimp can be used instead of chicken. 
  • Use different veggies. Snow peas, sugar snap peas, yellow bell pepper or any stir-fry friendly veggies would taste great in this Thai panang curry fried rice. 
  • Make it gluten-free. Make sure that the curry paste you’re using is gluten-free certified and use a gluten-free low sodium light soy sauce or tamari for the chicken marinade. Also, make sure that your fish sauce doesn’t contain any hidden wheat ingredients (some brands do). 
  • Make it vegetarian/vegan. Toss some crispy pan-fried tofu cubes or tempeh just before adding the rice and seasonings. Make sure that the panang curry paste you’re using doesn’t contain any fish or shrimp ingredients. Also, use light soy sauce instead of fish sauce.
  • Use coconut milk. Mix 40ml light coconut milk or regular coconut milk with the peanut butter and omit the water if you’re not using coconut milk powder. 
Closeup front view of Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice on a black plate.

FAQs

How do you store panang curry paste?

Due to it containing fresh herbs, you should store panang curry paste in the tub it came in. Make sure the lid is sealed tightly before storing in the refrigerator. If it came in a plastic package, transfer to an airtight sealed container such as a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.

Can this panang curry fried rice be made with coconut cream powder?

Yes, use 2 teaspoons of coconut cream powder as it contains more fat and will be creamier.

Is panang curry paste hot?

It is not as hot as Thai red curry paste or green curry paste but hotter than yellow curry paste. Note that the spice level varies from brand to brand and Thai brand curry pastes tend to be hotter than western brand curry pastes. If you are sensitive to heat, use slightly less curry paste the first time you’re making this recipe and adjust as needed the next time.

Closeup front and top view of fried rice on a plate. Text overlay "Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice" and "thatspicychick.com".

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Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice

Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice on a black plate with sliced cucumber and lime cheek.

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5 from 1 review

Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice combines all the creamy, nutty and mildly spicy flavors you love in panang chicken curry with rice, veggies, and aromatic Thai sweet basil to make a flavor-packed 30-minute weeknight dinner!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 12
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Thai

Ingredients

Scale

Chicken Marinade:

  • 280 grams / 9.87 ounces Chicken Breast, boneless, skinless – cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ TSP Fine Sea Salt (or use ¼ TSP Kosher Salt)
  • ¼ TSP ground White Pepper
  • 1 TSP Fish Sauce
  • 1 TSP Light Soy Sauce (preferably a Thai one, substitute with any low sodium light soy sauce)

Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice:

  • 20 grams / 4-5 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 35 grams / 9–10 fresh Red Chilies (Thai Bird’s Eye or any other small hot red chilies – note 1*), to taste – finely chopped
  • 75 grams / ≈ ⅓ medium Red Onion – finely chopped
  • 100 grams / ½ medium Red Bell Pepper – thinly sliced, then sliced in half
  • 60 grams / 4-5 pieces Baby Corn – sliced through the middle lengthwise, then again widthwise
  • 3 fresh Makrut Lime Leaves (note 2) – destemmed, finely minced into a powder
  • 20 grams / 1 cup Thai Sweet Basil Leaves (note 3)
  • 50 grams / ¼ cup frozen Green Peas
  • 75 grams / ¾ cup Frozen Mixed Vegetables (I used a bag with green peas, corn and carrots)
  • 8 grams / 1 TBSP Coconut Milk Powder
  • 2 TBSP Water
  • 15 grams / 1 TBSP Smooth Peanut Butter (I used Skippy brand Creamy Reduced Fat Peanut Butter)
  • 1 TBSP Canola Oil (or any other neutral flavored cooking oil with a high smoke point)
  • 20 grams / 4 TSP Thai Panang Curry Paste (I use Nittaya brand – note 4)
  • 240 grams / 1.5 cups cooked Thai Jasmine Brown Rice, day-old, chilled (100 grams / 3.5 ounces uncooked weight – note 5)
  • ½ TSP Fish Sauce
  • ½ TSP Sugar-free Brown Sugar Replacement (or use coconut sugar or light brown sugar – I used Swerve Brown Sugarnote 6)
  • ½ TSP Thai Chili Powder (optional – substitute with crushed red pepper), to taste
  • To Serve (optional): Finely sliced makrut lime leaves, cucumber slices, lime wedges for squeezing

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Marinate the chicken: Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to a medium bowl. Add the sea salt, white pepper, fish sauce and light soy sauce. Mix well to coat and set aside.
  2. Make the coconut milk and peanut butter mixture: Add 1 tablespoon coconut milk powder to a measuring cup, followed by 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter. Mix well to combine until the peanut butter has broken down.
  3. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Chop/prepare the garlic, red chilies, red onion, red bell pepper, baby corn, makrut lime leaves and Thai sweet basil leaves as indicated in the ‘ingredients’ section. Measure out the frozen green peas and mixed vegetables.

Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice:

  1. Cook the chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick wok (or heavy bottomed deep skillet) over high heat. Add the marinated chicken and immediately spread the pieces out in the wok in a single layer. Allow to sear for 30-40 seconds, then stir-fry until no longer pink but not yet fully cooked – about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir-fry the onion, bell pepper and aromatics: Add the red onion and bell pepper and stir-fry for 30 seconds until starting to soften. Add the garlic and red chilies and stir-fry for 20-30 seconds until fragrant.
  3. Add remaining veggies, curry paste and makrut lime leaves: Add the baby corn, green peas, mixed veggies, minced makrut lime leaves and panang curry paste. Stir-fry until the curry paste has mostly broken down and combined with everything.
  4. Add the coconut milk and peanut butter mixture: Lower the heat and pour in the coconut milk and peanut butter mixture. Mix well to combine with everything.
  5. Add the rice and seasonings: Turn the heat back up to high and add the cooked rice, fish sauce, brown sugar replacement and Thai chili powder (if using). Stir-fry for 1 minute until everything is combined well.
  6. Toss through the basil: Toss through the Thai sweet basil leaves until just wilted – about 15-20 seconds. Switch off the heat.
  7. To Serve: Divide evenly onto plates and garnish with finely sliced makrut lime leaves. Serve with cucumber slices and lime wedges for squeezing if desired.

Notes

  1. Fresh Red Chilies. I used Thai Bird’s Eye chilies but any small hot red chilies that are easily available to you will work. Adjust the quantity of chilies to taste based on your heat level preference.
  2. Makrut Lime Leaves. Also knows as kaffir lime leaves. This citrusy Thai herb is available in Thai grocery stores. You can substitute with the ground dried version which is available in most mainstream supermarkets. In a pinch, use torn dried makrut lime leaves to infuse the fried rice with its flavor. Note that Thai people don’t normally eat the torn leaves as the texture is to difficult to chew. This is why I prefer to mince the leaves into a fine powder – it makes it edible without any unpleasant mouthfeel.
  3. Thai Sweet Basil. This fragrant Thai herb can be found in Thai grocery stores, Asian and some mainstream supermarkets. It has an anise-y sweet flavor and is very fragrant.
  4. Thai Panang Curry Paste. A Thai brand panang curry paste such as Nittaya, Mae Ploy or Maesri is recommended for the most authentic flavor. However, a western brand made panang curry paste can also be used if needed. Substitute with Thai red curry paste if unavailable.
  5. Cooked Thai Jasmine Brown Rice. Any long grain cooked brown or white rice will work, though Thai jasmine rice will be the most fragrant. Using 1 day-old or even rice that is 2 days old and chilled yields the best, non-mushy fried rice texture.
  6. Brown Sugar Replacement. I use Swerve Brown Sugar which is made from erythritol. You can substitute with coconut sugar, palm sugar, light brown sugar, or granulated sugar-free or regular white sugar if needed.
  7. See ‘Variations’ section in the post above if you’d like to customize this Thai Panang Curry Fried Rice.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: ½ of recipe
  • Calories: 585
  • Sugar: 10.5g
  • Sodium: 2122.8mg
  • Fat: 17.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 67.3g
  • Fiber: 8.7g
  • Protein: 43.2g
  • Cholesterol: 102.5mg

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