The Best Thai Panang Chicken Curry we’ve ever made. Cancel your takeout order and give it a try!
What’s your favorite type of food?
That is a question I get a lot. Especially when I meet new people and they find out I write a food blog.
Although my answer is likely to change on any given day, swayed by my current cravings, Asian cuisine is always at the top of my list.
There are a few Asian dishes I just cannot get enough of. Dishes that make me squeal with delight at the sheer thought of them… Vietnamese Bun Cha Gio Bowls, Thai Pad Kee Mao, and Korean Bulgogi to name a few.
Many of these are meals that can be ordered at Asian restaurants. Yet I find they are often even tastier when made at home.
Thai Panang Curry is another dish I swoon over. It’s rich and spicy with a distinctly unique flavor from the addition of kaffir lime leaves and panang curry paste. I could eat this every day of the week and never get tired of it!
To top it off, the fragrance of a good Panang curry is so intoxicating, it should be bottled in my humble opinion.
I have ordered Panang chicken curry numerous times at Thai restaurants, and experimented with homemade version nearly as many times.
After much testing, I have finally come up with a recipe I feel is The Best Thai Panang Chicken Curry I’ve ever made, and possibly the best we’ve ever eaten.
I know that sounds braggy, and I do apologize, but this recipe is flipping amazing!
Just taste it and you’ll forgive me.
The Best Thai Panang Chicken Curry is extremely simple to make. The catch is, you will most likely have to go to an Asian market to gather the ingredients.
But trust me, The Best Thai Panang Chicken Curry recipe is worth the trip!
If you happen to live in a large multicultural city, your standard grocery stores may have everything you need.
If not, google asian markets… Even small towns usually have one.
Once there, hand your grocery list over and ask the clerk help you find the best brand of panang red curry paste, thick coconut milk, and fish sauce. Be sure to also pick up Thai basil leaves and kaffir lime leaves.
You can substitute other types of basil, however the kaffir lime leaves cannot be replaced. The flavor is too unique to swap another ingredient, or to leave it out. The Panang curry paste has some kaffir lime leaf in it, but it’s not enough.
When I go to the Asian market, I usually stock up on panang curry paste, the thickest coconut milk I can find, and kaffir lime leaves.
Fresh kaffir lime leaves can be frozen for longevity. They do turn dark in the freezer, but retain their vibrant flavor.
Panang curry paste is a type of red curry specific to Thailand and Laos.
It is less spicy and more aromatic than standard red curry paste. In a pinch you could substitute red curry paste, but the flavor will not be quite the same.
Ready to make The Best Thai Panang Chicken Curry you’ve ever tasted?
Start by cutting chicken thighs, onions, and bell peppers into bite-size pieces.
Then crush the kaffir lime leaves to help release their oils. They are tough little leaves so smash and twist away, until they smell very strong.
Sauté the onions, peppers and garlic in a large skillet. Then add the panang curry paste and a spoonful of peanut butter to the center of the pan. Sauté the curry for a couple minutes to intensify the flavor.
Then add the kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, fish sauce, and chicken to the pan.
Simmer the curry until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens. Stir in Thai basil leaves and you have a dish worth drooling over.
Bold, fragrant, and oh so delicious! You local takeout joint has nothing on The Best Thai Panang Chicken Curry.
The Best Thai Panang Chicken Curry
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 4 ounces Panang red curry paste (1 can)
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 12 kaffir lime leaves, crushed
- 13.5 ounces thick coconut milk, unsweetened (1 can)
- 3 tablespons fish sauce
- 1/4 cup Thai basil leaves or sweet basil
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Chop the onions and peppers into rough 1-inch pieces. Mince the garlic. Then crush the kaffir lime leaves to help release their oils.
Place a 14-inch skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. Add the coconut oil. Once the oil melts, add the onions. Sauté for 1 minute, then add the peppers and garlic. Sauté another 2-3 minutes.
- Move the veggies to the sides of the skillet and add the panang red curry paste and peanut butter to the center of the pan. Sauté the curry for 2-3 minutes to intensify the flavor, moving around the pan. Then add the kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, and fish sauce. Stir to blend.
- Stir in the chopped chicken and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the basil leaves. Serve with rice, quinoa, or noodles.
There are some ingredients that may need to be purchased at an Asian food market, but this recipe is worth the trip! Most likely: panang red curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, thick canned coconut milk, fish sauce, and Thai basil. Kaffir lime leaves can be kept in the freezer. They turn dark, but retain their flavor. Kaffir lime leaves stay a little tough, even after cooking. You can eat them, eat around them, or take them out after cooking.