No Thai cuisine is complete without a Panang Curry recipe.
Also spelled Penang, Panaeng, Phanang or Phanaeng Curry, this red curry dish is a sweet and spicy stir fry that uses a red chili paste made from herbs and spices to create an exotic, very sought after dish for all Thai food enthusiasts.
Panang Curry originates from the west facing city island of Malaysia called, Penang. With its welcoming rich, creamy, spicy and sweet flavors, this Panang Curry recipe is a perfect dish for Westerners not fully submerged into Thai food.. yet.
Easy Thai Panang Curry Recipe:
Panang Curry can be made with beef, chicken, or pork. I’ve also fully enjoyed it made with shrimp as well. Because we’re shooting for low carb Thai catered to a ketogenic diet, this recipe uses pork belly. The end result is not meant to be dry, nor soupy, so try to aim for a tender and moist finished result.
Panang Curry Recipe Instructions
Step 1. Prep Ingredients
- Pork belly, 200g
- Small eggplants, 3-4p
- Red Thai Curry Paste, 2 tbsp
- Coconut aminos, 4 tbsp
- Fish sauce, 1 tbsp
- kafir lime leaf, 3-4 leaves
- Thai Sweet Basil, small handful
- Water, 1/3 cup
- Coconut oil, 1 tbsp
Step 2. Slice the veggies
Slice the eggplant into thin slivers, then slice, then slice the chili peppers in a diagonal fashion as you can see in the image below.
Once sliced, you can scrape the sides of the chilis to de-seed them. This is an optional step I like to do. If you like the FIRE, feel free to leave them in. They make it spicy with or without the seeds. I’d suggest to keep it to two chili peppers, max. You can always add more.
After you’ve de-stemmed the kaffir leaves, slice them as well. You can toss the stems because we’ll only be using the kaffir leaf, not any of the leaf’s stem.
Set these aside as you prepare the sauce pan for what is next, the coconut oil, curry paste, and pork.
Step 3. Panang Curry Paste
We’re using the Mae Pranom brand Red Thai Chili Paste. Everyone in Thailand uses this one it seems, so I’d recommend it for your Thai cooking as well. However, there are many other just as good red chili pastes out there. I’ve never been disappointed with any of them. Just make sure they’re all natural and Thai.
To start the curry paste process, put the coconut oil on the stovetop pan over medium heat. After a minute or two, once the oil is getting hot, add the red chili paste. Stir this combination of chili paste and coconut oil around a bit and let it cook. Once it gets pretty hot, add the sliced pork belly pieces.
Step 4. Add the meat (pork for this recipe, but chicken or beef too)
Once the chili paste is starting to sizzle, add the sliced pork belly pieces in.
If this were a Panang Chicken recipe, you’d add the chicken here instead.
Step 5. Add the eggplant, fish sauce, coconut aminos, water
In order of sequence, add the eggplant slices in first.
These need to be cooked the most, so you want those in right away at this point.
Once the eggplant has been placed inside, and you’ve stirred it around enough to have a light coat of curry spice, add in the rest: water, fish sauce, coconut aminos, then the herbs at the end.
The order of sequence doesn’t matter with these.
To clarify one more time, at this step you are adding three things.
- fish sauce
- coconut aminos
Let this combination of greatness cook for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pork is cooked through.
This is what the final result will look like.
Once it looks like the image above, the pork or chicken should be cooked all the way through, and then you just need to add the chopped chilis and herbs.
Step 6. Panang Curry finishing touches
These are the final additions added to the curry at the very end:
- sliced kaffir lime leaves (or kaffir lime zest)
- sliced chili peppers
- whole Thai Sweet Basil leaves
I love banana leaves. They’re biodegradable and make cleanup MUCH easier. They’re everywhere, the trees grow fast and easy and are available to everyone where they grow. You can probably buy the leaves online for super cheap. Would be worth it if you buy more expensive disposable plates for certain times. We have a “khi bam” recipe that is cooked entirely over an open flame or stove top using banana leaf. I will link it here when I get it published on the Sprouting Fam site.
Alternative: Vegetarian Panang Curry
You can replace fish sauce with vegetable stock or simply omit and use the coconut aminos and no fish sauce. Tofu can replace the meat. This dish is a great one to make vegetarian if that’s what you’re trying to do. Vegetarian Panang is one of the few vegetarian main courses I really love.
Panang Curry Recipe
- 200 g Pork belly alternative: chicken or beef
- 15 g Eggplant small, round
- 2 tbsp Red Thai curry paste Mae Pranom Brand is best
- 1 tbsp Coconut aminos in place of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Fish sauce
- 4 whole kaffir lime leaves fresh if possible, dry OK too
- 5 g Sweet basil
- 1 tbsp Coconut oil for cooking
- 1/3 cup Water
- Around 1 hour before serving.Slice the eggplants and peppers and kefir lime leaves. For the kefir leaves, remove stems and slice into thin strips.
- At least 20 minutes before serving.Pour the coconut oil into a saucepan over medium heat. After a couple minutes, put in the Red Thai Chili Paste. Stir for a couple minutes before adding in all the raw pork belly.
- Stir over low heat for 4 minutes then add the thinly sliced eggplants, the fish sauce, and coconut aminos into the cooking pan.It will have a soupy consistency at this point. Stir occasionally over low to medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the chopped Thai Sweet Basil as well as the kefir lime leaves. Stir and cook a bit more, then serve.
- It can be enjoyed with a side of cauliflower rice if you want to keep it low carb. Or enjoy as is for a truly unique, quick and easy to make Thai Panang Curry.
LOOKING TO MAKE A VEGETARIAN PANANG CURRY?You can replace fish sauce with vegetable stock or simply omit and use the coconut aminos and no fish sauce. Tofu can replace the meat. This dish is a great one to make vegetarian if that’s what you’re trying to do. Vegetarian Panang is one of the few vegetarian main courses I really love outside of a solid greek salad (with real feta, so not really vegetarian).
BONUS: Panang Red Curry Paste Recipe – From Scratch
Here’s the bonus I promised you above. The very best red Panang Curry paste will always be made from scratch. If you’re feeling adventurous, homemade Thai pastes and sauces are always the best. The Panang curry paste recipe ingredients:
- 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, smashed and sliced
- 2-3 sliced fresh garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp sliced fresh ginger
- 1 sliced red chili
- 1 tsp coriander root (ground in mortar and pestle)
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp organic palm sugar (or try to replace with some fresh stevia tea)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- Himalayan or Sea Salt to taste
NEXT RECIPE: Authentic (& Easy) Khao Soi Gai Recipe