Panaeng Curry

A few friends asked me for a recipe so I’m posting it here to keep track.   Having these things online is sometimes amazingly helpful when traveling.    Much of the details on my love of Thai food comes from another post for my Pad Thai.

Hands down my favorite Thai dish is Panaeng Curry…a nutty spicy creamy red curry that if done right is absolutely mouth-watering addicting.  So far I’ve found two local restaurants that do it to my liking; Nava Thai and Benjarong.  This recipe comes from the chef at Nava Thai.  The teacher I took my Thai food class from ‘studied’ under the woman who owns Nava.  Nava Thai is also next door to the Asian market I frequent to get all these strange but needed ingredients.

As with all Thai curries you start with a paste and whisk in coconut milk.  You can also buy canned pastes from good Asian markets.  I have tried the canned Maesri Panaeng Curry Paste and have been pleased.  Curry Paste freezes well so if you make a batch, use your ice-cube trays and save some for later.

Chicken Panaeng Curry 

4 jalapenos, chopped (seeds included for more spice)
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/2 cup chopped onion or shallot
1/2 cup chopped garlic
2 Tbl chopped galangal
2  Tbl lime zest, chopped
1/2 cup chopped lemongrass
2 Tbl shrimp paste
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2+ c coconut milk
chicken – as much as your family will eat.

  1. To make paste, place first 8 ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Can add water if needed to make smooth.
  2. Stir-fry about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of paste in the oil.  Slowly add half of the coconut milk and stir until boiling.  Add meat.  Slowly add remainder of coconut milk til you have reached your desired curry consistency.
  3. Keep stirring til meat is cooked.
  4. Serve with steamed  Jasmine Rice


  • Galangal is from the ginger family. You can find it in chunks (size of thumbs?) in the freezer section of most Aisan marts
  • Lemongrass is also found shredded in freezer
  • Other proteins can be substituted for the chicken.  Tofu should be cooked as desired before adding to the curry.  Do not over cook shrimp.
  • We love fresh bamboo shoots. Although traditionally they are only served in green curries…they are still yummy here.


  1. Thank you for posting this! Now green curry please. That’s my current favorite. I don’t know if I’ll have time to make the paste from scratch (although you never know), so pre-made paste recommendations are appreciated. I’ll have to try these restaurants and stores. They are on my list!

  2. This sounds yummy! We usually do Japanese-style curry, but I think I’ll have to give this a try!

  3. Quick question: how many cloves of garlic do you usually use?

    • midwestkids says:

      Oy I can’t remember. It’s 1/2 a cup of minced garlic so maybe 10+ large cloves??? Remember this will make enough paste for 2-3 batches of curry so it’s not like you are eating all this garlic for 1 meal.

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