I’m obsessed with all Thai food, but out of all of them, THAI PANANG CURRY IS KING! At least in my book it is. When my husband Scott and I were in college we used to frequent a little Thai restaurant in Orem, Utah called Thai evergreen. We started going so often that I decided I really should learn to make some thai food, naturally I started with my all time favorite: Panang curry.
I love this recipe and that it actually comes together really quickly! I’ve included my favorite vegetables that I always add into the curry, but you can easily leave anything you don’t like out, or swap it out for other vegetables you do like!
Can I make this Thai curry vegan?
Yes! It’s actually super easy too! Simply leave out the chicken, you could even swap the chicken for tofu if you like! Fish sauce adds a nice salty flavor to this dish, but…you guessed it, it has fish in it. So what you can do to make it vegan is swap it for soy sauce!
I’m having a hard time finding some of the ingredients, what should I do?
When you look at the ingredient list you may notice a few items that are a little harder to find—Thai panang curry paste, fish sauce, and kaffir lime leaves. I’ve successfully found these items at Asian markets in California, Nevada, and Utah, so check out your local Asian markets!
Thai Panang Curry Paste
If you don’t have an Asian market near you, you can order Thai panang curry paste on Amazon (my favorite brands are Mae Ploy and Pantai) or you can substitute red curry paste which is available in the Asian section of most grocery stores. Red curry paste doesn’t have quite as good of a flavor as panang, but it’ll still be delicious! I’ve used it a few times in a pinch.
My favorite brand is Mae Ploy which you can buy on Amazon or at your local Asian grocery store! I also like the Pantai brand which you'll see below, I have found that brand in particular tends to be a bit spicier than Mae Ploy!
If you’re looking at fish sauce listed and thinking “Gross!” Let me explain, the fish sauce really just adds a good salty flavor to the curry. I am not a seafood person, and the fish sauce really enhances the flavor of the curry. I can usually find this in my local grocery store, but every Asian market will have this! And of course, amazon has it too!
Kaffir Lime Leaves
The last hard to find the ingredient is the Kaffir lime leaves. These are pure magic. They kind of have a combination of citrus and pine flavor that is just so fragrant it instantly brightens up the curry!
I always find them in a little bag in the fridge or freezer section of my Asian market. The lime leaves are very tough so make sure you slice them very thinly. The flavor of these Kaffir lime leaves is so good you won’t want to leave them out! Also, whatever leaves you have left over you can just bag up and pop into the freezer until the next time you need them!
I couldn’t find Kaffir lime leaves, is there something I can substitute?
YES! I really do recommend you try and find the real deal, because they are the BEST! They best substitution I’ve found is to use about 1 teaspoon of lime zest for each lime leaf you are replacing. This is not a perfect substitute—it will give you the citrus but not really that subtle pine flavor that comes with the kaffir limes leaves.
Can I swap light coconut milk for regular coconut milk?
Yes and no.
Full fat coconut milk will give you’re the creamiest and richest flavor by far. I’ve found that if I use all light coconut milk the curry is extremely watery. If you want to try and make it a little bit lighter in calories I recommend you only replace HALF of the coconut milk with light coconut milk.
Make your Thai Panang Curry Low Carb, Keto or Paleo friendly!
This is actually super easy you guys, so much of this recipe is already keto, low carb, and paleo friendly! Simply swap the brown sugar in the recipe for a keto or paleo approved sweetener. You could even leave it out completely if you don’t like to use sweeteners.
Instead of rice, use cauliflower rice! BOOM! DONE!
If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, I recommend you only add 4 tablespoons of curry paste and have some extra coconut milk (or even regular milk) on hand to tone down the spice if it is too much. If you like things really spicy, like me, top your Thai curry with extra crushed red pepper!
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Thai Panang Curry
- 4-5 tablespoons panang curry paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3-13.5 oz cans of unsweetened coconut milk 4.5 cups of coconut milk, see notes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 6 Kaffir lime lives thinly shredded
- 12 ounces skinless boneless chicken, thinly sliced
- 1 bell pepper sliced thinly
- 2 Roma tomatos diced
- ½ medium yellow onion sliced thinly
- 2 cups mushrooms sliced
- White rice cooked (or try cauliflower rice if you’re watching your carbs!)
- In a large saucepan, over medium heat, fry the curry paste in the oil. The curry paste should become very fragrant.
- Add in coconut milk. Dissolve curry paste in coconut milk until there are no lumps of curry paste left and bring to a boil.
- Stir in brown sugar, fish sauce, and lime leaves. Add in chicken and vegetables, keep at a simmer for 10 minutes until chicken is cooked all the way through and vegetables are tender. Serve over rice (or cauliflower rice).
- I recommend using full fat coconut milk; it will give the creamiest and richest flavor. Light coconut milk will make your curry very watery. If you want to use light coconut milk, I recommend using half light coconut milk and half regular coconut milk.
- To make vegan leave out the chicken and repalce the fish sauce with soy sauce
originally posted September 19, 2018