Chicken Panang Curry

Listen y’all I didn’t know curry was a thing until I was 23 – TWENTY-THREE! I missed 23 years of the best food on the planet! I love it all friends – Thai curry, Indian curry, Indonesian curry.. all. the. curry.

So naturally I had to learn to make it at home. Here are some tips for this specific curry!

Go to an asian market if you can! While there look for –

  • Panang Curry Paste. This paste will be SPICY! Whenever I want more curry flavor but not as much heat I mix this curry paste with the Thai kitchen red curry paste which you can find in most grocery stores these days.
  • Kafir Lime leaves. These will either be fresh or frozen. If you get fresh ones you probably won’t need as much as you but and they keep well in the freezer in an airtight freezer ziplock! You can pull them out as you need.
  • Palm sugar – if you want! Brown sugar is a good substitute, but there is just something authentic about the palm sugar flavor
  • Thai basil – you don’t typically add this to panang so you won’t necessarily miss it if you can’t find it – but I like this in almost any Thai curry
  • lemongrass – aromatic flavor – again optional!
  • Baby Bok Choy – not necessary for the curry but I love bok choy in anything so I usually add some

SO lets get to the recipe!


Chicken Panang Curry


  • 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced (about 1 lb)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • carrot, sliced on a bias
  • 1 red bell pepper, seed and ribs removed, thinly sliced.
  • baby bok choy (or regular bok choy), rinsed and chopped – touch stems removed
  • Bamboo shoot (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbs freshly grated ginger
  • 2-3 cans coconut milk (I add a LOT of veggies so I use 3 cans, the less veggies, the less milk you’ll need).
  • ***3 kafir lime leaves (2 for cooking, 1 thinly sliced for garnish)
  • 1 stalk lemon grass (optional)
  • ***1 Tbs panang curry paste per can of milk (more or less to taste – read note on keeping flavor without as much spice because panang curry is SPICY)
  • 2 Tbs palm sugar (or brown sugar (more or less to taste – definitely more if using 3 cans of milk)
  • 1 Tbs fish sauce (more or less to taste)
  • salt (to taste – go easy because fish sauce is salty!!)
  • Thai basil, sliced (optional)


  1. Prepare chicken. Wash and prep all produce so ready to use when you need it. (For lemongrass you will need to cut of the rough top and outer layers, you will likely use the bottom 3rd of the stalk. you can bruise it with the handle of your knife or cut the stalk in half. Be sure to remove from curry before eating, it can be sharp and cut your mouth… yes I know from experience!)
  2. In a wok or other pan heat coconut oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add ginger and cook for 30 sec – 1 minute.
  3. Next add in your coconut milk. Once heated to almost boiling add in your curry paste and stir to combine, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Here you can add your lime leaves and lemongrass
  4. Then, add in the raw sliced chicken, it will cook in the coconut milk. At this point add in your fish sauce and palm sugar.
  5. Start adding in your veggies by which ones will take the longest to cook. Start with carrots. Allow to cook for 5-6 minutes then add in bell pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes and add zucchini which will take 3-4 minutes to cook. (Note: bamboo shoots are great to add at this point too if you like them!!). Once all veggies are tender add in the bok choy (if using) as it only needs to wilt for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. If too tangy, maybe add a bit more sugar. If doesn’t seem salty enough either add a little more fish sauce or salt (be careful not to over salt).
  7. Remove lime leaves and lemon grass from curry.
  8. If you want to add basil you can remove the curry from the heat and stir it in. The basil will quickly wilt and give it’s flavor to the curry.
  9. Serve warm with basmati rice and garnished with thin sliced kafir lime leaves (see image)

***Curry paste note: I said this previously but if you want to go easy on the spice you can do half panang and half Thai Kitchen brand red curry paste from your local grocery store. The curry paste you will buy at the asian market is extremely spicy for the typical American palate.

***Kafir lime leave note: If you can’t find these you can substitute with the zest and juice of one lime but I promise it will not be the same. The kafir lime leaves really give a familiar and unique taste to panang curry so I HIGHLY recommend the search!


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