Thai Panang Chicken Curry

A bow of Thai panang chicen curry served with rice

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
580 Calories
31g Fat
41g Carbs
42g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 580
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 17g 87%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 1211mg 53%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 12g 42%
Protein 42g
Calcium 354mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Thai panang chicken curry (also spelled penang like the northern Malaysian state) features a warm, rich red curry with flavor notes from Malaysia, Burma, and India. 

Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients in the Thai panang sauce. All of them require little to no preparation and are simply tossed in a food processor or chopper and easily blitzed. But without those ingredients, your dish will lack the rich, complex flavor it was meant to have.

Traditionally, this curry would be simmered on a stovetop or over a wood fire. For ease of preparation, this recipe gives directions for oven cooking, but it can be simmered on a stovetop if desired, being sure to cover it and stir occasionally until cooked.


Click Play to See This Thai Panang Chicken Curry Recipe Come Together


  • For the Curry Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 small onion (quartered)
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger, sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 to 2 red chilis (minced; or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili flakes, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (good-quality)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • For the Chicken
  • 1 pound chicken pieces (breast, thighs, or drumsticks)
  • 3 tomatoes (cut into wedges)
  • 1 red bell pepper (or sweet red pepper, sliced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 2 makrut lime leaves (or substitute bay leaves)
  • 1/2 loose cup fresh basil leaves (left whole or roughly chopped if leaves are large)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Thai Panang chicken curry is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for cooking.

Make the Curry Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make Thai panang chicken curry

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. To a food processor work bowl or blender, add tomato paste, quartered onion, galangal or ginger, garlic, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, shrimp paste, paprika, chili powder, coriander, chiles or cayenne pepper, turmeric cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coconut milk, and lime juice. Process well.

    A food processor with curry sauce

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Pour sauce into a casserole dish.

    A casserole dish filled with panang curry sauce

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Cook the Chicken

  1. Pre heat oven to 375 F. Add the chicken pieces to the casserole dish along with the cumin seed and lime leaves or bay leaves. Mix well.

    A casserole dish filled with panang curry sauce and raw chicken

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Cover casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes. 

    A casserole dish with Thai panang chicken curry cooked

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Remove from oven and add the tomatoes and peppers.

    A casserole dish with Thai panang chicken curry sauce and chicken, with tomatoes and peppers

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Stir well, then return to oven to bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until both chicken and vegetables are cooked.

    A casserole dish with baked Thai panang chicken curry

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Taste test and then sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and serve with plenty of Thai jasmine rice (white or whole-grain).

    A bowl of Thai panang chicken curry served over rice

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


  • When doing your taste test, add more fish sauce if not salty enough.
  • Add more coconut milk or a little yogurt if it is too spicy.
  • If it's too salty, add more lime juice.

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