Thai Panang Curry

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Super. Healthy. Curry. In just 15 minutes. The perfect 1-pot dish if you’ve got friends coming around, or when you’re craving some quick and easy weeknight comfort.
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
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Thai Penang Curry in white bowl with fork and le crueset pot in background

Excuse me while I dive head-first into this gorgeous, creamy, 1-pot Thai Panang Curry.

Remember way back at the beginning of lockdown, I hosted a week of Takeaway Lives on my Instagram? Well – this was the recipe I made on day 4, and I think it was my fav of the lot. Creamy, peanutty, delicately spiced… Pretty much the perfect mid-week dinner. Even my kids went wild for it, no complaints of spice to be heard of.

So good, I had to make a proper vid and put it on the blog for you! Think…

Creamy
Rich
Sweet
1 pot
15 minutes
Totally customisable
Perfectly balanced
& Incredibly delicious

Watch How to Make a Vegan Panang Curry

What is Panang Curry?

Panang curry (sometimes spelt phanaeng, phanang, panang, or penang) is a type of Thai red curry that’s thick, salty, sweet, slightly spiced, with a kick of lime and peanuts. It originates from Thailand, and is often served with pork as the main ingredient, and eaten with white jasmine rice.

What is Panang Curry Paste Made of?

You can make your own Thai Panang curry paste, but if you don’t have the time (my hand is raised), there are a bunch of pretty decent store-bought brands that contain no artificial additives.

Funnily enough, when I was buying the Panang curry paste for this recipe, I compared it with the Red curry paste by the same brand, and what do you know – exact same ingredients. Dried red chilli, lemongrass, shallot, garlic, salt, kaffir lime, galangal, cumin, and coriander seeds.

Buffy Ellen with Thai Penang Curry in white bowl with fork stirring  le crueset pot

What’s the Difference between Panang Curry and Red Curry?

The main difference is that Panang Curry has a little less chilli and slightly more mellow flavour, and also has roasted peanuts mixed through (which we do with good old peanut butter). Meaning – if you can’t find Panang Curry paste, just get Red instead.

One thing to look for with any curry paste is a brand that doesn’t contain sugar, fish sauce, or anything artificial. I used Cock Brand (no joke), and while this post is definitely not sponsored, I would definitely recommend their curry pastes.

Top down of Thai Penang Curry in white bowl with spoon, coriander, lime wedge and brown rice

How to Make Vegan Panang Curry

Panang curry is typically made with meat (pork or chicken), but it’s incredibly easy to make plant-based by simply swapping out the meat with tofu, tempeh, or in this instance – kidney beans. A little left wing I know, kidney beans in Thai food? But it seems to work – mighty well even.

The key to a good curry is to stir-fry the paste before adding the rest of the ingredients, to caramelise it a little and bring out the flavours of the spices. Then you’re just adding some coconut milk, peanut butter, a few other flavours (tamari, lime, salt), and whatever veggies you’ve got on hand.

I’ve gone with carrot, red capsicum, and broccoli, but anything goes. Just be sure to add your hardest veggies first (like pumpkin, kumara / sweet potato, carrot), then any onions, and finally your softer greens such as broccoli, beans, zucchini, or cauliflower. Whatever you do, aim for a rainbow – not only does it look prettier, it’s better diversity for your gut microbes too.

Buffy Ellen holding Thai Penang Curry in white bowl with spoon, coriander, lime wedge and brown rice

How to Make Thai Curry Healthier

Most Thai curries contain coconut cream or milk as the main sauce component, which helps create a rich, creamy, naturally sweet base. Store-bought curries also use a lot of vegetable oil to fry in, have sugar added (palm or white), and contain meat and thus a lot of saturated animal fat and trans fats too.

So, to make your Thai curry healthier, you can swap the coconut cream to coconut milk, use less of it overall, fry without oil, use a plant-based protein-rich base rather than meat, and pack it full of veggies. Or just make my recipe below, as I’ve already done all this for you! If you want to lighten it up even further, you can  serve it with cauliflower rice (blitz in a food processor to a couscous, then lightly steam in a pot for a few minutes). But in our house we love jasmine brown.

Top down of Thai Penang Curry in white bowl with spoon, coriander, lime wedge and brown rice

What to Serve with Panang Curry

I like to serve this Thai Panang curry recipe with:

  • Brown jasmine rice (but regular brown is also great)
  • A squeeze of lime
  • A generous sprinkle of fresh coriander
  • Red chilli flakes (always more spice for me), and
  • A pile of thinly sliced white cabbage (try it – the cold crunchy sweetness pairs perfectly with hot spicy curries)

Super. Healthy. Curry. In just 15 minutes. The perfect dish for if you’ve got friends coming around (you can make it en masse), or when you’re craving some quick and easy weeknight comfort. It batch cooks a dream too, and will keep in the fridge for 5 days, or in the freezer for 2 months. I hope you LOVE it!

Love a Good Curry? Try These Next

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment with a rating, and don’t forget to tag a photo @begoodorganics on Instagram so I can see what you come up with. Thank you sweet friend!

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Thai Panang Curry

Super. Healthy. Curry. In just 15 minutes. The perfect 1-pot dish if you’ve got friends coming around, or when you’re craving some quick and easy weeknight comfort.
No ratings yet
AuthorBuffy Ellen
Servings 4
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients

Dry

  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp panang curry paste
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 1 red/yellow capsicum sliced
  • 1 broccoli in florets (including stalk and leaves)
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 c water
  • 400g can kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tsp date paste (or coconut sugar)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ lime juiced

To Serve

  • 1 ½ c brown rice
  • handful fresh coriander chopped
  • ½ lime wedged

Instructions

  • Put the brown rice on to cook (1 ½ c rice + 3 c boiling water).
  • Cook the onion in a little water until soft, then add the garlic and curry paste for a few minutes until caramelised. Add carrot and cook for a minute, then add capsicum, broccoli, coconut milk, ½ cup of water, beans including their brine, and pop the lid on for a few minutes to steam. Add remaining ingredients except lime juice for a few minutes until heated through and sauce has thickened a little. Stir through the lime juice and turn off the heat (add extra chilli/salt here if desired).
  • Serve the curry on brown rice, topped with fresh coriander and lime wedges, and a pile of crunchy sliced white cabbage on the side.

Recipe Notes

  • Gluten free: Naturally gluten free.
  • Nut free: Use sunflower seed butter or tahini instead of peanut butter.
  • Sugar free: Use date paste instead of coconut sugar, or omit.
Pin of Thai Penang Curry in white bowl with spoon, coriander, lime wedge and brown rice

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