Panang Curry Paste Recipe (2024)

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by Mike Hultquist · · Leave a Comment · Jump to Recipe

This homemade Panang Curry Paste recipe makes the best Panang curry with fresh ingredients! It's so much better than anything from the grocery store.

Panang Curry Paste Recipe (1)

Panang Curry Paste Recipe

Panang curry is a red curry recipe from Thailand and popular in Southeast Asian cuisine. The curry paste is unique and essential for the dish's characteristic flavor. It's made from dried chilies instead of fresh, resulting in a milder, smokier curry.

You can easily spice up the curry itself with other ingredients, but traditionally, Panang curry paste is on the milder end of the scale, depending on the dried chilies used to make it.

This curry paste is ideal for any protein, including chicken, pork, lamb, beef, shrimp or any seafood! It's also great with vegetarian versions. Consider eggplant, portobello mushrooms, or others. Feel free to include your favorite!

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Panang Curry Paste Ingredients

  • Chili peppers - I'm using dried guajillo peppers and Japones peppers for this recipe. You can use puya peppers in place of the guajillos. Thai chilies are more traditionally used, though dried red Japones or chile de arbol are excellent here. NOTE: The dried peppers are stemmed, seeds removed, and soaked in water until softened.
  • Fresh ingredients - Shallot, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, kaffir lime (leaves or kaffir lime zest).
  • Shrimp paste -For umami addition.
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Spices - Coriander, cumin, white peppercorns - all lightly pan toasted.
  • Water - As needed to think the paste, if desired.
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How to Make Panang Curry Paste

Process the curry paste. Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and process to form a thick paste. Alternatively, you can grind it by hand with a mortar and pestle for a coarser texture.

Thin with water. Thin with a teaspoon of water, if needed. Use as desired.

Boom! Done! Easy to make, isn't it? Just gather up your ingredients and grind it up. Your Panang curry paste is ready to enjoy.

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Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Add more ingredients. Other ingredients you might include are cilantro roots, coriander root, peanut butter (in place of roasted peanuts), lime zest, mung beans, and others.
  • Rehydrate the chilies. You can easily rehydrate your dried chilies by adding them to a bowl with very hot water. Bring some water to a light boil, then pour over the peppers. You don't have to boil the water completely, but hotter water works best. Let them soak in the water for 20-30 minutes until they are soft.
  • Toast the seeds. The recipe calls for the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns to be slightly toasted. Simply heat a pan to medium heat and add the seeds and peppercorns. No oil is needed. Dry toast them for 1-2 minutes, stirring, until they become fragrant, then continue with the recipe. This is not essential, though toasting the seeds brings out more developed flavor.
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You can store any leftover curry paste sealed in the refrigerator for 1 week, though I like to freeze it in sealed baggies. It lasts several months this way.

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Cookbook Recommendations

If you enjoy Thai cuisine, I recommend the following cookbooks which I used to adapt this recipe.

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Panang Curry Paste Recipe (8)

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

  • Thai Red Curry Paste
  • Homemade Yellow Curry Paste
  • Green Curry Paste
  • Massaman Curry Paste
  • Curry Pastes from Around the World
  • Curry Hot Sauce
  • Homemade Curry Powder

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Panang Curry Paste Recipe (9)


Panang Curry Paste Recipe (Prik Gaeng Panang)

This homemade Panang curry paste recipe makes the best Panang curry with fresh ingredients, so much better than anything from the grocery store.

Save Recipe

Course: Main Course, Seasonings

Cuisine: Thai

Keyword: chile de arbol, curry paste, guajillo, lemongrass

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute minute

Calories: 10kcal

Author: Mike Hultquist

Servings: 16 tablespoons

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  • 2 guajillo peppers seeds and stems removed (or use puya peppers)
  • 5 dried Thai chilies seeds and stems removed (or use chile de arbol or Japones)
  • 1 small shallot chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass chopped (bases removed)
  • 2- inch piece of galangal chopped (skin on)
  • 3 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds lightly toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds lightly toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns lightly toasted
  • Water as needed to thin


  • Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and process to form a thick paste. Alternatively, you can grind it by hand with a mortar and pestle for a coarser texture.

  • Thin with a teaspoon of water, if needed. Use as desired.


Makes about 1 cup of Panang Curry Paste.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 10kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 15mgPotassium: 31mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 128IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg

Panang Curry Paste Recipe (10)

Did You Enjoy This Recipe?I love hearing how you like it and how you made it your own. Leave a comment below and tag @ChiliPepperMadness on social media.

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Panang Curry Paste Recipe (2024)


What is panang curry paste made from? ›

Panang curry paste is the key flavor ingredient in the wonderful, savory-sweet Thai panang curry. Common ingredients used to make it include dried chili peppers, galangal, lemongrass, makrut lime zest, cilantro root and seeds, garlic, shallot, shrimp paste, salt, and peanuts.

How many tablespoons of curry paste should I use? ›

The amount of curry paste you use for one batch of curry depends on the strength of your paste and your personal spice tolerance, so taste the paste before you start! If it's really strong, start with about 2 tablespoons of paste for a batch of curry for four.

How do you use ready made curry paste? ›

Probably the most common use for Thai curry paste is in curries and stews. Cook the curry paste in a little oil first to bring out its flavors, then coat proteins — like chicken, pork, or tofu — and vegetables with the warmed paste before slow cooking until everything is flavorful and tender.

What is a substitute for panang curry paste? ›

Panang curry paste is what you'll see in authentic panang curry recipes, but it is somewhat difficult to find in the U.S. A great substitute for panang curry is red curry, because the two taste quite similar.

What is special about panang curry? ›

Panang curry is rich and creamy, spicy yet balanced, with underlying notes of peanut and coconut. I make my panang curry with lots of bell peppers and carrots, and optional tofu for extra protein. It's a perfectly satisfying weeknight meal for cold days.

What makes panang curry difference? ›

Panang curry is typically milder, sweeter, and richer, due to the addition of peanuts and the lower amount of chili used in the curry paste. Red curry, on the other hand, is often spicier and more aromatic, courtesy of a larger quantity of red chilies used to create the curry paste.

How many cups is 4 oz of curry paste? ›

To get the number of cups from fluid ounces, you divide the number of ounces by 8. So 4 ounces divided by 8 equals 1/2 cup. If you only have teaspoons, you multiply the number of ounces by 6.

How much liquid do you add to curry paste? ›

The recipe calls for a 1:1 ratio of red curry paste and water (2 tbsp. of each, if I remember correctly offhand), gently mixed over low heat until it achieves the right consistency.

Do you use a full jar of curry paste? ›

The whole jar is ample for a family of four but if you're cooking for two, the reminder can be stored in the fridge for 5 days or frozen.

How do I use store bought Thai curry paste? ›

2) Stir fry your curry paste (medium low) in the oil until the colored oil releases from the paste and it becomes very fragrant and aromatic (adding a bit more coconut milk to the pan from time to time when it gets too dry) For a store bought paste, mix 1/2 cup coconut milk with the dry paste to loosen, add this to ...

Do you mix water with curry paste? ›

The paste is mixed with coconut milk or water plus vegetables, meat or seafood, then served up on a bed of jasmine or sticky rice. You can also use Thai curry paste in warming soups and sizzling stir fries.

How do you store panang curry paste? ›

To store curry paste, transfer to a clean screw-top jar, cover with a layer of oil and keep in the fridge for up to 1 month. To freeze curry paste, spoon into ice-cube trays and freeze. Transfer to a sealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Is panang curry paste the same as red curry paste? ›

Panang - A similar paste to red, panang curry paste is more aromatic because of the addition of cumin, coriander seeds, and roasted peanuts. The peanuts also give panang its uniquely rich sauce.

What is the difference between red Thai and panang? ›

Usually, the Panang curry also includes a bunch of various vegetables. While very similar to red curry, Penang is usually seasoned to be less spicy than red curry and has the added ingredient of peanuts that gives it a sweeter flavor.

What is the difference between yellow curry paste and panang curry paste? ›

For example: yellow curry paste contains curry powder and turmeric, panang curry paste has cumin seeds and coriander seeds, massaman curry paste has a whole truckload of dry spices, and green curry paste uses fresh green chiles.

What is the difference between panang and massaman curry paste? ›

Massaman has much more complex in flavour and includes ingredients like mace (outer covering of nutmeg), cinnamon, clove and cardamon. These additional ingredients make this dish towards Malaysian and Indian flavours. Panang Thai curry is basically Red Thai curry's sister, just a sweeter and milder version!


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