Panang Curry Serving Presentation

Panang Curry


Sometimes also spelt as Panaeng Curry this is one of my favourite dishes. Actually to my mind the correct spelling of the dish should be “Panaeng” but Google thinks otherwise! It’s sometimes stated that this dish originates from the Malaysian island of Penang. I don’t buy that at all but it’s a fight I will leave to others!

I’m cooking this with beef. I think that this is a dish that benefits from slower cooking, so although it can be cooked quickly using rump steak I prefer to use braising steak or similar. This will produce a dish where the melting texture of the slow cooked beef and the richness of the sauce is a heavenly combination! I’m garnishing it with some kaffir lime leaf and some mild red chillies. For around 500g of beef you need 1 pouch of Panang paste and 1 can of coconut milk. The pastes are complete but it is always a good idea to have a little lime juice to hand to adjust sweetness, if needed, to your personal taste at the end of cooking. You also adjust saltiness by adding a little more fish sauce or salt if required. I’m often asked about using a slow cooker for Thai curries, any recipe using coconut milk in a slow cooker has to be adapted so please read this article here first. Slow cooker curry.


Ingredients for Panang Curry

Make  sure you’re using the “right” type of coconut milk as it will make or break this or any other coconut based curry. Quick guide here, Coconut Milk Summary or if you would like to see the difference between different brands of coconut milk the full article is here; Cooking Thai Curry with Coconut Milk. Just use half a can to start with, if it has separated in the can to a thick part at the top of the can then use the top part. You can add the remaining coconut liquid later depending on how thick you want your curry to be. The “traditional” method of heating the milk until it separates from it’s oil and using it to cook the paste is not something I recommend as can be be  hard to achieve consistent results with canned coconut milk.

Add the paste to the pan and heat for a minute or two until it starts to cook.

Use half the coconut milk, stir through until it starts to bubble.
Add coconut milk to pan and stir

Add the meat and heat while stirring.

Add the rest of the coconut milk ensuring the meat is just covered, add water if needed. Cover pan with a tight fitting lid. You can continue to cook this on the hob or transfer to the oven at 160C. If cooking on the hob use a low heat, checking and stirring from time to time to prevent it sticking, add water if need be. Cooking time will depend on the cut of meat, about 90 mins for braising steak. It should be tender, almost falling apart. If the coconut milk has released too much oil for your taste then just scoop some from the top.

Adjust with coconut milk

Apart from serving it as a “normal” Thai curry in the top picture, this is a popular way of serving it in our house, usually while watching a football game or movie. Tastes great in a baguette or grilled sourdough bread! The origins of Panang curry suggest anyway that it was originally a very dry curry, most likely cooked as grilled meats over charcoal, so maybe this is not a too outrageous way to eat a Panang curry, tastes great and that, for me anyway, is reason enough:-) Enjoy!

Serving-Presentation-2 Panang Curry

UPDATE. Comments box added.


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Panang Curry


Panang curry, also spelled Panaeng, is one of those curries that makes me want to cry when I read online recipes of how to make the paste or read the ingredients on a jar of paste.  So often it is treated as a red curry with the addition of peanut butter. The list of crimes committed against this curry paste is only surpassed by the crimes against Thai green curry paste. It’s a complex curry with a complex taste. And if you ever see it offered as a paste not containing nuts you should take to your heels as the nuttiness of it is an essential part of the curry paste. That’s it, my rant is over so let’s get cooking!



1 packet of My Thai Curry Panang Curry paste

500 g of beef sliced into chunks. See notes at end of recipe.

400 mL can of coconut milk.

1 fresh lime

3 mild red peppers for garnish and/or Kaffir lime leaves/Thai basil.


Put the curry paste in the pan and heat for a minute or two until it starts to bubble.

Add half a can of coconut milk to the pan and stir through and continue to heat.

Add the meat to the pan whilst stirring.

Empty the the remaining coconut milk into the pan ensuring the meat is covered, bring to a simmer, and cover the pan.

Cooking times depend on your choice of meat so refer to the notes at the bottom.


This can be cooked with rump or bavette steak which would take about 10 to 15 minutes.  Or it could be cooked with braising steak or a similar cut which could take about 90 minutes.

If cooking with the tougher cuts of meat it can also be transferred to the oven and cooked at 160°C/Gas mark 3. If using the oven method make sure you have a tight-fitting lid. If you wish you can scoop off any excess oil before serving. If cooking for a long time on the hob, check and stir from time to time to make sure the sauce does not burn, and add water if necessary.

Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Serve with Thai Jasmine rice.

As always using the “right” type of coconut milk is a game-changer. See here.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Thai


  • Serving Size: Per person
  • Calories: 569
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 314.3 mg
  • Fat: 41.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 29.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.2 g
  • Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Protein: 41.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 110 mg

Keywords: Beef, Panang, Panaeng

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