Thai Panang Chicken Curry Recipe

Thai green chicken curry
Joff Lee / Getty Images
  • 90 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4
Ratings (83)

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 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 stove top if desired, being sure to cover it and stir occasionally until cooked.


What You'll Need

  • 1 pound chicken pieces, breast, thigh or drumsticks
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 red bell pepper or sweet red pepper, sliced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, or substitute bay leaves
  • 1/2 loose cup fresh basil leaves, left whole or roughly chopped if leaves are large
  • 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1-2 red chili, 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 can good-quality coconut milk

How to Make It

Make the Curry Sauce

  1. 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.
  2. Pour sauce into a casserole dish. If you'd like more sauce, add up to 1/2 cup good-tasting chicken stock and stir together.

    Add the Chicken

    1. Heat oven to 375 F.
    2. Add the chicken pieces to the casserole dish along with the cumin seed and lime leaves or bay leaves. Mix well.
    3. Cover casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes. 
    4. Remove from oven and add the tomatoes and peppers. Stir well, then return to oven to bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until both chicken and vegetables are cooked.
    5. Do a taste test and add more fish sauce if not salty enough or more coconut milk or a little yogurt if it is too spicy. If it's too salty, add more lime juice.
    6. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and serve with plenty of Thai jasmine rice (white or whole-grain).