Panang Curry

4 servings


35 minutes

total time


1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 cup/1 ounce dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts

2 to 4 tablespoons red curry paste, to taste (see Tip)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

2 teaspoons fish sauce, plus more as needed

1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk (do not shake)

8 makrut lime leaves, deveined, 6 torn and 2 thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon grated lime zest, for serving,

1 1/2 teaspoons palm, granulated or brown sugar, plus more as needed

1 small, mild, thin-skinned pepper, such as a Fresno, Anaheim or banana pepper, or 1/2 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced

Thai basil, thinly sliced, for serving (optional, if makrut lime leaves are not used)

Rice, for serving


Prepare the curry paste: Heat a medium sauté pan over medium. Add the coriander and cumin. Swirl the pan around, or toss the seeds with a wooden spoon, and gently toast until fragrant, about 1 minute, taking care not to burn the spices. Transfer to a small plate and cool, then place in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and grind to a fine powder. Add the peanuts and finely grind until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, add the red curry paste and stir until mixed.

Thinly slice the chicken into 1 1/2-inch-long pieces. Place in a medium bowl, drizzle with the fish sauce and mix until coated.

Heat the same pan over medium-high. Scoop 4 tablespoons of the thick cream off the top of the coconut milk and add it to the pan; it will immediately sizzle. Stir until thickened and bubbling on the sides, about 30 seconds. Stir in the curry paste, to taste. Reduce to medium, and cook the paste, continuously stirring, until a thick paste forms and the coconut oil separates (the sauce “breaks”), 2 to 3 minutes. If it starts sticking, add a splash of coconut milk and scrape up anything from the bottom of the pan.

Add the torn lime leaves or zest and sugar. Cook, continuously stirring, to dissolve the sugar and infuse the flavors, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining coconut milk, increase to medium-high, bring to a boil and cook, continuously stirring, until the curry has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and has a layer of bright red oil on top, 4 to 8 minutes. The curry should be at a lively simmer; adjust the heat as necessary.

Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. If using, stir in the peppers, saving a few for serving, and cook until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Taste and add more fish sauce and sugar, if needed. (Be mindful, this is not a sweet curry; the sweetness should hit a back note, not lead with it.)

Garnish with the sliced lime leaves or Thai basil and reserved peppers. Serve alongside rice.


Serving Size




Total Fat

28 g

Saturated Fat

19 g

Unsaturated Fat

6 g

Trans Fat

0 g




364 mg

Total Carbohydrate

10 g

Dietary Fiber

3 g

Total Sugars

2 g


31 g

4 servings


35 minutes

total time
Start Cooking