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Panang Chicken Curry (Gaeng Panang Gai)

Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

Never shake the can of coconut milk! You want the cream to naturally separate and rise to the top. You can use that natural coconut cream like cooking oil to fry your curry pastes.


  • 6 cups coconut milk, with 3 tablespoons of the cream on top separated out
  • 4 tablespoons panang curry paste
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into a fine chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced brown onion
  • 1/2 cup Thai sweet basil, whole with stems
  • 1½-2 pounds chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup canned bamboo shoots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar



In a medium saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the thick coconut cream to high for about 1 minute. When the cream starts to sizzle, stir in the curry paste into the cream like building a roux. Add the lime leaves. Stir-fry the paste for about 1 minute, until the paste starts to thicken, dry out and become fragrant. If the curry starts to sputter, add a small amount of coconut milk to keep the paste moving. Cook the paste until it has the consistency of peanut butter.


Stir in the onions, basil and remaining coconut milk into the curry paste. Increase the heat to high until you reach a full rolling boil. Allow the curry to boil for about 10 to 20 minutes or until it reduces about 1/4 or coats the back of a wooden spoon.


Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the chicken, bamboo shoots, red bell peppers, fish sauce, tamarind and sugar. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve hot over cooked rice.