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Quick and Easy Thai Panang Curry

April 17, 2013

By Kath Dedon

I’m so excited to be able to share this Quick and Easy Thai Panang Curry! It tastes very much like the Panang Curry we enjoyed so much at Thai Thai Restaurant.


Thai Panang Curry with Chicken (Panang Gai)

Thai Panang Curry with Chicken


For many years we loved eating at Thai Thai.  The owner, Sam, took the orders and served the delicious food. His wife was the cook. She was often helped by her sister, and, boy, could they cook! Their food tasted the way I imagined the best Thai home cooking would taste. It was Thai comfort food.

Bob and I often had lunch there, and it was our go-to place for takeout when I didn’t feel like cooking dinner. (We most often ordered Pud Thai and Panang Curry. And Tom Yum Gai or Tom Kah Gai, their excellent chicken soups.) Sam became a friend and we enjoyed conversations with him when we lunched there. He even brought us a bottle of Thai wine from one of his visits back to Thailand! (It was very good, too.)

Sadly, Sam succumbed to cancer two years ago and Thai Thai, after being a local favorite for almost 30 years, was closed. There was talk that his wife and sister-in-law were going to partner with a friend to reopen the restaurant, but that has not happened.

There are many fine Thai restaurants in our fair city, and many of them are quite good. We have not found another restaurant, though, that delivers the wonderful home-cooked taste that we enjoyed at Thai Thai. (Nobody even comes close to Thai Thai’s Pud Thai; I’ve learned not to order it at other restaurants.) 

So you can see why I am so glad that I discovered Mae Ploy curry pastes! My local Safeway carries Mae Ploy Red, Green, and Yellow curry pastes, but I really wanted Panang which I found at our local Asian market. The curry I made tasted so much like Sam’s wife’s Panang curry, I had to wonder. Could it be that she used Mae Ploy’s curry paste? I don’t know, but it is from Thailand (authentic), and it’s available in large restaurant-sized tubs, so maybe she did use it.

Quick and Easy Thai Panang Curry will now be in my regular rotation. I hope you can get the curry paste so you can try it and enjoy this Thai dish in your home.

Maybe now I should try to figure out how to make a Thai Thai-style Pud Thai.


I still have our Thai Thai Restaurant takeout menu. Yes, they had over 100 wonderful Thai dishes on the menu.

Thai Thai menu


Thai Panang Curry with Chicken (Panang Gai)

 (Inspired by the wonderful Panang Curry that was served at Thai Thai Restaurant)


I made the curry with chicken, but you could use beef (Panang Neau), Pork (Panang Moo), Shrimp (Panang Goong), or mixed seafood (Panang Talay). Feel free to substitute any vegetables that appeal to you for the bamboo and red pepper.

I used 3 tablespoons of the curry paste and we all agreed that it was 2 ½ stars on the 4* hotness scale. Use more or less to suit your taste.


(print the recipe)


Serves 4


Ingredients for Panang Curry


1 can (8-oz, 5-oz drained) bamboo shoots

1 large red pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil (other cooking oils are fine)

1¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized slices

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (13.66-oz) can of coconut milk (not lite)

3 tablespoons Mae Ploy Panang Curry Paste

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Steamed rice for serving


1. Put the bamboo shoots in a strainer to drain.

2. Cut the pepper into thin strips.

red peppers


3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the pepper strips and cook, stirring often, until the pepper is just barely cooked. Remove the pepper strips from the pan.

4. Add the chicken and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until it is no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the pan.

 Not done yetchicken breast


5. Put the coconut milk, curry paste, and sugar in the pan. Whisk it until the curry paste is blended well into the coconut milk. Heat it until it’s boiling.

Panang Curry Sauce


6. Stir in the chicken, bamboo shoots, and red pepper. Reduce the heat so the curry is just simmering, and cook for 5 – 10 minutes.

7. Stir in the fish sauce and serve over steamed rice.


 Mae Ploy Thai Panang Curry Paste

Panang Curry Paste


What’s not to love about these real food ingredients? 

Authentic? It’s from Thailand.

Note that it is NOT vegetarian; it contains shrimp paste.

good ingredients

23 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2013 4:31 pm

    Kath, you are hitting it out of the park lately! Everything you post is looking so good. Definitely trying this one, too.

    • April 17, 2013 4:35 pm

      Why, thank you, Dawn! Hope you can easily find the curry paste. 🙂

  2. April 17, 2013 9:26 pm

    I LOVE Thai food and can’t wait to try… Going to try this weekend! FYI… I found your blog whie lookng at another foodie blog! Lucky me… Thanks for sharing Kath! Take care, SasZ

  3. April 18, 2013 11:03 am

    I’m going to pass on this recipe to my daughter in Florida. She orders nothing but Panang curry when she goes to a Thai restaurant. This will make her very happy.

  4. Foxymoron permalink
    April 18, 2013 5:45 pm

    I wish I could still get the Mae Ploy pastes in the tub, only in sachets in this one horse, er type of curry paste, town. I won’t use anything else, and have never seen the Penang, must look for it when we go to the big smoke.

  5. April 18, 2013 6:15 pm

    The Thai Thai menu!! Oh how I miss it. Although this is a good substitute.

  6. April 22, 2013 4:06 pm

    Hi Kath. I’m so glad that you were able to replicate this beloved recipe. Thank you for sharing your affection for that restaurant and Sam. This looks just delicious!

  7. April 25, 2013 3:13 pm

    Sad to hear about Sam, but glad you were able to make this at home and think of him. It sounds delicious to me, I should make it for me and my husband and order the picky kid a pizza. Lol. Hope you have a relaxing weekend.

    • April 25, 2013 3:53 pm

      Thanks, Gina! I’d make the Panang Curry for you and your husband, and order a good pizza for “the picky kid” so I could enjoy leftover pizza the next day. 😉 Happy weekend to you, too!

  8. totallynavy permalink
    August 26, 2013 1:41 pm

    I just picked up some Panang curry paste at the market, and I’m so psyched you’re using the same brand! I’ll definitely try this recipe…it seems easy enough for even me to handle 😉

    • August 26, 2013 1:43 pm

      I think you’ll like it. It’s very simple. Use whatever vegetables you like.

  9. September 30, 2013 8:34 am

    Just found your recipe on a Google search and printed it out to try at home. We don’t go to Thai restaurants because hubby isn’t a fan, so here’s to a pot of 4 dinners just for me! Hoping it’s as good as I remember from past experiences… and that I can find the ingredients 😀

    • September 30, 2013 4:51 pm

      I hope you can find the ingredients, Ashley! I think you’ll like this one. And leftovers do heat up beautifully.

  10. Megan permalink
    January 8, 2014 5:09 pm

    Is the fish sauce crucial?

    • January 9, 2014 5:57 am

      Fish sauce is often used in Thai curries, but you can leave it out, if you wish. You might add a bit of soy sauce in its place.
      If you want to leave it out to make the curry vegetarian, bear in mind that the Panang Curry Paste that I used has shrimp paste in it. You may want to search for a vegetarian curry paste.

  11. Lauri Carrasco permalink
    February 22, 2014 8:48 pm

    I have been using your recipe for Thai curry, and I have made it at least 4 times in the last 3 months! My boyfriend and I are absolutely in love with it! Everytime I make it- we both eat way too much! I double the amounts so we have lots of leftovers! Next to try is your chicken GUI… Can’t wait- I’ve never cooked with fresh ginger- thank you for your tried and true recipes!

    • February 23, 2014 3:29 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Lauri! I really appreciate it. I think you’ll really like the Chicken Gui. I think I need to make both of these recipes again soon! 😉


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