Shrimp Panang Curry – hrimp panang curry is tangy, creamy, and packs subtle heat. I love eating out, especially Thai food, but there is something about making Thai curry at home. My recipe for easy panang curry is the perfect meal for busy weeknights since you can count on it to be ready in 30 minutes! I pair mine with steaming hot jasmine rice and fresh basil.
WHAT IS PANANG CURRY?
Panang curry, also spelled ‘phanaeng,’ is a Thai curry that originates from the island of Penang. The name of the dish comes from a Khymer word for cross. This a reference to how they crossed chickens’ legs before cooking them on the grill to prepare authentic panang curry.
Today, it’s one of the most well-known Thai meals – known for having a nutty, sweet, and aromatic flavor.
WHAT IS PANANG CURRY PASTE?
The key to the intense flavor and rich aromatics of Thai curry is curry paste. The ingredients for Panang curry paste vary from region to region and home to home, combining things like Thai red chiles, peanuts, galangal, cilantro, garlic cloves, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste, and lemongrass to make homemade curry paste.
Since many of these ingredients aren’t readily available in the United States and other regions, I recommend buying a store-bought paste to make it easy on yourself.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Shrimp: I used fresh jumbo shrimp because that’s what was on sale the week I planned to photograph this recipe, but I have made it with large, extra-large, and colossal shrimp with good results. However, you should adjust the cooking time depending on the size of the shrimp you use.
- Panang Curry Paste: When it comes to Thai curry paste, I have tried them all. Maesri Panang curry paste is the best by far! It’s also one of the few curry pastes that are vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Mae Ploy is a tasty alternative.
- Coconut Oil: Use coconut oil to bloom the curry paste and flavor the dish.
- Vegetables: I use yellow onion, red bell pepper, and shiitake mushrooms, but feel free to use the vegetables you have on hand.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves: Kaffir lime leaves add a unique flavor to the curry. Be sure to scrunch the leaves in your palm before using them to release more of their natural oils. And don’t worry about waste; you can freeze the extra kaffir lime leaves after use. They change color once frozen, but they retain all their flavor.
- Garlic: I suggest using three cloves, but measure with your heart.
- Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is a staple in Thai cuisine. Use full-fat coconut milk for a perfect, creamy consistency.
- Fish Sauce: This tasty fermented sauce provides an added boost to curries like this one.
- Basil: Bites of curry Panang with fresh Thai basil are the best ones, in my opinion.
ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
I love how flexible curries are, especially when it comes to mix-ins. They may deviate from truly authentic panang curry, but what home cook doesn’t improvise a little? Here are some suggestions for additions to make my shrimp panang curry recipe your own.
- Vegetables: Replace the vegetables in my recipe or add more of them. I like to include zucchini, snap peas, squash, bamboo shoots, potatoes, and bean sprouts.
- Nuts: Finish shrimp panang curry with toasted cashews or peanuts.
- Sauce: Stir a tablespoon of peanut butter into the curry for added nuttiness.
- Protein: Use chicken, beef, fish, or tofu instead of shrimp.
HOW TO MAKE SHRIMP PANANG CURRY
The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Defrost the shrimp in a mixing bowl. De-vein and remove the tails. Set them aside.
Step 2: Warm Panang curry paste and coconut oil in a wok until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until they become translucent and soften.
Step 4: Pour one can of coconut milk into the pan. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
Step 5: Reduce the heat to a light simmer and add mushrooms, keffir lime leaves, and the remaining coconut milk. The curry should thicken after 5 minutes.
Step 6: Stir in the reserved shrimp, and simmer for 5 minutes until fully cooked.
Step 7: Stir in the reserved shrimp, and simmer for 5 minutes until fully cooked.
SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS?
If you love this recipe, try one of these dinner favorites!
- Jasmine Rice, Brown Rice, Coconut Cauliflower Rice, Coconut-Lime Rice
- Pad Pak
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS
- Refrigerate – Store leftovers in an airtight container; it will keep for 2-3 days.
- Freeze – Let the dish cool, then transfer the curry to a freezer-safe container or bag. Shrimp panang curry freezes for up to 3 months.
- Thaw – Defrost the leftover curry in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheat – Warm leftovers on the stovetop over low-medium heat to avoid overcooking the shrimp.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What’s the difference between panang Thai curry and red Thai curry?
The difference in flavor comes down to the curry paste. Panang curry paste includes tangier ingredients and often includes red chilies, peanuts, cilantro, garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and shrimp paste. The primary ingredient they share is red chilis, which red Thai curry paste incorporates more of, making it spicier than panang.
Can I make panang curry vegetarian? Can I make it vegan?
Where can I buy panang curry paste?
Some major grocery stores carry panang curry paste in the International section, but I am not a fan of the brands they carry. Your best bet is taking a trip to your local Asian market. I am loyal to Maesri curry paste, but Mae Ploy is a great alternative. If you can’t find paste for panang curry, buy red curry paste and use a mortar and pestle or food processor to add lemongrass and peanuts; this will get you pretty close to the authentic flavor.
Is panang curry spicy?
The curry is nutty, creamy, tangy, and slightly spicy. If you’re concerned about heat, consider reducing the curry paste or adding peanut butter to tone it down. You can also use more coconut milk.
Did you try this recipe? I would love to hear your feedback. Consider rating the recipe and leaving a comment below.
Shrimp Panang Curry
- 2 pounds jumbo shrimp, (fresh or frozen)
- 1 can Panang Thai Curry Paste, 4-ounce, whole can for spicy, ½ can for mild
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ can coconut milk, full-fat, plus more if you prefer less spicy
- 1 package shiitake mushrooms, quartered
- 3-4 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- Thai basil, to garnish
- 1 lime, zested, slices to garnish
- Defrost the shrimp in a mixing bowl. Devein and remove the tails. Set aside.
- Warm Panang curry paste and coconut oil in a wok until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the onions become translucent and soften.
- Pour one can of coconut milk into the pan. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a light simmer and add mushrooms, kaffir lime leaves, and the remaining coconut milk. The curry should thicken after 5 minutes. If the curry doesn't thicken, add two tablespoons of cold water and stir to combine.
- Stir in the reserved shrimp, and simmer for 5 minutes until fully cooked.
- Off heat, add the fish sauce, and garnish with Thai basil leaves. Serve with jasmine rice, and enjoy!
- The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.