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Beef Panang Curry Recipe

Updated on November 10, 2009

Panang Curry or Gaeng Panaeng is a dry Thai Curry which is fried in coconut milk or cream rather than being boiled. The curry should be dry and thick and not soupy like Green or Red curries. Usually it is made with Beef but can just as easily be made using Chicken, Pork or even seafood. The seasoning usually contains lime and Thai basil leaves.

Preparation: 15 Minutes

Cooking: 20 Minutes


This serves 4 people

Main Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 500g beef cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons panang curry paste (see below)
  • 1 can (250ml) coconut milk or cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Palm Sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 250g cauliflower flowerets
  • 100g green beans, cut into 5cm lengths
  • 4 Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Thai Basil Leaves for garnish
  • steamed rice, to serve

Panang curry paste

  • 10 Fresh red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 large cloves garlic, quartered
  • 4 green onions (green shallots), chopped coarsely
  • 1 stick fresh lemon grass, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh galangal
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • ½ cup (75g) roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • Sea Salt to taste


  1. First of all you need to make the curry paste. Toast the cumin, coriander and peanuts in a pan over medium heat. Roast until they are fragrant which is usually about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Put this mixture into a stone pestle and mortar and add the red chillies and sea salt. Grind until powdered then add the lemongrass stick and pound this into a paste. Next add the galangal continuing to pound the mixture. Lastly add the shallots, garlic, shrimp paste and peanut oil and pound this until it becomes a paste.. Then set the paste aside, this can be done in advance and stored in a fridge until required.
  3. Cut your beef into thin slices about 4cm long 1cm wide and 1/4cm thick.
  4. Add this to your frying pan which should be on a medium-high heat and quickly seal the meat until it is light brown. Then add the onion a fry for a few more minutes. Then add 1/2 the can of the coconut cream or milk. Bring this to the boil and then set aside
  5. Next add 3 tablespoons of your Penang Curry paste to your pan and mix well. Fry this mixture keeping the dish dry but not too dry that ot sticks to the pan. Whilst you are frying keep adding a little bit of coconut milk every minute or two until you have added all the milk. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn.
  6. Next add your meat to your sauce and cook the meat for about 5 minutes and add the lime leaves and palm sugar and also add the vegetables like beans and cauliflower, then keep stirring for about 5 minutes until the meat is soft. The consistency of the curry should be dry and sticky but not too dry if it is add a bit of water to loosen it up . Remove and serve.
  7. Garnish the dish with some shredded lime leaves and a few leaves of Thai basil.

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