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Thai Beef Panang Curry Recipe

Updated on May 31, 2010

Everyone loves this very easy to prepare Thai curry dish. This requires that you pick up some chili paste and a little coconut milk, but once you’ve got the necessary ingredients in your kitchen the final preparation couldn’t be simpler.

Although buying the chili pastes feels like a bit of a cheat, very few people even in Thailand bother to make their own chili pastes any more – it’s just too much work and there is little advantage in doing so. My wife even seems to prefer the packaged brand at the supermarket to the handmade paste sold at my local vegetable market!

Beef Panang Curry

  • 1 lb of beef, thinly sliced. You can use beef from most cuts for this, as long as they aren’t too ornery. Top or bottom round, rump, sirloin, rib or rib eye or tenderloin are all good bets
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 Tbls of palm sugar (substitute white sugar if you can’t find the authentic palm sugar)
  • 3 Tbls of red chili paste – panang paste (you can but this in most Asian grocery stores, or easily online)
  • 2 Tbls of fish sauce
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 5 or 6 lime leaves, cut into julienne strips
  • 2 or 3 red Thai chilies (not the very small ones, the ones that are an inch or longer in length), cut into strips on the diagonal
  • 1 cup of water


  1. Heat the coconut cream in a pot until it starts to break (the fat starts to separate from the milk). Do this over medium heat and stir as it comes to temperature, as it can burn.
  2. Once the coconut milk separates, add in the chili paste and stir it to combine. Once the chili paste is hot and fragrant, add in the beef and the water and all remaining ingredients except for the lime leaves
  3. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes until the beef is cooked through and the sauce has reached a desired consistency (if it’s too thin, boil for a few minutes more).
  4. Taste for seasoning and add more fish sauce or sugar if needed and then transfer to a bowl for serving. Eat with steamed jasmine rice as a part of a Thai style dinner.

*This can be made equally well, some would say even better, actually – with tougher but more flavorful cuts of beef like brisket or chuck. If using a tougher cut of beef for your panang, add a little more water in the beginning and simmer for an hour or more, very gently, until the beef is reasonably tender.

Get the Chili Paste Online


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