Easy Vegetable Panang Curry

Is it faster to make curry than to have it delivered? We’re in. Panang curry is another Thai classic. We’ve already done Green and Red curries. Yellow and Massaman are also on the menu. Have you ever tried it? This is like the richer, milder peanut cousin of red curry. It’s so good!

It’s a veggie-packed version with easy-to-find ingredients. You can choose to add chicken or tofu as a protein. You won’t believe how easy it is to make. It takes only 30 minutes. We’ll show you exactly how to do it!

What is Panang curry

Panang curry is also known as phanaeng and panang. It’s a Thai curry that’s similar to red curry but thicker, richer, and made from peanuts. The flavor is salty-sweet, with a strong presence of cumin and coriander.

It is believed that the first written mention was in an 1890 recipe. It’s traditionally made with meats, such as pork or beef. Vegetables are not included. Find out more about panang curries and a traditional recipe at Hot Thai Kitchen.

The version we created is not the traditional one. It’s a veggie-forward version with a choice of adding tofu, chicken, or both as dietary protein. It features ingredients that can be found more easily in our area.

How to make Vegetable Panang curry

Start with a flavorful base of onions, garlic, and ginger sauteed in oil, followed by homemade panang curry paste. You can make our version fresh and spicy using a store-bought paste with a few modifications (such as adding more ginger omi, tasting salt, and adding maple syrup and peanut butter).

We add light canned coconut milk next to give it the richness and classic taste of panang curry without making it overly heavy.

It’s now time to add the vegetables (and the chicken, if you want) and simmer in the curry for a few minutes until they are tender and cooked. For a contrast in textures, colors, and nutrients, we like to use red bell peppers, spinach, and cauliflower. Feel free to experiment!

To ensure the best taste and texture, cook tofu separately until it is browned on both sides.



Tofu extra firm, 14 oz package, cubed into 1-inch cubes.

Buy 1 lb of sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts (local, pasture-raised meat if possible).


2-3 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil

Half a large yellow onion, minced

Four large cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed

1 Tbsp grated ginger (1-inch piece/ finely minced for a stronger flavor)

Use 2 to 3 Tbsp for store-bought curry paste.

2 (14 oz.) cans light coconut milk

Use store-bought curry powder and reduce/omit the sea salt to 1/2-3/4 teaspoons

1 or 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter ( optional).

1 or 2 Tbsp of maple syrup ( optional).

Cut one small red pepper into bite-sized pieces

Two cups of cauliflower florets.


Start cooking the rice or quinoa if you’re serving it with.

CURRY: Heat a large pot or skillet with a rimmed edge over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 3 minutes while stirring constantly. Add the ginger and garlic, and continue to sauté for another minute.

Start with less curry paste (store-bought curry paste is concentrated, so start with less!) Cook for 2 minutes while stirring every so often until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk, sea salt, and curry paste (omit/reduce these if you are using store-bought curry). At this point, taste and adjust, adding maple syrup or peanut butter to balance the sweetness or salt to add richness.

Add the cauliflower, bell pepper, and (if you are using chicken) to the sauce and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is soft, about 10-15 minutes.

Tofu: Heat a medium nonstick skillet or cast iron over medium heat while the curry simmers. Add 1 1/2 tbsp of avocado oil to the skillet (enough for it to cover the entire bottom). Then, add the tofu cubes. Fry for 2 mins per side until golden and crispy on both sides. After frying, you can transfer the excess oil to a plate lined with paper towels. Add the fried tofu to the curry once the vegetables are tender.

Add the baby spinach and stir when the vegetables have become tender. The curry is ready once the spinach has wilted.

The curry tastes great with a little lime juice, cilantro and peanuts.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4-5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *