Nutty Thai Beef Panang Dry Curry

Penang curry is a Thai dry curry made with a thick, rich coconut milk sauce that is flavored with chili peppers, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, cumin, and peanuts. It is typically served with chicken, beef, or tofu, and vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes.

Panang curry is native to the southern Thai province of Phuket, and is thought to have originated from a dish called kaeng som, which is a sour curry made with seafood. The addition of peanuts to Panang curry is believed to have come from Chinese immigrants who settled in Thailand in the 19th century.

Thai Beef Panang Dry Curry

Beef Panang Dry Curry

This a moderately hot, slightly sweet, rich curry. It is typically made with chicken, beef, or tofu, and vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes. Panang is a great Thai curry dish to introduce kids to the magical flavor of Thai curries and the soft creamy sweetness of coconut milk. If you want a milder curry for the heat-adverse, reduce or eliminate the chilis.
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Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Southeast Asian, Thailand
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Medium saucepan
  • Wok or large skillet


  • 2 cup Thin coconut milk
  • 1 lb. Sirloin or top round steak
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • cup Thick coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp Panang or red curry paste
  • 3 tbsp Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp Light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed
  • 5 whole Kaffir lime leaves, shredded (Sub: 1 tsp finely shredded lime zest for each lime leaf)
  • 1 cup Sweet basil leaves (Sub: fresh Italian basil)
  • 2-3 whole Fresh red chilis, seeded and shredded (optional)


  • Prep – Slice the meat across the grain into thin slices about 1½-inch long by ½-inch tall by ⅛-inch thick. Open 2 cans coconut milk. Scoop out 3 tbsp thick coconut cream from the top and set aside. Scoop out enough cream from both cans to fill 1 cup. Shred kaffir lime leaves and chilis, separate basil leaves from stems, and crush peanuts.
  • Bring 2 cups thin coconut milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add beef slices and salt. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until beef is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  • In a wok or large saucepan over medium heat, cook 1 cup thick coconut milk until it thickens and oil appears around the edges. Stir in the curry paste and cook until the oil separates from the coconut milk, about 3-5 minutes. Add fish sauce and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cooked beef and coconut milk from the other saucepan. Add in ¾ of the crushed peanuts, shredded chilis, shredded kaffir lime leaves, and basil leaves. Stir. Transfer to a serving dish. Heat reserved 3 tbsp thick coconut milk in the microwave and pour in the center of the curry. Sprinkle remaining basil leaves, chilis, kaffir lime leaves, and crushed peanuts. Serve with white rice and maybe a Thai salad.


  • Panang curry can also be made with chicken or pork.
  • Curry can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen, covered. Stop cooking right before the thick coconut milk and garnishes are added.
  • Finish heating up frozen or refrigerated curry in a microwave or on the stove. Complete dish by adding the 3 tbsp warmed thick coconut milk and garnishes.


Calories: 663kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 1392mg | Potassium: 905mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1773IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 4mg

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