Beef Panang Curry

Explore the rich depths of flavor in our Beef Panang Curry, where fiery Panang curry sauce, velvety coconut milk, zesty lime leaves and crunchy peanuts meet for an unforgettable taste sensation, ready in 30 minutes!

Beef Panang Curry on a plate served with rice.

The thing I love most about Thai cooking is how incredibly easy it is. Very few recipes call for techniques more advanced than basic knife work, mixing, and stir-frying.

Maybe that’s why I never really got into French cooking; it’s simply too much work! Once you have the basic methods down for making a stir-fry, Spicy Thai Chicken Soup, Easy Thai Fried Rice, and curry, you can exercise your own creative tendencies and make just about anything you like, including this Panang Curry recipe.

What is Thai Beef Curry?

Beef Panang Curry is a rich and flavorful Thai dish that features slices of tender beef simmered in a thick, aromatic curry sauce. A blend of Panang curry paste makes the sauce, which is a type of Thai red curry paste that includes dried chili peppers, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime peel, and other spices. It’s combined with creamy coconut milk, fish sauce, and palm sugar. It’s typically garnished with kaffir lime leaves and ground peanuts, which add texture and enhance the flavor. Known for its perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory elements, this dish is often served with steamed jasmine rice.

Reasons to Love This Curry

  • Thai Beef Curry offers a sophisticated blend of spices that delivers a complex and satisfying taste profile.
  • The coconut milk creates a rich, creamy sauce that’s irresistible and comforting.
  • The beef provides a substantial, high-quality protein that makes the meal filling and nutritious.
  • I love that Thai cuisine balances sweet, sour, salty, and spicy, and this Thai Panang Curry captures this harmony perfectly.

Recipe ingredients

Beef Panang Curry on a plate.
  • Panang Curry Paste: The key flavoring agent that gives the dish its distinctive taste and aroma.
  • Fish Sauce: Adds the essential savory, umami flavor that is characteristic of many Southeast Asian dishes.
  • Ground Peanuts: Contribute a nutty flavor and slight crunch.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Beef Panang Curry

Step #1: Pour a half cup of coconut milk into a wok or skillet set over medium-high heat. Once hot and foaming, add the Panang curry paste and use the back of a wooden spoon to break apart any large chunks. Stir the curry paste and the coconut milk until fully combined.

Step #2: Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the coconut milk, water, fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime leaves. Let simmer for a few minutes, then add the thinly sliced beef and stir.

Step #3: Cook the beef, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or more as needed to fully cook. Add the ground peanuts and reduce the heat to low. Stir to combine the peanuts with the curry.

Step #4: Just before serving, turn off the heat and remove the wild lime leaves. Add the basil leaves and stir. Serve with rice.

Beef Panang Curry on a plate garnished with basil leaves.

Expert Tip

To prepare semi-homemade Panang Curry Paste, start by toasting cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Grind them to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle for the best flavor release. Then, finely grind roasted peanuts (or an alternative if allergic) using the same mortar and pestle. Combine this mixture with your red curry paste, adding fermented shrimp paste if desired for enhanced flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brands of Panang curry paste do you recommend for making Thai Beef Panang Curry Recipe?

For authentic flavor, brands like Mae Ploy, Maesri brand, and Thai Kitchen are widely recommended. They offer a good balance of spices that are essential for creating a traditional Beef Panang Curry.

Can I use beef short ribs instead of sliced beef for Beef Panang Curry?

Absolutely! You can use beef short ribs for a richer flavor and a more tender texture. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as short ribs take longer to become tender.

Is it suitable to cook Beef Panang Curry in a Dutch oven?

Yes, a Dutch oven is excellent for making Beef Panang Curry because its heavy bottom provides even heat distribution. It allows flavors to develop fully and meat to become tender without scorching.

Storage Info

You can store Beef Panang Curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, it freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

To reheat, gently warm it on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally, to prevent the coconut milk from separating. Avoid microwaving as it can unevenly heat the curry and affect its texture.

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Beef Panang Curry on a plate served with rice.

Beef Panang Curry Recipe

Explore the rich depths of flavor in our Beef Panang Curry, where fiery Panang curry sauce, velvety coconut milk, zesty lime leaves and crunchy peanuts meet for an unforgettable taste sensation, ready in 30 minutes!
4.5 from 12 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Diet: Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 364kcal
Author: Linda
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Ingredients

  • 1 c. coconut milk* - divided
  • 2 Tbsp. Panang curry paste**
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. palm sugar***
  • 3 wild lime leaves****
  • 1/2 lb. boneless beef - such as tri-tip, very thinly sliced crosswise into 2-inch strips
  • 3 Tbsp. ground peanuts*****
  • 1/4 c. basil leaves - preferably Thai basil leaves or Holy basil, roughly chopped
  • * See notes below for substitution options
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Instructions

  • Pour a half cup of coconut milk into a wok or skillet set over medium-high heat. Once hot and foaming, add the Panang curry paste and use the back of a wooden spoon to break apart any large chunks. Stir the curry paste and the coconut milk until fully combined.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the coconut milk, water, fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime leaves. Let simmer for a few minutes, then add the thinly sliced beef and stir.
  • Cook the beef, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or more as needed to fully cook. Add the ground peanuts and reduce the heat to low. Stir to combine the peanuts with the curry.
  • Just before serving, turn off the heat and remove the wild lime leaves. Add the basil leaves and stir. Serve with rice.

NOTES

* When I have a recipe that calls for just part of a can of coconut milk, I like to use the leftovers to replace part of the water used to make rice. It really adds a delicious flavor and texture to the rice and keeps me from finding wasted Tupperware containers of coconut milk in the back of my fridge.
**Substitute red curry paste or Massaman curry paste if you don’t have Panang.
***Use brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar.
****Wild lime leaves make all the difference in the world, but the curry will still taste delicious without them. If you can’t find any, substitute 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice. If using lime juice instead, add it at the very end along with the basil.
*****I threw some peanuts in my food processor until ground, but you could also use regular peanut butter.
You can store Beef Panang Curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, it freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
To reheat, gently warm it on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally, to prevent the coconut milk from separating. Avoid microwaving as it can unevenly heat the curry and affect its texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 817mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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  1. Without question, you have the most informative food blog of all I subscribe to! Just5 exceptional recipes from all over the World! Simply the best!!