Caution: Caveman Cooking

Recipes so easy, even a … Well, you know!

Chicken Panang (Thai Red Curry in Coconut Milk)

Posted by Caveman Cooking on December 31, 2009

Food Buzz Top 9 for Caution: Caveman Cooking

This recipe was honored with a FoodBuzz Top 9!

This is delicious, traditional Thai table fare. It has a little heat, but it gets cut by the Coconut Milk. Definitely worth a try!


2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Can (19 oz.) Coconut Milk
2 oz. Thai Panang Curry Paste (or substitute Thai Red Curry paste)
3-4 Garlic Cloves
2 Medium Carrots, peeled
1/3 Pound French Green Beans, rinsed
4 Large Fresh Basil Leafs, rinsed
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil


NOTE: I usually use peas and red bell pepper instead of green beans, but I saw an opportunity to get two ingredients into the Freezer Food Fest. It also goes to show that this recipe can accommodate just about any tweeks you want to attempt. Try broccoli, snap peas, bamboo shoots, etc. They all work incredibly well and help create variety for each incarnation of this delicious dish.
Chop carrots, mince garlic, and slice basil. Set aside.
HINT #1: Try to get authentic Thai Panang curry paste and Thai coconut milk, if you can. The taste and texture difference from their Americanized counterparts is very noticeable. If you can’t find Panang paste use the widely available Thai Red Curry paste and add some ground Kaffir Lime leaves (again, if you can find them) or zest of lime.

Cut chicken breasts into medium bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Heat oil in wok or stir-fry pan. Add garlic and curry paste, saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken to pan. Cook fully.
HINT #2: If things start to get too dried out in the pan, add a small splash of the coconut milk or some water.

Add green beans and carrots … everyone into the pool!  Stir in for about a minute.

Add Coconut milk and stir in well.

Stir in basil while barely bringing liquid to a light boil (just starting to show bubbles).
NOTE: Notice another great hand-model “headshot”. Though, I’ve decided against a new career in metacarpus modeling … I don’t think I could hang with daily manicures. 😉

Remove from heat and serve over steamed rice along with some Thai Table Sauce (Prik Nam Pla).

HINT #3: This recipe can easily be made veggie-friendly. Just substitute some Extra Firm Tofu for the chicken. Be sure to lightly brown the Tofu in a little bit of oil FIRST. Then proceed as chronicled above.

Tofu Panang

Prep Time = 12 minutes
Cook Time = 15 minutes
Serves 4-6

©2009 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This recipe originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at authored by Caveman. This recipe may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

34 Responses to “Chicken Panang (Thai Red Curry in Coconut Milk)”

  1. boredcook said

    I think I’m going to try this tomorrow! I just bought 3 huge packages of boneless chicken breasts they had on sale for 1.49 lb. yesterday. Some I packed up and froze but I left one package out figuring I would try something. Of course I don’t have all the ingredients, and since we woke up to a blinding snow storm this morning, I’m not running out to get them. But tomorrow is another day.

  2. Kristi said

    Love your pictures! I have everything I need to make this. I can’t wait to try it!

  3. bunkycooks said

    This looks great. I will have to try it one night soon with Lite Coconut Milk (gotta diet sometime!). Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Chicken is my favorit. Great recipe…

  5. Nice looking panaeng!! One of the fondest childhood memory is when they started serving very mild version of panaeng chicken at the cafeteria in grade school (I grew up in Bangkok, by the way). It looked kind of like yours, except with 1-inch pieces of Chinese long beans instead of the haricots verts.

    One minor thing, though, panaeng curry is always made with panaeng curry paste, not red curry paste. They’re similar, but panaeng curry paste has a more distinct kaffir lime taste. At least, that’s the way Mom made it. From the picture, it looks like you used panaeng curry paste, but the recipe says red curry paste. It’s delicious either way, but using panaeng curry paste would make it more authentic.

    Great blog!

    • Thank you so much, Leela, for your sharing your memories and comments. Growing up in Bangkok must have been a fantastic experience.
      Good point about the different curries. I guess I wasn’t clear enough when I said try to get “authentic Thai ingredients”. I will make note in the ingredients list. As you can see in the pic, it was indeed Panang curry. The problem is, unless you have access to the real thing, most folks can only get the Americanized “Red Curry” paste. While either could work, the most authentic flavor, as you say, comes from the Panang version. Though, if you are forced to use the plain red variety, adding some ground Kaffir Lime leaves (again, if you can get them) or just some zest of lime really helps get you the desired flavor.
      Happy New Year!

  6. Cleo Coyle said

    Fantastic recipe – so easy to follow, especially with your great photos. I also enjoyed your exchange with Leela (the comment above my own) and will keep the lime zest in mind. You are so right that it is not always easy to find authentic ingredients in American stores and although I find online shops a big help in getting hard-to-find ingredients, not everyone wants to go to that trouble.

    Cheers, Happy New Year, and Happy Cooking!

    ~ Cleo Coyle
    author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries

    • Thank you so much, Cleo! I find that I am buying more and more of my ingredients and equipment online. You can actually find those little known or hard to find ingredients, and usually at a great price. For years, I have gotten a lot of what I put into my food from World Spice Merchants. They have an incredible selection of fresh spices and blends from around the world. Plus, I just love the way they do business … you place an order and they send it along with an invoice due upon receipt. Not, COD, mind you. Just send a check when you get it!
      Recently, I have also been using some of the rubs and blends from Texas Select Seasonings. The owner, Wild Bill, is a hoot! And, he is quite a chef, too. Some of his Venison and other game recipes are to die for!
      By the way, neither of these folks pay me to say that. These are products that I use and believe in all on my own. I’m just trying to illustrate my point that the internet has really become my culinary connection.
      If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love your site! It makes me wish I drank coffee. 😉 Your recipes sound incredible and congrats on all the ’09 Top 9’s! Happy New Year to you and yours!!

  7. JP Winker said

    I’ll be trying this one – my new year’s resolution is to learn more Thai cooking. I can’t think of a better place to start. Thanks for the recipe and all the pictures – these are great directions.

  8. Cleo Coyle said

    Just a quick note of (belated) thanks for the good tips on where you like to buy ingredients online. It’s very helpful to know when people have good personal experiences with online merchants. And thanks also for the very nice words about my Coffeehouse web site – much appreciated!) Happy New Year to the Caveman family!


    • Thanks, Cleo! I’ve been buying stuff online from World Spice Merchants for about 10 years now (WOW … time really flies, doesn’t it? :|). It all started from a simple stroll into their shop because of the aromas emanating from there. They have been nothing short of spectacular when it comes to their customer service. Once, one of the sealed bags their spices are shipped in ripped open spilling about half of the contents into the shipping box. A quick call to them resulted in an entire new bag (even though I still had half the contents) arriving at my door in two days … free of charge, of course.
      Texas Select Seasonings is a newer resource for me, having used them for about a year, now. But, they, too, are top notch. The owner, Wild Bill, is one of the nicest, most generous folks you’ll ever meet and his stuff is delicious.
      The WSU Creamery is another place where the folks are friendly, the customer service fantastic and the products to die for.
      Again, none of these places compensate me in any way to say these things. I am just a very satisfied, paying customer!

  9. Chili said

    Oh Man, I am whipping up some of this chicken tomorrow. Looks great. Awesome pictures Caveman!

  10. Alisa said

    Thanks for sharing this recipe,it was really good.I tried making a small batch of this(even added some potatoes)and my husband and son really liked it!I saw your site from the foodieblogroll and if you won’t mind, I’d love to guide foodista readers to your site.Just add a foodista widget at the end of this blog post and it’s ready to go.Thanks!

  11. I think I could make this. Typically, I don’t do well with Thai Curry. It usually ends up to hot for anyone to eat. Do you think a light coconut milk would work?

    • Hey, Momma Rim! You could definitely do this!! Never tried it with lite coconut milk. It should work fine, but it might not cut the heat of the curry paste as well. Just remember the more paste you add the hotter it gets. Don’t make it look too red, should have more of a light orange hue to it when made just right.

  12. Lovely the sauce looks great also. This just gives me another idea that I should dedicate a week to Thai Cuisine.

  13. It’s going to be a long drive for a dinner.

  14. Cassandra said

    This dish is one of my favorite foods of all time! Looks great.

  15. Peter said

    I usually dont write to blogs but i enjoyed your site and would like to say it. Best wishes. Peter

  16. Nicki said

    ive been looking for a recipe like this for a long time. i cant wait to try it.

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