A spicy, peanutty Thai Panang Curry filled with big, juicy prawns (shrimp).

Thai Panang Curry with Prawns

Ok, so Penang is a popular holiday destination in Malaysia but this is a different type of Panang. Thai Panang Curry, in fact. You’ll find this on the menu at your favourite Thai take-away and I found this when we went out with some friends to a lovely Thai restaurant a few weeks back. What’s your go-to Thai dish? Cashew chicken, all the way for me. Until now that is.

I’m  a huge fan of share-food or share dishes. Basically any dish you can throw in the middle of the table and everyone grabs a little bit of everything. I think it’s because there is no chance of me getting food envy (from which I suffer REGULARLY). Hehehe.  So, we went out for dinner and each ordered a dish.  Someone ordered the Penang Curry with Chicken and it was by far my favourite dish of the evening. It’s a coconut based warming, spicy curry with a distinct peanut flavour. It’s like Satay and Curry all in one. Yum, yum.

Thai Panang Curry with Prawns

I set straight out to research how to make Thai Panang Curry and decided to use Prawns (aka shrimp) ‘cause … well … just ‘cause. My tummy said prawns and prawns it received 🙂

Now, you could make the curry paste yourself from scratch but that’s a whole long list of ingredients you might not readily have or want to be leftover with, so I simplified this version by using a shop-bought Thai red curry paste (as I couldn’t find a Panang Curry Paste). I then added the extra ingredients to turn that into a panang curry paste. From all my research, this seems to be quite an acceptable substitution to make.

It also makes the shopping list SO much easier to get through. I will, one day, try to master my own red curry paste from scratch and I’ll be sure to let you know when I do. If panang curry paste is available, then by all means use that, but as you won’t use a full jar, you may be left with paste that you can only make Panang Curry with. Not such a bad thing, right? But if you use red curry paste, you can make a number of delicious curries. Thai Panang Curry with Prawns

So this Penang Curry is sweet, rich and creamy. Traditionally it is made with coconut cream rather than coconut milk resulting in a thicker sauce that is just meant to coat the meat or veg that you use. I used a combination of coconut milk and cream as I like a bit of extra sauce for my rice. So delicious.

I present to you Thai Panang Curry with Prawns. Now curry-up and give it a try (aaah, yep that just happened). Enjoy 🙂

Thai Panang Curry with Prawns

Penang Curry with Prawns

5 from 2 votes
A spicy, peanut-ty Thai curry filled with big, juicy prawns


  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp shallots , finely chopped **
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted peanuts **
  • 3 Tbsp Thai Red Curry paste **
  • 2 Tbsp peanut or canola oil **
  • 400 ml can of coconut milk *
  • 600 g raw prawn meat
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 270 ml can of coconut cream *
  • 1 Tbsp palm sugar **
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce **
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves , sliced very finely
  • 1 can bamboo shoots
  • 1 handful of bean sprouts
  • Rice or roti to serve


  • In a pestle and mortar pound together the spices and shallots. Add the peanuts and pound to grind them up too. Add the red curry paste and mix together thoroughly.
  • Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and fry the mixed curry paste for a minute or so until nice and fragrant. Add in the coconut milk and let the mixture boil until it is reduced to about half.
  • Add the prawn meat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for another minute.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients (coconut cream, palm sugar, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts) and stir for a minute or two until everything is heated through and cooked to your liking. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a little water or more coconut milk to thin it out a little.
  • Taste the sauce and season with a little more fish sauce if required (be careful as it is quite salty).
  • Serve immediately over rice and / or with some roti on the side


* I used light versions of both the coconut milk and coconut cream
** I use an Australian standard 20ml tablespoon
Have you tried this recipe?Rate or comment below and let us know how it was!

More Prawn or  Shrimp recipes

Salt and Pepper Prawns by Sugar Salt Magic


Szechuan Prawn Poppers by Sugar Salt Magic


Golden Sesame Prawn Toast (Shrimp Toast) by Sugar Salt Magic