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Panang Curry Paste

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The best panang curries are made with homemade panang curry paste!

Panang curry paste is a lot like red curries but are slightly milder and usually sweeter, plus they have the delicious addition of roasted peanuts.

Of course, you can make your panang curry paste as spicy or sweet as you like. Shop-bought Panang curry pastes often don’t include peanuts for allergy reasons, but peanuts are a key ingredient, so as long as you aren’t intolerant, they must go in!

You will find my beef panang curry recipe right here

Panang curry paste

This paste will get you restaurant quality panang curry.


There are many ways to blend your panang curry paste.

The authentic and best way to make your panang curry paste is by pounding it in a pestle and mortar.

This can take up to 60 minutes depending on how fast and hard you are pounding.

That said, you can cheat. Try pounding it for a few minutes and then blending. It will be almost as good.

You could also just blend it. The finished curry paste will still be better than most pastes you can purchase.

Can this curry paste be frozen?

Yes! In fact it freezes very well. By making a batch or two and freezing them, you can make incredible and authentic panang curries in minutes.

Following are detailed photographed instructions of the pestle and mortar method.

Roasting spices.

Start by roasting the whole spices until warm to the touch and fragrant.

Grinding spices

Pound the spices in a pestle and mortar until you have a course powder and then add the white pepper.

Pounding dried chillies

Start adding the ingredients individually. I start with the hardest to pound.

pounding garlic

Add another ingredient. In this case garlic.

Adding galangal

It’s good to get the galangal in there early.

Adding shallots to mortar

The shallots are also good to get in early. Keep pounding!

Adding spur chillies

Be sure to get some fresh spur chillies. They are so good in this paste.

Adding lime leaves

Keep up the pounding. Fresh lime leaves are so good in this paste.

Adding peanuts to paste

Finish with the peanuts and shrimp paste. Peanuts break up easily.

Don’t forget… if you get tired of pounding, you can always through it all in a food processor. 

If you like Thai food, you might like to try some of these too…

How To Make Thai Red Curry
Green Thai Curry
Beef Massaman Curry
Thai Drunken Noodles
Tom Kha Gai Soup
Tom Yum Gai Soup

Yield: 4

Panang Curry Paste

Panang curry paste
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 generous tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 generous tbsp coriander seeds
  • 11⁄2 tsp white pepper
  • 12 dried red bird’s eye chillies, soaked in water for
  • 30 minutes and then cut into small pieces
  • 12 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of galangal, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh red chillies, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer part removed and
  • thinly sliced
  • 10 thick coriander stalks (about 1 generous tbsp) Zest of 1⁄2 lime
  • 4 lime leaves, stems removed and finely chopped 3–4 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste


  1. Heat a pan over a medium–high heat and toast the whole spices until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking. Transfer to a pestle and mortar to cool and then pound to a fine powder and add the white pepper.
  2. Add the red bird’s eye chillies to the pestle and mortar and start pounding it into a paste.
  3. Do the same with the garlic, then each ingredient up to and including the peanuts. You want the ingredients to become a nice buttery paste; this will take about 40–60 minutes. If you would like to cheat, put it all in a food processor.
  4. Once you have a smooth paste, add the shrimp paste and pound some more to incorporate. The paste will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks and it will freeze very well for up to 2 months.

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I hope you enjoy this panang curry paste. It is my favourite recipe for panang paste. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

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