Cooking like a Local – My Panang Curry Recipe in Thailand

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Here’s a fun twist on my usual worldly eats recipes – making it in its home country. While living in Chiang Mai I made it a mission to see if I could make my panang curry recipe for cheaper than the already cheap restaurants, ~80 – 100 baht or $2.50-$3.00)

A challenge but fun task. Here’s what I found:

Shopping List

Half the fun of re-creating my favorite panang curry recipe was sourcing local ingredients. For 40 baht (~$1) I hopped in a song tail (Think pick up truck turned bus) and headed to the Warorot Market. There I was able to pick up everything I needed to create the perfect panang curry recipe. This included freshly made curry paste. Typically I use red peppers, potatoes, chicken thighs, and asparagus. Here I tried to stick to the best in season vegetables.

Spices and other

1 can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
5 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Panang curry paste
6 teaspoons fish sauce
Thai chilli peppers (optional for extra heat)

Veggies

1 potato
6 baby corns
1 handful of mushrooms

Protein

1 tofu tube - sliced and fried

Carbs

1.5 cups rice

Extras

Since I was visiting I had to buy many of the above items in bulk or from scratch. Also my limited stocked kitchen required a few extras to complete this panang curry recipe. This of course, added to the cost.

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Steps

So with my panang curry recipe ingredients gathered it’s time to get cooking. This dish is super simple to make and can be varied hundreds of ways by using different curry pastes, vegetables, and proteins.

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Directions:

1. Get your rice going.

2. In large skillet heat 1/2 cup coconut milk

3. After a couple minutes add curry paste and mix until dissolved. Cook to let oil separate and for the flavour to come out. ~5 minutes but have heard the longer the better…I just can wait.

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4. Gradually mix in remaining coconut milk, broth, brown sugar, and fish sauce. Add kaffir lime leaves and bring this panang curry recipe sauce to a simmer.

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5. Add vegetables. Cover and cook until tender. (~ 3-5 min) Note: add hard vegetables first (potatoes, corn) and softer ones a minute or two later (mushrooms)

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9. Serve this vegetable panang curry recipe over rice and top with a lime wedge, and fried tofu.

10. Enjoy this quick and easy vegetable panang curry recipe!

The Results

Re-creating this tasty panang curry recipe in Thailand taught me two things:

  1. It is more than possible to re-create it cheaper than the cheap restaurants and…
  2. I make a pretty spot on panang curry recipe!

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Cost Breakdown

So just how cheap does this homemade dish workout to? ~ $1.00 per person. More specifically:

  • 2 tubes of tofu – 14 baht
  • 100g panang paste – 12 baht
  • medium sized fish sauce – 15 baht
  • 1 bushel of fresh lime leaves – 10 baht
  • 3 cups of brown sugar – 25 baht
  • 5 cups of rice – 35 baht
  • large coconut milk – 50 baht
  • potato, baby corn, mushrooms – 46 baht
  • 1 medium sized wok pan – 200 baht
  • 5 limes – 20 bhat

Total = 427 bhat…or about $14.

It may seem like a lot of baht and hassle upfront but each panang curry recipe batch serves six portions. On top of that the ingredients went really far and the cost of the pan upfront was almost half my bill. I made variations of this panang curry recipe several times while living in Chiang Mai and only had to buy vegetables and protein as the base ingredients.

Making this panang curry recipe at home may not be this cheap but I can say it is very close in taste. Give it ago. Would love to hear your thoughts!


What say you?
Thoughts on this Panang Curry Recipe?
Let’s hear it!

For more recipes from Asia and beyond see HERE.


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  • Aaron Kolle

    Thai food is so cheap. I would never think to make it myself while living there but I guess it does add up.

    • Yah it was more bc we had not cooked for ourselves in so long too. Made for an interesting excise!

  • Brenda Miller

    That tofu looks wonderful! I love Thai food!