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5 from 1 vote

Panang Curry Paste

Bold, rich, and aromatic, Thai panang curry paste is full of warm spices, peanuts and has a slightly sweet heat! A "starter" curry paste.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time3 minutes
Total Time18 minutes
Course: condiments
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 8
Author: Kevin




  • 10 dried chiles de árbol (See Note 1)
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles (See Note 1)
  • 8 fresh kaffir lime leaves (See Note 2)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 fresh lemongrass stalks (See Note 3)
  • 3 fresh red Thai chiles (See Note 4)
  • 2 fresh serrano chiles chopped
  • 2 large shallot quartered
  • 1 fresh 2-inch piece galangal peeled and quartered


  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp water or more if needed
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts


  • Dry saute the cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, coriander, peppercorns and cumin in a skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool. Transfer to a spice grinder with salt and grind to a powder.
  • Drain soaked chiles and transfer to food processor along with lime leaves, garlic, lemongrass, Thai and serrano chiles, shallot and galangal. Process until a thick paste forms. Scrape down the sides and add the fish sauce, water, peanuts and toasted spice powder. Process until a smooth paste forms.
  • This makes about 2 cups total. I use 3-4 tablespoons per recipe (soup or curry). You can freeze remaining for later use in ice cube trays and keep in freezer ziploc bags.


  1. If using dried chiles only the 3 Red Thai chiles can be OMITTED. If using fresh Thai red chiles only, DO NOT USE dried arbol and guajillo chiles. For dried chiles, remove stems, discard seeds and soak for 10 minutes in hot water.
  2. Kaffir lime also is marketed as makrut in Asian markets. A substitute could be three 2-inch strips of lime zest (use a vegetable peeler).
  3. Cut bottom 4" only, discard tough outer layers.
  4. If using dried chiles the 3 Red Thai chiles can be OMITTED. If using fresh Thai red chiles, DO NOT USE the dried arbol and guajillo chiles.There are over 79 varieties of "Thai Peppers", with Birds Eye probable being the best known and hottest. You could also use Prik jinda (very hot), prik yuak (mild, sweet), prik chee fah (milder) and prik leuang (mild), are best known in Asian markets. Choose each to define heat level you're comfortable with. The dried Kashmir peppers found in Indian markets can be substituted for and soaked along with the guajillo if you can't find any fresh. Thai peppers typically range from 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units compared to a jalapeno, which typically ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units.
  5. This makes 2 cups total. I use 4 tablespoons per recipe. Servings are 8 (32 tablespoons total)


Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1257mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 444IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg