Panang Curry with Chicken made in the Instant Pot, is just like you would enjoy at your favorite Thai restaurant. Rich, flavorful, and aromatic, with sweet and spicy flavors, this instant pot thai curry is easy to make in under 30 minutes.
One of our favorite cuisines is Thai. I love the variety of curries and the sweet and spicy flavors. Our favorite is Panang Curry.
After years of eating Thai food only at restaurants, I discovered how quick and easy it is to make curries at home. It is basically a quick one-pot meal.
Last month, I shared the Panang Curry with tofu recipe; this time, it is Panang Curry with Chicken. You can, of course, change the recipe to use the meat of your liking. Enjoy this Panang Curry with Jasmine Rice or Coconut Rice.
This Thai Panang Curry is healthy, as it is loaded with chicken & veggies. A satisfying, easy weeknight meal. The best part is that it takes less than 30 minutes to make, and you can enjoy an exotic meal at home.
Table of Contents
What is Panang Curry?
Panang Curry (also spelled Phanaeng) is a rich, creamy curry that has both sweet and spicy flavors, with the addition of peanuts and coconut milk. This curry has wonderful, bold flavors that tickle your taste buds.
Panang curry comes from Thailand, from the island of Penang. This is one of the popular curries similar to red curry.
Typically Panang curry is made with meat – pork, beef, or chicken – cooked with the Panang paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, and basil leaves.
This authentic Panang Curry made with chicken is called “Gaeng Panang Gai” in Thailand.
Panang Curry Paste
I used the below Maesri paste from the Asian market. You can also order it on Amazon. I find this one to have the wonderful authentic flavors you get at Thai restaurants.
This paste is vegan and gluten-free. Most of the other Thai curry pastes contain shrimp in case that is an issue for you.
To amp up the flavor even more when using store-bought curry paste, you can sauté some ginger and garlic in oil along with the paste.
Of course, if you like, you can make curry paste at home too. It has lots of wonderful ingredients such as red chili peppers, galangal, lemongrass, Kaffir Lime, shallots, coriander, garlic, peanuts, and more.
This recipe has basic ingredients that you will need for most Thai curries. I would suggest making a trip to the Asian grocery store in your area to get them.
Panang Curry Paste
Coconut Milk: Use a brand with thick coconut milk, such as Chakoh. I like to use the full-fat version, but if you want to make it lighter, then you can choose the lower-fat ones. Remember that the curry will be thinner and not as creamier. Shake the can well before opening.
Chicken: I like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs to make Thai curries. They are just a bit more juicer and tender when cooked in a curry. However, chicken breasts would work too. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
Peanut Butter: Use smooth peanut butter in this recipe. It gives the perfect peanut-y taste to the curry. I added 1 tablespoon, but peanut lovers, feel free to increase it to 2 tablespoons.
Palm Sugar or Brown Sugar: This helps to balance the flavors of this spicy curry.
Fish Sauce: This adds a special “umami” flavor to the curry. Fish sauce has an extra salty, pungent flavor. You can use Soy Sauce or Tamari (gluten-free) if you prefer.
Kaffir Lime Leaves: These can be hard to find sometimes. I could not find them at the Asian store too, so I ordered dried lime leaves from Amazon. If you ever find fresh leaves, get them and freeze them (they retain the flavor even if they turn darker in color).
Crush the leaves a little to release their juices. These leaves have a hard membrane, so you can remove them after cooking or eating around them. If you can’t find kaffir lime leaves, use extra lime zest and juice.
Thai Basil Leaves: I love to garnish the curry with lots of Thai Basil Leaves. If you don’t have them, use regular basil leaves or cilantro.
Bell Pepper: I love to add colorful bell peppers to this curry. They make it look so pretty.
Lime: A little lime juice at the end really does wonders for the complex flavors in this curry.
How to make Instant Pot Panang Curry?
This best Panang Curry with chicken is easy to make in less than 30 minutes. While the curry is cooking, remember to cook jasmine rice on the side.
- Start the instant pot in sauté mode. Heat oil and add panang curry paste. Sauté for a minute.
- Add 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Mix the paste with the coconut milk and cook for a minute.
- Add chicken pieces and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Now add the remaining coconut milk.
- Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 3 minutes with the vent in the sealing position.
- When the instant pot beeps, do a 5-minute NPR, which means let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then quick release the pressure manually.
- Now, change the instant pot setting to sauté mode. Add the bell pepper, peanut butter, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and half of the Thai Basil leaves.
- Cook on sauté mode for 2-3 minutes until there is a gentle boil. The veggies will cook a little but still hold their crunch.
- Garnish with the remaining Thai basil leaves and crushed peanuts. Panang Curry with Chicken is ready to be served with jasmine rice.
Once the curry is cooked, garnish with some more Thai Basil leaves.
Panang Curry with Chicken is ready to be served with Jasmine Rice.
You can make this Panang Curry on the stovetop too.
Follow the steps as in the instant pot method in a pot on medium-high heat. After adding the chicken and coconut milk, bring to a gentle boil and simmer on medium-low heat for about 8-10 minutes until the chicken is almost cooked. Then add the bell peppers and other ingredients. Then cook for 2-3 minutes more. Chicken Panang Curry is ready!
Spicy? Start with lesser panang curry paste, 2-3 tablespoons, and add more based on your spice preference.
Veggies: I kept the recipe simple and just added bell peppers. However, you can add broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, green beans, zucchini or carrots too. Add quick-cooking veggies after pressure cooking, and veggies such as carrots, potatoes, and baby corn along with the chicken before pressure cooking.
Basil: Garnish with lots of Thai Basil Leaves.
Consistency: This curry gets thicker as it cools. Add ½ to 1 cup water or broth to get a thinner consistency.
How to store Panang Curry?
You can store this curry in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. The curry thickens as it cools. Add a little water, and reheat in the microwave.
More Thai Curries you will love:
Instant Pot Thai Panang Curry Chicken
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 4 tablespoon Panang Curry Paste, adjust to taste
- 1 can Coconut Milk, 14 oz, divided
- 6 Kaffir Lime Leaves , crushed
- 1 pound Chicken , breast or thighs, sliced into 3/4-1 inch pieces
- 1 cup Red Bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cup Green Bell Pepper , sliced
- 1 tablespoon Peanut Butter
- 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar , or Palm Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce , or soy sauce, add more to taste
- 1/2 Lime
- 10 leaves Thai Basil
- Peanuts , crushed
- Start the instant pot in sauté mode. Heat oil and add panang curry paste. Stir it for a minute.
- Add 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Mix the paste with the coconut milk, and cook for a minute.
- Add chicken pieces and saute for 2 minutes. Now add the remaining coconut milk and Kaffir Lime Leaves. Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 3 minutes with vent in sealing position.
- When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then quick release the pressure manually.
- Change the instant pot setting to sauté mode. Add the bell pepper, peanut butter, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and half of the Thai Basil leaves.
- Cook on sauté mode for 2-3 minutes until there is a gentle boil. The veggies with cook a little, but still hold their crunch.
- Garnish with the remaining thai basil leaves and crushed peanuts. Panang Curry with Chicken is ready to be served with jasmine rice.
- Follow the steps as in the instant pot method in a pot on medium-high heat. After adding the chicken and coconut milk, bring to a gentle boil, and simmer on medium-low heat for about 8-10 minutes until the chicken is almost cooked. Then add the bell peppers, and other ingredients. Then cook for 2-3 minutes more. Chicken Panang Curry is ready!