Thai Panang Beef

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Panang beef is one of those recipes that everyone loves, whether it's kids or grandparents, college students or anyone else from any country in the world. Rich herbal flavors inspired by Indian influence in Thailand, and adapted to give it a unique Thai flavor.

Unlike some Thai recipes that take a great deal of time to prepare, a delicious panang can be made in minutes using a handful of key ingredients. Here we've prepared a simple recipe that's sure to be a popular favorite. It's best prepared with the highest quality coconut milk with higher fat, such as our 100% pure Chaokoh coconut cream.

We also have a recipe for panang chicken but beef is probably the best way to enjoy panang. In photos at right, notice we demonstrate making panang beef on two different occasions, the second time we used chee fah chile peppers in addition to red bell.


About 1 lb beef steak, such as sirloin, cut into strips
1 large diced red bell pepper (or vegetable of your choice)
2 cups coconut milk (our higher fat, 100% pure coconut cream is best)
2 tablespoons panang curry paste
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
3-4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, slivered
3-4 fresh Thai chile peppers


Crush the peanuts in a mortar and pestle. Set aside about 3 tablespoons of the coconut millk.

Heat the coconut milk, except for the 3 tablespoons set aside, in a wok or skillet until the oil comes to the surface. Add panang curry paste, and fry until it becomes aromatic. Add meat and cook until the meat is nearly done, then add bell peppers. Add fish sauce and palm sugar. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

Remove from heat. Top with 3 tablespoons coconut milk, slivered lime leaves, peanuts, and fresh Thai chilli peppers. Mix this up, serve with freshly steamed jasmine rice. For an elegant touch just before serving, dab a spoonful of thick coconut cream. Enjoy!

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August 8th, 2009
11:39 PM
The Panang Beef turned-out to be wonderful - although I did not follow your recipe to the letter, like putting 3 Tbsp coconut milk over the final dish. My wife noticed the absence of the lemon grass, and/or the lime juice. It kept the meal a bit sweet, but spicy - not like most Thai dishes. I made the Panang Curry Paste to your "specification". I am inviting a friend of mine for lunch tomorrow - he visits Thailand on business, teaching Thai people how to grow shrimps inland, i.e. away from the sea. He considers my Thai food superior to what is served in any restaurants he visited here in the US.
May 16th, 2010
2:41 PM
Very nice curry
Ben H
April 24th, 2012
11:30 AM
One of the best Thai dishes I've had anywhere - and I made it myself! Used the Hand brand. The only change was the addition of frozen peas near the end. Adds some color.
Georgia Hitchcock
October 13th, 2012
6:20 PM
What will the recipe look like if I'm cooking for 12 people?
Jim B,
March 16th, 2013
5:41 PM
I made this and we loved it! The only thing I changed is that we had it with rice stick noodles instead of Jasmine rice. I used frozen chiles and lime leaves instead of fresh - still excellent! (now, if I can get the photo uploader to work!)
July 30th, 2013
11:31 AM
What are the contents of the little white dish to the left of the plate of ingredients? I am guessing one of the items is the palm sugar, but what is the other? I could not determine using the ingredient list.
July 30th, 2013
5:08 PM
Kate - It looks like lemongrass. I don't know why it's shown but not mentioned in the recipe instructions.
August 15th, 2013
11:50 AM
Kate - It is Fish Sauce
David Amorde
October 25th, 2013
7:11 PM
The ingredients in the top half of the bowl are chucks of palm sugar. Below that are what looks like pounded lemongrass stalks, but could be another vegetable.
January 27th, 2015
5:58 PM
I believe that the bottom half of the little dish is shaved palm sugar. Doesn't look like lemongrass to me.
January 28th, 2015
8:48 AM
I believe that is roasted peanut's above the palm sugar next to pepper's.
Sally Freshwater
September 5th, 2015
12:38 AM
I love panang and i can't wait to make this. I love the taste of curry. I notice the palm sugar looks like it would be easy to chop or grate but I've ordered it twice and both times I was as hard as a rock when I got it and was useless and I had to just throw it away. I wonder if there is a way to rehydrate it incase I order more. Would brown sugar work as well?

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