How to cook… Penang Curry

Penang curry is one of my favourite Thai dishes. It is simple to make as long as you can buy the ready-prepared chilli paste. In the ingredients below, you can see coriander, sliced beef (you can also use pork or chicken), sliced spur chilli, thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves, sweet basil, coconut milk and penang chili paste in the middle. If you don’t have the chilli paste, you can use a carton like the one in the picture that already mixes coconut milk, chilli paste, fish sauce and palm sugar. The taste is good but not really authentic as it is for foreigners. The paste contains ingredients such as dried chillies, shallots, garlic, galangal, lemon grass, coriander root and shrimp paste.

Fry the chilli paste in a pan making sure it doesn’t dry out or burn. Gradually keep adding more coconut to keep it moist. Keep going for about four minutes or so. Next, add the sliced beef. If you didn’t use the pre-prepared sauce, season the curry with fish sauce and palm sugar. Make sure that you taste it to check the balance of flavours. If too sweet, add more salt. Adding more coconut milk can also help with the final taste but this shouldn’t be a runny curry. Finish with the spur chilli, sliced kaffir lime leaves and coriander. Save the sweet basil and some kaffir lime leaves for decoration. Check out our websites at and for more pictures of Thai food.

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