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5 from 1 vote

Delicious vegan Panang Curry

Make this delicious and spicy Panang curry today with a homemade paste. This curry tastes so good with tofu and vegetables. You'll want to make a big batch for the next day as well.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Curry, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, thai
Keyword: Curry
Servings: 4
Author: woonheng


  • 16 oz [397g] firm tofu drained
  • ¼ cup [~40g] red bell pepper sticks
  • ¼ cup [~40g] green bell pepper sticks
  • ¼ cup [~30g] bamboo shoots strips
  • ½ cup [~60g] baby corn
  • 1 ½ cups [~300ml] coconut milk separated
  • 1 [15g] palm sugar round about 1 tablespoon, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon vegan fish sauce plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon mushrooms seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • water

Curry paste

  • ½ tablespoon cumin seed
  • ½ tablespoon coriander seed
  • 10-15 dried chile used Thai chile, seeds removed & softened in hot water
  • 1 [70g] medium-sized shallot
  • 3 garlic clove
  • 1 lemongrass stalk white part only, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro root
  • 2 tablespoons toasted peanuts
  • 5 slices galangal
  • 5 lime leaves stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inx3-in kelp square soak in 3 tablespoons water to soften


  • Prepare the tofu by cutting it into rectangles or cubes about 1.5cm thick. The larger the cube, the longer it takes to absorb the curry. Pan-fry in a heated 10" skillet with 2 teaspoons of oil until golden brown on all sides, then set aside.
  • Soak or boil bamboo shoot strips in hot water to remove the smell if needed. Drain out the water and set it aside.
  • To make the Panang curry paste, toast cumin and coriander seeds in a heated pan over medium-low heat for about 30-45 seconds. Watch the heat so the spices don't burn.
  • Then, combine shallot, garlic, lemongrass, cilantro roots, galangal, lime leaves, peanuts, and kelp with the water in a high-speed blender. Top it with softened dried chiles, toasted spices, and blend into a fine paste. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to get the blender running, if needed. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle to pound the paste for a more rustic look. In that case, please cut the kelp into tiny pieces so they blend in better.
  • Now, add about ¾ cup of coconut milk to a tall skillet or wok. Turn on the heat and cook, stirring occasionally until bubbly and starts to thicken.
  • Add the paste and stir-fry until fragrant. The paste color will start to turn darker and oil will start to separate from the chile, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Then, add the palm sugar and stir to dissolve. Add some water (~1/3 cup) or coconut milk if it appears to be too dry.
  • Add the tofu, bamboo shoots, and baby corn, then toss to coat. Season with salt, vegan fish sauce*, mushrooms seasoning, and pour in the remaining coconut milk.
  • Bring it to a simmer and fold in the peppers. Cook until they are as crisp as you like. Turn off the heat.
  • Drizzle some coconut milk right before serving and garnish with thinly sliced lime leaves if you like. Serve warm with rice.



  • *If using store-bought vegan fish sauce, please adjust the salt level accordingly. For a homemade version, check out this recipe.
  • Substitute palm sugar with coconut sugar, about 1 tablespoon
  • If you are using cumin (1 tablespoon) and coriander powder (2 tablespoons), add these in along with the palm sugar instead of blending them.