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Panang Beef Curry


A few weeks ago, Jack and I had the huge pleasure of attending a behind-the scenes tour of America’s Test Kitchen new offices and studios located in Boston.  It was part of a larger, outside ‘Boston Eats’ festival with cooking demos, cookbook signings, plus samples of (so much) delicious food prepared by Boston-area chefs.

America's Test Kitchen Tour

During the studio tour, we watched a cooking demo where this fantastic Panang Beef Curry recipe was prepared. Jack and I loved it so much, we immediately set out to make it at home.

Panang Beef Curry

Like every recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, the instructions were easy to follow and the results were absolutely delicious!

Ideally, this Panang Beef Curry is made with boneless short ribs – but since they can be difficult to find at the supermarket, a chuck roast can be used instead. Chunks of beef are cooked until super tender, then added to a wonderful sauce made with coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce, sugar, Thai chiles, and Kaffir lime leaves.


Panang Beef Curry

As the recipe states: The Kaffir lime leaves put the ‘bang’ in Panang – so don’t make this Panang Beef Curry recipe without it!  This fragrant ingredient adds a distinct flavor that is both citrusy and piney – it’s difficult to describe, but very delicious.  You can find them online here, at an Asian market (sometimes found in bags in the freezer section), and at some Whole Foods markets.

Panang Beef Curry

This flavorful Panang Beef Curry is served over rice with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts on top plus some additional thinly-sliced kaffir leaves as garnish.


Here are a few more photos from our day touring America’s Test Kitchen, and the delicious Panang Beef Curry is below:

America's Test Kitchen Tour

America's Test Kitchen Tour

America's Test Kitchen Tour

America's Test Kitchen Tour

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Panang Beef Curry

Panang Beef Curry

  • Author: Recipe from America's Test Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


A few notes:

*Boneless short ribs are often hard to find at the supermarket. A good quality chuck roast can serve just as well for this recipe. Buy three pounds and by the time you trim off gristle and fat, you will have a little over two pounds to cook.

**Kaffir lime leaves are a necessity for this dish. Without them, the dish is just not the same. Kaffir lime leaves are available at Asian supermarkets (sometimes frozen or fresh) however we bought them on line and they arrived quickly and were of excellent quality. (Click here to buy on Amazon.)


2 pounds boneless short ribs trimmed, or a 3-pound chuck roast *see note above

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, divided

1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

4 teaspoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 Thai red Chile (optional), chopped (seeds removed or not depending on how hot you like it)

6 Kaffir lime leaves, middle vein removed and sliced very thin **see note above

1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped fine

1 cup dry white rice (2 cups once cooked)


Cut the beef into small half-inch to 1-inch sized pieces. Place them into a medium to large sauce pan, cover with about an inch of water and bring to a boil. Cover, lower to a simmer and simmer slowly. If using boneless short ribs, cook 60-75 minutes until fall apart tender. If using chuck, cook for 30-45 minutes more until tender, adding a little more water if needed. Once cooked, discard water and hold beef for next step after rice.  (Full disclosure: Jack couldn’t bear discarding the beef water, so he cooked it down and made some beef broth for lunch!)

Begin preparing the rice. (The beef should be done cooking right about the same time as the rice.)

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add oil and once shimmering, add 2 tablespoons curry paste. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the paste turns dark red, almost brown.

Add coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, and the Thai chile if using. Add two more tablespoons curry paste along with cooked beef and mix to combine.

Bring to a rapid simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and is reduced by half, about 12-15 minutes. Oil will start to appear on top, which is what you want.

Add the sliced lime leaves and simmer for 1-2 more minutes until fragrant.

Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle on the chopped peanuts along with a few more finely sliced lime leaves. Serve with white rice.

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America's Test Kitchen Panang Beef Curry Recipe

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  • Susan Boedeker wrote:

    Wow! My husband and I enjoyed this immensely. I did brown the short rib cubes first just to develop a nice fond in the bottom of the saucepan. It helped make it taste more “beefy “ as I only had 1 1/2 lbs of short ribs and wanted to add vegetables to amp up the nutrient value. I added about 2 cups thinly sliced red and yellow bell peppers as well as these tiny eggplant like vegetables that look like peas (purchased at an Asian market). Also, I didn’t have peanuts so stirred in a tablespoon of peanut butter while simmering the curry.

    • Martha wrote:

      Great suggestions Susan!

  • May wrote:

    Looks like a delicious recipe to try. I’m going to make it when my family is visiting from the U.S. next month. Would you please tell me if I can make this ahead of time and freeze it? Thank you.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi May – We haven’t tried freezing this ourselves and my initial thought is that the coconut milk might separate if frozen. I checked the America’s Test Kitchen website and found this, which confirms my suspicions:

      If you’re looking for a way to cut down the prep time the day of your family’s dinner, you could definitely cook the beef the day before and just refrigerate it before you are ready to start the rice and finish the sauce. Hope that helps!

  • Brian T wrote:

    Insanely good. I licked the plate. I will make this again and again.

    • Martha wrote:

      LOL – so glad you enjoyed the recipe Brian!

  • Pam wrote:

    This looks like a good recipe. I like mine with more coconut milk in it, so the sauce comes out a more pinkish color and I also recommend adding some vegetables because they taste so good in the sauce. I have used peas, green beans, green peppers, and zucchini in the past as well as some pineapple when I make it at home.

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds like some great additions Pam!

  • 2pots2cook wrote:

    And, here comes another beautiful surprise 🙂 I really enjoy your works very much ! Thank you !

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you!

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