Gaeng Penang Tua Lima – Butter or Lima Bean Panang

By Mieke

Originally I was going to post tofu scramble chilaquiles, but I always struggle with making  mole here because tomatillos are so hard to come by. Also… while I love tofu, scrambled tofu just isn’t really it for me.

Rosa’s Thai Café – The Vegetarian Cookbook by Saiphin Moore

Then I was reading Rosa’s Thai Café – The Vegetarian Cookbook and spotted this recipe for vegan gaeng penang tua lima (lima or butter bean panang, I refuse to use the word ‘curry’ for all Asian stews) and I knew I had to have it. Because out of all the beans, the butter bean is my favorite.

A close up of a bamboo side table filled with books, with the focus on the book Rosa's Thai Cafe: The Vegetarian Cookbook.

Hot & Bothered serendipity

I was however (and will probably always be) still hung up on chilaquiles. Because nachos. Pondering these decisions during one of my morning walks, I started thinking of chilaquiles mash-ups: laksa chilaquiles,  mohinga chilaquiles and finally gaeng penang tua lima chilaquiles. But I let it go because it seemed like maybe this was too much of a stretch.

Later in the day my friend in Thailand contacted me. And as we were talking, we serendipitously shouted: “PANANG CHILAQUILES” at each other across the globe (no lie). And so I decided, this is okay. Though of course you can have this butter bean panang with rice as well. I don’t know why Asian and Latin American food fuse so well. From now classic Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei cuisine, to my beloved Mexican-Korean mash-up from LA, but it does. So here we are.

Ko Thai to the rescue

I was very happy to find an accidentally vegan panang-paste by Ko Thai at our biggest supermarket chain, if you choose to go with a ready-made paste, but be sure to check the contents extensively. As my friends of the Hot & Bothered newsletter started their project in the first place because vegan ready-made pastes can be very hard to find.

The Rosa’s Thai Café recipe below also includes instructions on how to make your own panang-paste. I made my panang with cashews, as you can see in the pictures, but the original recipe calls for peanuts and I suggest that unless you have an intense dislike for peanuts like I do, you follow Saiphin’s lead.

Gaeng Penang Tua Lima (Vegan Butter Bean Panang)

Dorothy Porker
This recipe for gaeng penang tua lima (vegan butter bean panang) from Rosa's Thai Café is quick, easy and incredibly moorish. Turn them into chilaquiles for an exciting nacho-twist or have it with rice like a normal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Soaking the chilies (when making panang-paste from scratch) 30 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main course
Cuisine Mexican, Thai, Vegan
Servings 1 - 2 people


  • Small bowl (for soaking chilies, if making paste from scratch)
  • Pestle and mortar or small food processor (if making paste from scratch)
  • Wok or large frying pan (x2 if making chilaquiles)
  • Kitchen towel (if making chilaquiles)


To make the panang-paste (ready-made also works, but double-check to ensure it's vegan)

  • 6 dried chilies deseeded and soaked for 30 mins
  • 1/2 t - 2.5 g salt
  • 4 stalks lemongrass white core thinly sliced
  • 1" - 2.5 cm galengal* finely grated
  • 1 makrut lime leaf finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch coriander root or stalks
  • 5 shallots sliced
  • 6 black peppercorns

To make panang chilaquiles (or have with white rice)

  • 4 T - 60 ml neutral oil I use sunflower
  • 3 corn tortillas** cut into nacho-shaped triangles
  • pinch salt

To make the gaeng penang tua lima

  • 2 T - 30 ml neutral oil I use sunflower
  • 1 T - 20 g panang-paste heaped, home-made or store-bought
  • 1 1/4 c - 300 ml coconut milk
  • 1 T - 15 g palm sugar I use gula jawa
  • 2 T - 30 ml soy sauce light is preferred if you have it
  • 2 T - 30 g peanuts roasted and crushed, or use cashews
  • 1" - 2.5 cm galengal* thinly sliced
  • 3 makrut lime leaves thinly sliced
  • 8 1/4 oz - 235 g butter beans this is roughly one can, drained and rinsed

To serve

  • 1 red chili thinly sliced
  • a few makrut lime or sweet basil leaves*** thinly sliced
  • 1 T - 15 g peanuts roasted and crushed, or use cashews


Make the panang-paste (or use store-bought)

  • Finely grind together 6 dried chilies that you've deseeded and soaked for 30 minutes and then drained with 1/2 t - 2.5 g of salt using a pestle and mortar or a small food processor.
  • Add the thinly sliced white core of 4 stalks of lemon grass, 1"- 2.5 cm of sliced galengal root, 1 finely sliced makrut leaf, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 small bunch of finely sliced coriander root or stalks, 5 sliced shallots and 6 black peppercorns and grind or blend to a fine paste.

If making chilaquiles

  • Heat 4 T - 60 ml of oil in a frying pan and fry 3 corn tortillas cut into triangles until golden and crisp. Drain on some kitchen towels and sprinkle enthusiastically with salt, before setting aside.

Make gaeng penang tua lima (butter bean panang)

  • Heat 2 T - 30 ml of oil in a wok or frying pan.
  • Once the oil is hot, add 1 heaped T of panang-paste and stir until fragrant. This should take 30 seconds or so.
  • Keep stirring while pouring in 1 1/4 c - 300 ml of coconut milk.
  • Once the coconut milk and paste have properly mixed, add in 2 T - 30 ml or g of soy sauce, palm sugar and roasted and crushed peanuts each with 1 T - 15 g of thinly sliced galengal. Keep stirring for 2 minutes or so, until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Stir in 3 finely sliced makrut lime leaves and finally add 8 1/4 oz - 235 g of drained and rinsed butterbeans.
  • Let everything bubble away gently for 5 minutes or so until the sauce has thickened and serve with white rice, thinly sliced chili and makrut or sweet basil leaves and 1 T - 15 g of roasted and crushed peanuts.

Make the chilaquiles

  • First off: make sure you are very ready to eat because you want to eat this while the nachos are crisp and only starting to soak up the liquids from the panang.
  • Quickly but gently scoop your nachos through the gaeng penang tua lima, so everything is evenly coated. Top with the thinly sliced chili and makrut or sweet basil leaves and 1 T - 15 g of roasted and crushed peanuts and serve immediately


Home-made panang-paste will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for roughly 2 weeks. 
As long as you have not made chilaquiles with them gaeng penang tua lima will keep and reheat well the next day. 
* Saiphin uses greater galengal in the panang-paste and lesser galangel in the gaeng penang tua lima, as far as I am aware they only sell one type of galengal here so that's what I used
** I find chilaquiles do not work with store-bought nachos, but this may be due to the quality of ready-made nachos we have available in the Netherlands (it's Doritos)
*** In the photo I've used coriander because both fresh makrut lime leaves and sweet basil are hard to come by here 
Keyword butter beans, lima beans, panang, rosa's thai, rosa's thai cafe, thai food, vegan thai

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dorothy Porker © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.