Thai green curry is the most well-known Thai dish outside Thailand.
It has a distinct green color that set it apart from Indian curries which are mostly red or yellow. As the name implies, this Thai green curry recipe is prepared by using green chili, with a different flavor from the mature red chilies.
You need a myriad of spices and some exotic ingredients to prepare the authentic green curry. The list of ingredients sounds complicated, but this post will show you how to do it by using the store-bought green chili paste, which will cut down the preparing time by half. The green chili paste comprises more than ten ingredients, which is quite a time-consuming task to make.
How to make green curry- A Step by step guide
1. Reduce the coconut milk
To begin with, pour half of the coconut milk into a pot and simmer it over low heat until it thickens. The coconut oil will start to separate from the water phase at this point. Cook until the coconut oil separates from the liquid. The oil will form a thin layer on top.
2. Add the green curry paste
There are two ways you can do this- mix your own blend of green curry paste get a good quality store-bought curry paste.
Store-bought Thai green curry paste.
Many people prefer to use the ready-made Thai green curry paste. There are some excellent commercially available Thai green curry pastes. But if you want to enjoy the fresh flavor of green curry and control the spiciness of each ingredient, you must make an effort to prepare it from scratch. Unfortunately, you need a myriad of ingredients to prepare the curry paste, and they may not be available to you especially if you are leaving outside of Asia.
You can refer to the supplementary section (with a grey background) if you want to make your own. Otherwise, I will assume that you are using the store-bought version for this recipe.
If you use your own curry paste
You can reduce the amount of chili paste if you like a milder curry. However, the other ingredients in the paste will be reduced proportionately, which results in a curry of inferior flavor.
The best way to solve this dilemma is to cut down the amount of green chili while preparing the chili paste. By doing so, you can add enough chili paste to the curry without worrying about it becoming too spicy, and yet with getting the full flavor of galangal, lemongrass, shallots, and others. Of course, you can only do this if you make your own.
How to make the curry as green as those in the restaurants
Once the coconut milk is reduced to a thick sauce, add the green curry paste. Saute until the curry paste turns aromatic.
The amount of curry paste required depends on the level you want. You can use less curry paste as indicated in this recipe, but the curry will likely to become paler than what you will find in the Thai restaurant. There is a way to make it looks green naturally without adding artificial color. The trick is to blend some basil leaves with the remaining coconut milk then add to the curry. It will instantly boost the color of the curry to a beautiful natural green.
3. Add the chicken
When you see the coconut oil starts to bubble around the curry paste, add the chicken thigh meat. Chicken thigh meat has better flavor than breast meat, and will not become tough after prolonged cooking.
Alternatively, you can use chicken breast meat for this recipe. You should add the breast meat at the end of cooking since it will become tough if you add to the curry in the early stage.
Note: Although this is a Thai green curry chicken recipe, you can substitute the chicken with other ingredients by following the same method. You can make Thai green curry shrimps or even Thai green curry vegetables.
4. Add the remaining ingredients.
Coconut milk and chicken stock
Now pour the remaining coconut milk and the chicken stock into the pot. Simmer over low heat for ten minutes until the chicken is cooked and tender.
Chicken stock is my preference as I do not like to use MSG. Water can be the substitute but it will never match the full-body flavor will the additional real chicken flavor from the stock.
Add the remaining ingredients- palm sugar, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves. Let it simmer for another ten minutes until it is slightly thickened.
Eggplants, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, squash, and green beans are the common vegetables used in Thai green curry.
I use eggplant, king oyster mushrooms and bamboo shoots in this recipe. Add to the curry and cook for two minutes. Then add the cut red spur chili, and Thani basil.
5. Do a taste test
When the curry is almost done and the liquid is reduced and thicken, do a taste test.
The saltiness depends on how much the liquid is left, which means the best time to adjust is when it is done. I normally do not add salt, but add some fish sauce if it is not salty enough. Make the flavor really strong as the curry is not intended to eat alone, but serve with steamed rice.
The major ingredients used in Thai green curry
The green curry prepared in one region is different from another, and there is no one standard recipe. The Thai green curry is authentic as long as it does not omit any essential ingredients.
it is like adobo in the Philippines, where different people vouch their recipes are the most authentic.
The following explanation is helpful to let you understand the key ingredients that you must include, and the critical aspects you should pay attention to when you prepare the Thai green curry paste.
Galangal is the main ingredients of Thai green curry. You cannot substitute it with other ingredients. It is also called ‘blue ginger’ in some Chinese-speaking countries in Asia, but the flavor is very different from the regular ‘yellow’ ginger.
The useful part of lemongrass is the white section, the bulb of the lemongrass. Remove the upper section which is green and the outer layer of the lemongrass, much like removing the outer layer of an onion. Slice the lemongrass thinly before putting it into the blender as it contains a lot of fiber.
3. Green chili
You cannot substitute the green chilies. These are the premature red Thai chili. Never substitute with green bell pepper (capsicum) as it is totally different!
4. Thai basil leaf
You can substitute it with other types of basil if Thai basil is not available.
5. Kaffir lime leaves
The flavor of kaffir lime leaves is different from the ordinary lime and lemon. Try to get this ingredient for your curry.
6. Palm sugar
Palm sugar has a distinct smoky aroma and a complex flavor. Substitute palm sugar with brown sugar if it is unavailable.
Note: If you like Thai curry but prefer a less spicy version, check out this Massaman curry recipe. It is a Southern Thailand curry which is milder, with some Indian and Malay influence.
- 70 g Thai green curry paste (store-bought)
- 500 g chicken breast meat (or chicken thigh)
- 375 ml (1.5cups) of coconut milk
- 8 sprigs Thai basil leaf (use the leaf only)
- 125ml (half cup) chicken stock
- 70 g eggplants
- 70 g king oyster mushroom
- 4 pieces kaffir lime leaves
- 30 g palm sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 red spur chilies
- Cut the chicken meat into 1cm to 1.5 cm cubes.
- Cut the eggplant to the same size of the chicken pieces.
- Shred the king oyster mushroom into small pieces.
- Place half of the coconut milk into a pot. Heat it gently until it starts to boil. Reduce it to a thick sauce.
- Add the green curry paste. Saute until it turns aromatic.
- Blend 2 sprigs of basil leaves with the remaining coconut milk. (To boost the green color). Add to the curry paste in the pot.
- Add the chicken and chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the eggplant, mushroom, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, and fish sauce. Cook until the eggplant turns soft.
- Stir in the chopped red chilies and the remaining basil leaves. Let it boil for half a minute. Serve.
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- Blue Elephant Royal Thai Cuisine Green Curry Paste 70g
- Red Boat - Fish Sauce, 8.45 Ounce - Chef’s Grade, Gluten Free, Sustainably Sourced & Artisan Processed, 100% Pure, Protein Rich, No Added MSG or Preservatives.
- Nature's Greatest Foods, Organic Coconut Cream, No Guar Gum, Unsweetened, 13.5 Ounce (Pack of 12)
- Navitas Organics Coconut Palm Sugar, 16 oz. Bag — Organic, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Sustainable
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 684Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 1938mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 65g