Thai Green Chicken Curry

21 Jan


I’m a big fan of Thai curries, and Green Curry is one of my favorites. It’s been a couple years since I tackled my last Thai curry (Panang Curry), so I thought it was time to share another recipe. Like in my Panang Curry recipe, this recipe is a template for you to adjust as you see fit; directions on how to change the protein or add vegetables are provided below the recipe.

The Thai word for Green Curry (แกงเขียวหวาน) actually translates to “Sweet Green Curry”, but that doesn’t imply that this dish is sweet. Instead, “sweet green” means “light green” in Thai.

While the idea of making curry from scratch may be initially daunting, nothing could be further from the truth. My curry paste has quite a few ingredients, but all you do is basically throw them all together and purée; the paste will keep for a month in the fridge and there’s enough paste to make three curries. Making the actual curry is even easier – it’s a 20-minute meal, if not less.


Serves four to six (depends on how much chicken you use)

for the paste (yields 1 1/2 cups, enough for 3 curries):
1 handful chopped cilantro leaves and stems (about 1/2 cup)
1 handful chopped thai basil leaves (about 1/2 cup)
2 jalapeño peppers, stems, seeds, and ribs removed, sliced
1 stick lemon grass, white part only (about 3″ total), thinly sliced
1″ fresh galangal (ginger okay), peeled and sliced
2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 green cardamom pod
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp white pepper
juice and zest of one lime (2 tbsp juice, 1 tsp zest)

for the curry
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup green curry paste
1 can coconut milk (14 oz)
2-3 lbs chicken thighs, sliced into bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp fish sauce
10 thai basil leaves, more to garnish
bird’s eye or other hot chiles (optional)

Making green curry paste from scratch is easy and fun. If you don’t have access to the ingredients needed, Mae Ploy and Maesri pre-made curry pastes are tasty, convenient, and relatively clean (they have a little added sugar).

1. In a food processor or blender, process all of the curry paste ingredients together into a smooth paste. Add water if needed, but the shallots may release enough liquid on their own. If the paste becomes too soupy, strain it into a bowl to separate the liquid and the paste. You’ll then want to add the liquid to the curry when you add the first coconut milk. If you’re up for a challenge, you can make the paste in the traditional manner – with a mortar, pestle, and some elbow grease. The curry paste can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to a month.

2. In a large skillet, warm the coconut oil on medium heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add the curry paste and stir it together with the coconut oil to combine. Sauté until fragrant and the oil starts to separate from the paste, 2-3 minutes, then stir in 1/3 of the can of coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to med/low and cook until slightly darkened, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in the chicken and another 1/3 of the can of coconut milk. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in the remaining coconut milk, the fish sauce, and 10 Thai basil leaves. Return to a simmer, then remove from heat once the leaves have softened. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice, sliced hot chiles, and more Thai basil leaves.

** Vegetables can be added at the tail end of step #3. Try experimenting with eggplant, broccoli, bell peppers, carrot, mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, snow/snap peas, or bamboo shoots.

** This curry is naturally thin; to thicken, throw in some cashews (~2 tbsp) when blending the paste.

** Any protein can be substituted for chicken. Try: thinly sliced steak or pork loin; firm white fish; or shrimp. Simply adjust step #3 to simmer until the protein is cooked through.

42 Responses to “Thai Green Chicken Curry”

  1. Shandi January 21, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    What a beautiful dish. I’m a fan of green as it is, matcha, broccoli, salad…

    I’ve been looking for a flavour adventure to inspire my palette and I do believe I’ve found it. As much as I love my kitchen I’m sadly lacking in Asian influences so this post is more precious than gold.

  2. Ada ~ More Food, Please January 21, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    How delicious! I love Thai curries, but never attempted to make my own. The long list of ingredients has always seemed daunting to me, but I’m glad to know that you just blend them all in the food processor. Thanks for sharing this recipe! :D

    • Russ Crandall January 21, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      Ada, I agree that curry is sometimes daunting at first, but this one is definitely easy :)

  3. Alex Boake January 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    Beautiful! The colours look amazing in that first shot. Thai food is delicious and visually stimulating.

  4. Mike January 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    Finally! Green Curry whatever is my favorite! looks awesome Russ. Keep up the excellent work :)

  5. madleens January 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    beautiful… will definitely try it. love a good curry.

  6. Meredith @ Peachy Clean Eats January 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    so glad I stumbled onto your blog and this recipe- green curry ROCKS and definitely suits the weather right now!

    • Russ Crandall January 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

      Thanks Meredith, I agree – curry on a cold day is very satisfying!

  7. Rogelio Espinaca January 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    I like the way it looks, but I don’t like the flavor of curry. so I’m going with brown rice, chicken tenders, basil, cherry tomatoes instead of peppers, in a broth and safron yellow sauce, and lemon pepper sprinkles. I don’t like cilantro, so going with parsley and mint instead. Thanks for the creative inspiration.

    • Russ Crandall January 21, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

      Rogelio, sounds like you’ve created a pretty great meal!

  8. tabithasglutenfreedishes.com January 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    I love Thai green curry and always easier to cook than you imagine or remember. Beautifully described and wonderful pics. Thank you.

  9. Pacific Merchants January 21, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Beautiful. I do a lot of Vietnamese- style braises and soups in coconut milk and lemongrass. I’m inspired to try Thai curry next. so many similar ingredients, just deployed differently.

    • Russ Crandall January 21, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

      Awesome, let me know what you think if you try it!

  10. everybodylovespretty January 21, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    Oh man this is making my mouth water!

  11. Jen January 21, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Oh, I just love curries! We had curry the other night and will be having another curry later in the week. Making my own paste is something I’ve not yet tried, though…No time like the present. :) Thanks!

    • Russ Crandall January 22, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

      Awesome Jen, let me know if you try it out!

  12. Amanda January 22, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    This looks so delicious. Excellent recipe for curry paste. I need to try this.

  13. Dinis Correia January 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    Aroy-D also has some good quality curry pastes, super clean ingredients and no added sugars (I’m talking about the pastes, they also have curry sauces and those have some sugar).

    I cooked thai green curry for the first time when I changed my diet and I psyched that it taste just the the curry I had at restaurants :) I’ll try this one for sure! Oh, I do like to brown the chicken before making dishes where the meat is simmered (really think it improves the flavors – for beef I actually do skip the browning).

    • Russ Crandall January 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

      Dinis, thanks for the feedback. I have used Aroy-D coconut milk before but I didn’t realize they had a curry paste!

  14. Priscilla January 26, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    I was so excited to see this recipe so I had to try it this weekend. My paste came out on the runny side, yet too thick to drain off the water (consistency of baby food). Any ideas how I can get it to look like yours? I left it as it was and the curry came out perfectly well. I think I might have added too much salt or fish sauce cos it was really salty. I’ll make sure to adjust it next time. However, by the time I added in a chopped eggplant and konjac noodles, it was not too salty. It was delicious!

    Any chance of a printer friendly version so that I can easily upload this to my Paprika app?

    I love this website! Keep up the good work Russ.

    • Russ Crandall January 26, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Priscilla, thanks for the feedback! Glad you liked the recipe. There is a “Print and PDF” button near the bottom of each post, which will let you build a PDF of the page (click pics/paragraphs to remove them).

      Regarding the paste, I definitely strained mine to get it to look like that for the picture. And then I added the juice back in. Unless you use a mortar/pestle, it’s nearly impossible to blend the paste when it’s thick. So I think baby food consistency isn’t bad at all! At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, since a good amount of the liquid will evaporate as you simmer.

      Glad you like the site! Please keep visiting!

      • Priscilla January 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

        I forgot to mention that I omitted the Thai basil leaves because I couldn’t get my hands on any. Would regular basil be the same? Perhaps that would thicken it up slightly too.

        Ah I didn’t notice that PDF button, that’s much easier for me load your recipes my collection.

        I will definitely keep visiting and keep telling my friends :)

        • Russ Crandall January 26, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

          Sweet basil has a more distinct taste than Thai basil, but you could definitely use it; I would use about half as much, though. It would indeed help with thickening.

  15. Heather@Cook It Up Paleo February 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    I adore curry and this looks amazing :)

  16. thehuntressandtheharvest February 11, 2014 at 6:54 am #

    I’m excited to try this! I just decided I was going to make some curry from scratch and I’m glad I came across this. Looks beautiful.

  17. but i'm hungry February 24, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    Oh yum! I’ve been wanting to try to make green curry for ages, but was turned off that any recipe I came across just started with a few tablespoon of store bought paste. This looks amazing, and I’m excited because I’ve even seen galangal at my local grocery store. Always see it and wish I had something to do with it! Psyched to give this a try!

  18. hboy0312 February 25, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Thanks for the recipe. I made this tonight, I didn’t get to blend the thing small enough to a fine paste but it still worked very well. For vegetables, I putted in tomato, mushrooms and green peas. Served it with brown rice. Wonderful dish.

  19. Fiona March 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    My mom is from Thailand but she always used the paste in the tubs from the Asian Mart. She never taught me super authentic Thai cooking so I think I will try this soon as Green Curry is my favouite. I also add in bamboo shoots and green beans.

  20. Raysha March 28, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    I just made this curry and it smells amazing! I’m having my term break now so i’m experimenting with paleO cooking and this is by far the most exciting dish I’ve ever made! I love your blog and the recipes! VERY EXCITING!! tHANKS FOR THE RECIPE

  21. Sandie October 26, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    Hi, I love the sound of this paste. I’m having people for a curry nigt and was wondering if I can make this curry 1 day ahead and reheat it. I was worried about the coconut milk curdling.

    • Russ Crandall October 26, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      Hi Sandie, I would suggest making just the paste and throwing the rest together the day of the curry night – it will yield the freshest taste. Either way, don’t worry about making the whole thing the day before, the coconut milk won’t go bad or anything! The finished curry should keep for several days.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Thai Green Chicken Curry | Paleo Digest - January 21, 2014

    […] Domestic Man / Posted on: January 01, 1970The Domestic Man – I’m a big fan of Thai curries, and Green Curry is one of my favorites. It’s […]

  2. What I Read This Week | Steaks, Squats, and Sundresses - January 26, 2014

    […] chicken from Bon Appetit that only needs one substitution (more broth instead of the wine), and thai curry chicken from the Domestic Man — one of my favorite recipe bloggers who is coming out with a cookbook […]

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