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.