Thai Red Curry

When filling out our weekly meal plan, my family often consults my cookbooks; after all, the main reason I included particular recipes in those books is because they’re our favorites. This week we decided to make the Thai Red Curry recipe from Paleo Takeout, and I thought it would be fun to share the recipe with you folks as well.

Thai Red Curry differs from other popular Thai curries in that its base is made from dried chiles instead of fresh chiles. In order to temper the considerable heat of dried Thai chiles (usually the only chili used in traditional Thai Red Curries), I use a combination of large, mild dried chiles (like Anaheim, Guajillo, or New Mexico chiles) and spicy Thai chiles. To increase the intensity of your curry, simply add more spicy chiles.

Thai Red Curry (Paleo, Primal, Whole30, Gluten-Free, Perfect Health Diet)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

Red Curry Paste (makes 1/2 cup, enough for 2 curries):
4 large dried red chile peppers (Anaheim, Guajillo, or New Mexico), seeds and tops removed
2 dried or fresh Thai (Bird’s Eye) chiles, seeds, tops, and ribs removed (or 1 Jalapeño chili)
10 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp shrimp paste (or 2 tsp fish sauce)
1 tbsp white peppercorns
3 shallots
grated zest of 1/2 lime
1″ fresh galangal or ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, thinly sliced
small handful of fresh cilantro stems

2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 lbs lean steak, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or shrimp, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 (14 oz) can full-fat coconut milk, divided
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
juice of 1/2 lime (1 tbsp)
small handful of Thai basil leaves

sliced Thai chiles to garnish
lime wedges to garnish
fresh cilantro to garnish

1. Soak the dried chiles in warm water for 30 minutes. Place the soaked chiles, 1/4 cup of the water in which you soaked them, and the rest of the curry paste ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding chile water if needed to help the blending process, then set aside.

2. Warm the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the steak, chicken, or shrimp. Stir-fry until browned and cooked through, in batches if needed, 1 minute for shrimp, 3 minutes for steak, or 6 minutes for chicken. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1/4 cup of the curry paste to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and sauté until aromatic and darkened, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes.

4. Add half of the coconut milk and stir to incorporate. Simmer until thick and darkened, about 8 minutes, then stir in the steak, chicken, or shrimp and any accumulated juices. Stir in the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and bell pepper and cook until the pepper starts to soften, about 1 minute, then add the lime juice and Thai basil leaves. Taste and add salt if needed, then serve, garnished with sliced Thai chiles, lime wedges, and cilantro.

** The curry paste can be kept in the fridge for a month, and freezes really well. Make a double (or triple) batch, separate it into 1/4 cup portions, and freeze it for easy meals – just be sure to use it within six months or so.

** If you’re not up for making your own curry paste, I recommend using the Maesri or Mae Ploy pre-made pastes. The Maesri version has added sugar, but otherwise they both have very clean ingredients lists (but beware that they are a bit spicier than my paste above).

22 thoughts on “Thai Red Curry

    1. Hi Kim, this recipe is mild – I would put it in the kid-friendly category. It does have one jalapeño but that’s spread through a paste that feeds 8 and cut by coconut milk. Hope that helps!

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  1. Hi Russ, I’ve made your panang curry before (LOVED it!) and curious to hear your thoughts on how this one differs in taste. Also I’m wondering what you think about cutting the garlic… 10 cloves sounds like I might be killing everyone within 5 feet for the next 3 days? Thank you!

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  2. I made this curry paste last night as an alternative to the store-bought version to go with a Thai beef crock pot roast recipe. The curry paste was phenomenal! So stinkin’ easy.

    Liked by 1 person

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