Craving for an authentic curry dish from Thailand? Refrain from calling for food delivery and ditch restaurant dine-in options too — you’ll be making something far tastier than what they offer with this tried-and-tested homemade Thai green curry recipe!
I’ve tried a lot of recipes and the below mix is what finally hit the spot. I guarantee you that it’s sure to impress not only yourself but your friends and family too!
The best part? You can either make the green curry paste from scratch or simply use a store-bought can. You’re free to use other kinds of meat as well but if you want a true-blue Thai experience, follow my recipe and use boneless chicken breasts or thighs.
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What is Thai Green Curry?
Cover and top photo by: Shutterstock
The name green curry (แกงเขียวหวาน / kaeng khiao wan, literally “sweet green curry”) is basically derived from the color of the dish.
The “wan” or ‘sweet’ in the Thai name does NOT refer to the taste but to the particular green hue of the curry itself which is a creamy mild green often referred to as ‘sweet green’ in Thai.
However, contrary to popular belief, the green color is not mainly due to the basil ingredient, but rather from green bird’s eye chilies which are the main ingredient of the paste.
It’s truly a fragrant and creamy dish that balances all the four essential flavors of Thai cuisine: sweet, sour, salty, and spicy.
» Store-Bought Green Curry Paste; or,
- 1 can (4oz) or 5 tbsp of Thai green curry paste (see *Note 1)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp lemongrass paste (or 2 tsp finely minced fresh lemongrass)
» Homemade Green Curry Paste
- 150 grams green Thai chilies, remove stems and chopped
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 small shallots
- 2 tbsp of galangal, grated
- 1 kaffir lime peel zest, grated
- 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, peeled to softer parts, and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp cilantro roots, chopped
- 1 tbsp white peppercorns
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp shrimp paste
- ¼ tsp turmeric
» Other Main Ingredients
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
- 400g coconut milk
- 1 to 3 tsp fish sauce
- 1 to 3 tsp white sugar
- 6 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half
- 300g chicken thighs, skinless and sliced (see *Note 2)
- 2 small Japanese eggplants, sliced about 1cm (see *Note 3)
- 1 ½ cups snow peas, small and trimmed
- 20 Thai basil leaves
- Juice of 1/2 lime, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Crispy fried onions
- Cilantro or coriander (optional)
- Green or red chillies slices (optional)
- Steamed rice (Jasmine or Thai rice)
- Sliced lime wedges
- Choose ONLY one: either use a store-bought green curry paste OR make your own from scratch. If making from scratch, combine all the ingredients under "Homemade Green Curry Paste" (except shrimp paste which you'll add at the very end) in a stone mortar and pestle. Start pounding until they become a smooth pureed paste; this can take about 2 hours and a good indication that you have pounded it well is when you don't see any solid chili seeds remaining. It's time-consuming but this is how green curry paste is traditionally made — BUT if you don't have time, you can process this in a blender or food processor until it's a fine paste. Set it aside.
- Bring out a deep skillet or pot and heat the oil in medium-high heat.
- If using store-bought green curry paste, add it now together with the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass (these help add a taste of freshness).
If using homemade green curry paste, just add it as is with no other additions.
Cook the paste by tossing it around for 3 minutes until it appears to be drier (try not to breathe in the vapor!).
- Mix in the chicken broth and coconut milk. Stir it around so that it helps dissolve the curry paste.
- If using homemade green curry paste, add 3 tsp sugar and 3 tsp fish sauce.
If using store-bought green curry paste, add 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp fish sauce.
- Stir in the kaffir lime leaves and then bring to a simmer.
- Add the chicken, swirl it around and lower the heat to medium. Leave it in to cook for about 7 minutes.
- Add the eggplants and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Try and taste the sauce. For more sweetness, adjust by adding more sugar. For more saltiness, adjust by adding more fish sauce or salt. (This will depend on your preference but I usually end up adding 2 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp fish sauce).
- Stir in the snow peas and leave it in for 2 minutes until it's a bit soft.
- Add basil leaves and lime juice. Stir the mixture and let it simmer for a minute. The sauce should be reduced now but NOT thick. Do NOT keep it on the stove for too long because the sauce will darken.
- Serve the Thai green curry over hot rice and top it off with garnishes of your choice.
*Note 1: You can find a lot of green curry paste in Asian stores but the ones that I have tried that actually taste good are those in 4oz cans. In the USA, the Maesri brand is the best; in Europe, I've tried Aroy-D and they work well too!
*Note 2: You can also use chicken breast instead but on step #6, let the sauce simmer 5 minutes before proceeding to step #7. If you rather want prawns or fish instead, you should add it after step #9 and let it cook for about 4 minutes. If using beef or pork, you must cut it thinly or in small cubes; some people would often sear it quickly first before mixing it in with curry sauce for more flavor.
*Note 3: You can substitute the eggplants with zucchini. If you want to, you can also add green beans and other vegetables like carrots, sweet or normal potatoes, broccoli, and/or cauliflower.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 0.054mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 12gSugar: 7gProtein: 10g
The nutritional values indicated are merely an estimate for the specified serving yield.
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I hope this Thai green curry recipe becomes a staple on your meal plan — much like mine!
Let me know in the comments below.