I am thrilled to share with you one of the most classic and widely known Thai dishes that has found its way into menus around the world – Thai green curry. This recipe has always been close to my heart, as it's a staple in Thai households and represents the essence of Thai cuisine with its combination of aromatic herbs and spices. But be warned, if you're not a fan of spicy food, this may not be the recipe for you!
At its core, green curry is a coconut milk-based curry with a lush green color derived from a blend of fresh green chillies, coriander, and kaffir lime leaves. These ingredients give it a unique flavor profile that is sweet, sour, salty, and spicy all at once. While there are an array of variations on the recipe, I'll be sharing the most authentic version that my grandmother passed down to me. Trust me, it's a taste explosion in every bite!
Before we dive into the recipe, I want to give you a brief history of this dish. Green curry originated in Central Thailand and has been around since the reign of King Rama VI in the late 19th century. The curry was made from fresh green chillies that were used in traditional medicine and was later adapted into the Thai cuisine. According to folklore, the color green was chosen by a royal cook wanting to impress the king and used only the green of the coconut cream; thus, the creamy green color was created. Today, Thai green curry is enjoyed in every corner of the globe and has evolved to include a variety of meats, vegetables, and even fruit.
To make the perfect Thai green curry, you will need the following ingredients:
For the Curry Paste
- 4 fresh green chilies, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon of shrimp paste
- 1 teaspoon of finely grated lime zest
- Fresh Coriander leaves
For the Curry
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1 pound of boneless chicken, cut into small pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin slices
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into thin slices
- 1 cup of green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup of fresh Thai basil leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preparing the Curry Paste
The most important part of making a great Thai green curry is preparing the curry paste. Start by heating a small frying pan and toasting the coriander and cumin seeds until they become fragrant. Take them out and set them aside.
Next, you’ll want to slice the green chilies and chop the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Add all of the ingredients, including the toasted coriander and cumin seeds, into a food processor along with the shrimp paste and finely grated lime zest. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to help blend the ingredients together. Blend until a smooth paste is formed, adding water as necessary.
Once the curry paste is blended, it's time to start cooking the curry!
Prepping Vegetables and Meat
Before you start cooking, prep your vegetables and meat. Cut the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces, chop the onion, slice the bell peppers thin, and cut the green beans into bite-sized pieces. Make sure everything is prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.
Cooking the Curry
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium heat in a large saucepan or wok. Add in the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes fragrant and translucent. Add the chicken and stir until it’s lightly browned on all sides. Pour in the curry paste and stir-fry until it’s fragrant and mixed in well with the chicken.
Next, add the sliced bell peppers, stir, and pour in the can of coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the curry simmer gently, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Add in the chopped green beans and simmer another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Adjusting Spiciness to Taste
If you want your curry to be spicier, add in more green chilies or a tablespoon of Thai chili paste. If you prefer your curry less spicy, use fewer green chilies or omit them entirely.
After the curry is done cooking, add in the Thai basil leaves and stir in gently. The basil leaves will wilt slightly and infuse the curry with a fresh, herbal flavor. Serve the curry with steamed jasmine rice, and garnish it with a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves.
Final Tips for a Delicious Green Curry
- Use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor.
- Adjust the spiciness to your taste by adding or omitting green chilies or using Thai chili paste.
- Cook the curry paste until it’s fragrant and mixed well with the chicken.
- Use coconut milk to give the curry its creamy, comforting texture.
- Adding Thai basil leaves to the curry gives it a hint of freshness and herbal flavor.
With this authentic Thai green curry recipe, you’ll whip up a delicious and perfectly spiced dinner in no time. So go ahead and give it a try—it’s sure to become one of your favorite go-to recipes!