Thai Green Curry on your table in just over 30 minutes with pantry friendly ingredients!
This Thai Green Curry recipe is huge on flavor, low on effort and belongs in your easy weeknight dinner arsenal. It is lusciously creamy, wonderfully fragrant, and bursting with juicy chicken and veggies swimming in comforting aromatic coconut milk infused with green curry, ginger, garlic, basil and lime juice. This Green Curry recipe also earns major points because it’s made with 100% pantry friendly ingredients and SO EASY to make all in one skillet! Just keep a jar of green curry paste and coconut milk stocked and you’re ready to go! I’ve made this Thai Green Curry recipe with my favorite sweet potatoes, cauliflower, bell peppers and peas but you can use whatever veggies you love or have on hand so you can make this easy one pot wonder any night of the week. Prepare yourself to skip the takeout forever!
GREEN CURRY RECIPE
Thai recipes make a weekly appearance at our dinner table because it is my favorite food in the world. The layers of complex flavors create an adept balance of savory, salty, sweet and sour in every bite. I’m a fan. HUGE fan. In fact, we have celebrated every major event at a Thai restaurant from my college graduation, to our wedding engagement to lung transplant anniversaries.
As a fan, I love creating Thai food at home from Red Curry Chicken, Chicken Pad Thai, Coconut Chicken Curry, Panang Curry, Yellow Curry, Thai Chicken Noodle Soup, Curried Butternut Squash Soup and Tom Kha Gai, just to name a few, but I’ve been missing a major player – Thai Green Curry!
I like green curry but I thought I favored other curries more until I made this Thai Green Curry recipe – OH MY YUM it blew my socks off all the way to a curry frontrunner! It is sensational!
It boasts all the flavor of your favorite restaurant – and then some. I used the same rave-review formula of my red curry and yellow curry recipes by enhancing store-bought green curry paste with ginger, garlic, onions, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar and the resulting curry tastes like it’s been simmering for hours but only takes minutes!
This Thai Green Curry recipe is sweeter than red curry, more herbilicious than yellow curry, as spicy as you want with chili paste and warm, creamy and comforting all over. I’ve added my favorite veggie combo of sweet potatoes, cauliflower, bell peppers and peas but you can use whatever you have on hand to make it the best 35 minute “clean out the fridge” meal of your life. Serve this Green Curry with rice, zoodles, noodles, or quinoa – and you might just forget the takeout forever.
WHAT IS GREEN CURRY MADE OF?
The star ingredient of this Thai Green Curry recipe is green curry paste. You are welcome to make your own but I opt for the shortcut route of store-bought paste. It still boasts the tantalizing combination of ingredients that result in delightfully complex flavors – but all the work has been done for you!
Green curry paste is made of:
- green chili peppers such as serrano peppers
- green bell pepper
- green onions
- Thai basil
- Kaffir lime leaf
- coriander seeds
- cumin seeds
- black peppercorns
Green curry paste is traditionally made by toasting the coriander seeds and cumin seeds then pounding all of the ingredients together into a smooth paste using a mortar and pestle although modern recipes use a blender.
The green curry paste can be used in recipes like this Thai Green Curry in which the paste is first bloomed in oil and then simmered with chicken, vegetables and coconut milk or it is delicious added to roasted vegetables (before roasting), stir-fried vegetables, salad dressings, soups, sauces, or other proteins such as fish or steak.
WHAT MAKES GREEN CURRY GREEN?
Green curry (Thai: แกงเขียวหวาน, pronounced [kɛ̄ːŋ kʰǐaw wǎːn], literally means sweet green curry, although the sweet refers to the shade of green and not the taste.
The “green” in Green Curry obviously is named for the color of the dish, although curries such as this recipe that use store-bought paste don’t emerge as green. The green color is more of a mild, creamy yellow-green due to the addition of coconut milk. The green itself comes mainly from the green chilies, often serranos, as well as cilantro, Thai basil, Kaffir lime leaf and green onions.
WHAT DOES GREEN CURRY TASTE LIKE?
The fun thing about curries is they are all different! Although I add similar ingredients to each of my curry recipes, they all emerge with a unique flavor profile. Green curry is:
- Sweet. Green curry is distinctively sweeter than red curry which nicely balances all of the earthy herbs.
- Mild but fragrant. Both yellow curry and red curry are spicier than Green Curry which is why I use so much more curry paste in this recipe. That being said, the flavors are so fragrant and balanced that I don’t find the need to add chili sauce. Even my husband who LOVES heat prefers his Green Curry without additional chili sauce so the flavors can truly shine.
- Fresh. Green Curry boasts distinctly fresh herb taste with its pronounced cilantro, lime and kaffir lime leaf flavors.
- Creamy. It’s addictively creamy when combined with full fat coconut milk to complete the tantalizing experience.
In this Thai Green Curry recipe, the green curry paste gets combined with coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, and ginger to create a velvety Thai Green Curry that is salty from the fish sauce, grounded by the savory soy sauce, tangy from the lime juice, mildly sweet from the curry paste and coconut milk cocooned in a gentle heat. In short, this Green Curry is mildly sweet, tangy, salty, savory, earthy, fresh, fragrant and lick-the-plate delicious!
What is hotter red or green curry?
In the US, Thai red curry is the spiciest curry and Thai Green Curry is much milder, and considered subtle and gentle with very little heat BUT in South Thailand, bird’s eye chilies are added in Thai Green Curry, which makes it spicier and hotter than the red curry. So, if you’re traveling outside of the US and order Green Curry, don’t be surprised if you have to guzzle a side of water. Even in the US, every curry can be different based on the number of chilies the cook added, so when in doubt, it’s always a good idea to ask how spicy the curry is before ordering.
What is the difference between red and green curry?
Red curry is considered a spicy curry. It boasts a bold, spicy flavor with a depth from red chiles, crushed garlic, lemongrass, shallots, and ginger. Aside from the fact that red curry is spicier than green curry, red curry has more pungent, earthy flavors with soy sauce or fish sauce. Green curry may include fish sauce as well, but it is less pronounced. Instead Green curry is fresh and fragrant. Herbs and aromatics such as basil, coriander and lime leaf are the dominant flavors with just a kiss of heat from the chilies.
What is the difference between yellow and green curry?
Both green and red curries share similar ingredients but green tends to be sweeter like yellow curry. The main difference between the two is the unique flavor of yellow curry due to the addition of curry powder, cumin and turmeric. Turmeric is also what gives it its distinctive beautiful yellow color.
GREEN CHICKEN CURRY INGREDIENTS:
The recipe ingredient for this Green Chicken Curry recipe might look lengthy but I promise the recipe is super simple – you are basically sautéing your chicken, veggies then dumping in the rest of the ingredients.
- Thai Green Curry paste: should be easy to find in the Asian section of your grocery store. You will need one 4 oz. jar.
- Aromatics: onions, ginger and garlic elevate the curry flavor profile and are essential to all curries. If you are feeling extra lazy, you can substitute the fresh ingredients with powders. The typical rule of thumb is 3:1, so one part dried to three parts fresh.
- Coconut milk: is essential for Thai Green Curry! My favorite brand, hands down, is Chaokoh. I love it so much that when my grocery store stopped carrying it, I started purchasing it on Amazon! Chaokoh is creamier than any other brand I’ve tried by FAR and therefore results in the most lusciously creamy, comforting curry sauce ever.
- Chicken: slice the chicken into ¼” thick by 2-inch long pieces. This ensures the chicken is thin enough for the curry to infuse it with flavor and thick enough that it doesn’t overcook. You may also chop into bite size pieces if you prefer.
- Vegetables: use your favorites! Just make sure you add vegetables with similar cooking times together. If you don’t add potatoes, you will not need to simmer the curry as long.
- Fish sauce: this will not make your Green Chicken Curry taste fishy! Fish sauce is used in all Thai cooking for fabulous umami flavor. My husband thinks he hates fish sauce but LOVES all of my Thai recipes ;).
- Soy sauce: use low sodium soy sauce so you can control the saltiness of the curry.
- Lime juice: adds freshness and awakens the rest of the flavors. You may use fresh or bottled lime juice.
- Thai Basil: tastes like Italian basil with slightly savory, spicy, anise-like notes. It is sturdier than Italian basil so it can be added at the beginning of cooking verses at the end.
Do you have to use full-fat coconut milk?
I don’t insist on full fat coconut milk but I HIGHLY suggest it if you would like restaurant-style creamy, flavorful Thai Green Curry Chicken. Light coconut milk simply isn’t as thick or flavorful so you’re missing out on both flavor and texture. If you do use light coconut milk, I suggest adding an additional 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch to help thicken it up.
Where Can I find Green Curry Paste?
Green Curry Paste is much easier to find than yellow curry paste. It should be easy to find in the Asian section of your grocery store. I find Thai Kitchens Green Curry paste to be the most common and is what I used in this recipe. While, I wouldn’t say it’s the best curry paste, it gets the job done, especially because we are going to be elevating with additional aromatics.
I would just be aware that that some brands of curry pastes are spicier than others. I used the full jar, all 6 tablespoons of green curry paste in this recipe. If you use a different brand than you might want to start off with less curry paste because it could be spicier.
Can I use Italian basil instead of Thai Basil?
Remember when I said this Thai Green Curry recipe is pantry friendly? That is because you are welcome to substitute Thai basil with Italian basil because Thai basil is already in the curry paste and there are other strong flavors going on. Of course, Thai basil is preferred, but isn’t necessary. I find Thai basil is worth seeking out when less ingredients are used such as Vietnamese spring rolls, in which the flavor is a key element.
WHAT CHICKEN IS BEST FOR GREEN CHICKEN CURRY?
You can use either chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this Green Chicken Curry recipe. I tend to use chicken breasts because they are leaner and emerge wonderfully juicy in this coconut bath, but chicken thighs would be even juicier – totally your call.
You can even use leftover rotisserie chicken and add it to the skillet along with the garlic and ginger. This would not be my first choice however, because the flavor is only on the outside of the chicken instead of the green curry paste permeating the chicken as it cooks.
CAN I MAKE GREEN CURRY VEGETARIAN?
Absolutely! You can replace the chicken with extra-firm tofu or replace the chicken with extra vegetables or chic peas.
Is this green curry gluten free?
To make this gluten free Green Curry, replace the soy sauce with tamari. The remaining ingredients should be gluten free but double check the label of your fish sauce and green curry paste.
WHAT OTHER VEGETABLES GO WITH GREEN CURRY CHICKEN?
Green Curry often is paired with green vegetables, but for this Thai Green Curry recipe, I’ve used what I think creates the most tantalizing flavor and texture. That being said, you are welcome to customize this Green Curry with your favorite vegetables such as:
- bok choy
- snow peas
- Yukon potatoes
- butternut squash
HOW TO MAKE THAI GREEN CURRY RECIPE
Bloom the curry. The key to unlocking the full flavor of green curry paste is to bloom the curry. This is essentially toasting the curry in oil which helps the flavor emerge or “bloom” – and it makes a HUGE difference. We also cook the curry with the chicken, onions and sweet potatoes which infuses them with flaVOR. Have you ever had chicken in a curry that is bland? Well, they have definitely skipped this step and just boiled the chicken in the sauce as an afterthought.
Sauté vegetables. Next, add bell peppers, cauliflower, ginger and garlic, and sauté for 1 minute. This develops the ginger and garlic flavor but more importantly allows the curry to permeate all of the ingredients before we add the coconut milk.
Add coconut milk. Next, stir in half of the coconut milk. Whisk the remaining half of coconut milk with a little cornstarch and add it to the skillet. While cornstarch definitely isn’t authentic in Green Chicken Curry, it is a fabulous trick I’ve discovered and use in all of my curry recipes to create a creamier coconut sauce – it will BLOW YOUR MIND how creamy it gets! Dump in all the remaining ingredients except the peas and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Add peas. Stir in peas. If you are using Italian basil instead of Thai basil, you will also add it at this time. Cook just until peas are heated through, about one minute. If you would like a thinner sauce, thin with water/chicken broth. Discard bay leaf.
Garnish! Garnish with optional lime juice (love), fresh basil, cilantro and chili sauce to taste. Serve with rice, zoodles, etc.
Green Curry Recipe Variations
As previously discussed, you can customize the Green Curry by swapping the vegetables for your favorites or what you have on hand. You can also make Green Curry with shrimp, pork or tofu instead of chicken. Just make sure you add the shrimp the last 3-5 minutes of simmering.
Aside from veggies and protein, you can customize the flavor of this Thai Green Curry recipe to make it YOUR favorite curry. It can be made spicy, not spicy, sweeter, savorier, more or less tangy, etc. Here’s how:
- For sweeter curry: Add more brown sugar
- For saltier curry? Add more fish sauce or soy sauce
- For tangier curry? Add more lime juice
- For spicier curry? Add chili sauce
- For thinner curry? Add chicken broth
- For thicker curry? Add a cornstarch slurry
- For more crunch? Add cashews, peanuts or chickpeas
CAN I MAKE GREEN CURRY CHICKEN AHEAD OF TIME?
Absolutely! This Green Curry Chicken recipe tastes even better the next day as the flavors have time to build and meld which makes it fabulous for meal prep or on-the- go lunches.
For meal prep lunches, simply divide the curry between airtight containers along with rice, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to put the rice on top of the curry so it doesn’t get soggy.
HOW TO REHEAT GREEN CURRY CHICKEN
- Microwave: transfer small portions to a microwave safe dish, heat for one minute, stir then continue to heat at 30 second intervals.
- Stove: For larger portions, rewarm gently in a large skillet, stirring often. You can microwave the rice as you’re warming the green curry on the stove.
HOW LONG IS GREEN CHICKEN CURRY GOOD FOR?
Green Curry Chicken should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it is good for up to five days.
CAN I PREPARE GREEN CHICKEN CURRY AHEAD OF TIME?
Absolutely! You can prep all of the ingredients ahead of time so this Green Curry recipe can come together in minutes. You will want to keep whatever ingredients you are adding at different stages separate from one another but ingredients added at the same time can be stored together:
- Slice chicken and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Chop the onions and store in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and place in a bowl submerged with cold water in the refrigerator to prevent browning due to oxidation.
- Chopped cauliflower, red bell peppers, ginger and garlic can all be stored in the same airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Chop basil and store in an airtight container.
- Within the next 48 hours, proceed with the recipe without any of the prep!
CAN I FREEZE GREEN CURRY CHICKEN?
Yes! This Thai Green Curry recipe freezes well because the base of the sauce is coconut milk instead of dairy. The only issues you might have with freezing your curry is the texture of the vegetables. Some vegetables freeze better than others, so just keep that in mind if you are making this coconut curry specifically to freeze.
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH GREEN CHICKEN CURRY?
- Rice: Green Curry Chicken is traditionally served with rice to mellow and absorb the flavorful sauce and offers a neutral textural component. I prefer jasmine rice or brown rice but any rice will work. Just pop the rice in your rice cooker for a hands’ off, easy side. Just make sure to thoroughly rinse your white rice until the water runs clear to achieve the fluffiest rice. You can also use microwave rice pouches if you’re making a serving for one or meal prep.
- Low carb options: Cauliflower rice, quinoa, broccoli rice or a blend of brown rice and any of the aforementioned options. You can also use low carb noodles such as zoodles or spaghetti squash.
- Appetizers: Turn this Thai Green Curry recipe into a feast with traditional Thai Chicken Satay or Peanut Pineapple Thai Chicken Satay, Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps, or Thai Chicken Pizza. It is also delish with other Asian inspired, non-Thai appetizers such as Crab Rangoons, Homemade Egg Rolls, Pineapple Cream Cheese Wontons, or potstickers.
- Bread: Naan or roti bread to soak up the delectable sauce.
- Salad: A simple green salad or Asian Pineapple Salad.
- Fruit: I love extra sweet fruit with Thai food such as pineapple and mangos.
LOOKING FOR MORE THAI RECIPES?
- Thai Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry
- Thai Orange Peanut Chicken
- Thai Coconut Chicken Rice Soup
- Thai Peanut Dressing
- Thai Peanut Orange Chicken
- Thai Peanut Beef and Broccoli
- Thai Chicken Tacos
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