thai green curry

March 22, 2010

I know what you’re thinking, I know what you’re thinking: “doesn’t look very green, does it?”. We’ll get to that in a bit…

Anywho, as evidenced by the side bar of this blog, I am a big fan of Thai food and have had the fortune to travel there twice in my life.

The first time was part of my post-university round-the-world travels and the second was for my brother’s wedding just over a year ago. Both times I was bowled over by the amazingly diverse and flavourful food, as well as the incredible people, crazy history and of course, the beauty of the place.

After my brother’s wedding, we got to do some travelling and whilst in Pai, a village in hilly northern Thailand, I took a Thai cookery class in this guy’s house. I’ll have to do a dedicated post at some point to show you all what it was like…but this post is not about that.

It is, however, about finding the homemade cookbook our lovely teacher, gave me before I left, with all his hand-typed recipes. What a piece of gold!

Yet, I’ve never got around to making a single one. Well, I took the plunge and finally bought a mortar and pestle so that I can make my own curry paste…and now there’s nothing stopping me!

Obviously, you totally do not have to make your own paste- I just really wanted to recreate the full experience of cooking the dish from scratch.

clockwise from top left: coconut milk, galangal, lemongrass, coconut milk can, sweet holy basil, dried red chillies

Now, as to the lack of green in my “green” curry, there are a couple of reasons why it turned out that way. Firstly, I could not find dried green chillies anywhere, even the Asian grocery store, which was of course my first port of call…so red it was. Secondly, if I’d have added more basil leaves to the paste, I think the green would have zinged a little more too.

Some other notes I’d make since this was my first time making a Thai curry from scratch and it was not perfect: next time I would be more liberal with the chillies (frankly, I was terrified of blowing my face off the way I did in Thailand…), I’d also use more basil leaves, and less oil.

Still, it was damn tasty and got a big thumbs up from the bloke sitting next to me ;)

Thai Green Curry


Green Curry Paste
(technically, this is red curry paste with sweet basil leaves added)

  • 1 – 3 big and small dried green chillies (red work too), soaked in hot water for 10 mins. After soaking, remove seeds and chop.
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, chopped (if your normal grocery store doesn’t have this, check out your local Asian grocery store)
  • 1 tbsp galangal, chopped (in the ginger family. Again, check out an Asian grocery store)
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kaffir lime skin (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander root (or 1 tsp coriander stem)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp white or black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Take a wok, or large pan and dry fry (no oil or water) the coriander seeds, peppercorns and cumin seeds until you can smell their aroma, hear popping and see smoke.
  2. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl.
  3. Take a mortar and pestle or blender and grind the seeds from the bowl until they look like powder.
  4. Add the salt and then all the other ingredients.
  5. Grind ingredients until they form a paste.

Green Curry

  • 2 oz eggplant, chopped into bite-size pieces and put in a bowl with salted water to prevent browning
  • 1 or 2 baby sweetcorns, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, rolled and cut into small strips
  • 20 leaves of sweet basil
  • 3-4 oz chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk

For the sauce:

le=”font-style: italic;”>Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (again, check out your local Asian grocery store for this)


  1. Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a pot over high heat.
  2. Add 2 tbsp curry paste and let cook for a couple of minutes or until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken and add a dash of coconut milk if it starts to burn.
  4. Add your hard vegetables (eggplant, baby corn) and let cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Put the coconut milk in the pot and stir.
  6. Once the coconut milk comes to a boil add the sauce.
  7. Put any soft vegetables in (our teacher suggested boiled pumpkin but it didn’t appeal to me!)
  8. Check the taste…
  9. Turn off the heat and add the sweet basil leaves.
  10. Serve with white rice.

I know that the long list of ingredients/directions looks kind of daunting and I won’t lie that this is not the quickest dish in the world but it’s not the longest or hardest either! Once you’ve made your trip to the store (fun) and have all your ingredients prepped, you’re good to go.

Next up for me? Massaman curry, Stir Fried Holy Basil and Pad Thai – stay tuned!

What Thai dishes do you like? Have you ever tried making them at home?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Janetha March 22, 2010 at 10:58 am

YUM! i love thai food! i want to go to thailand. one day. i took a thai cooking class at sur la table and was so shocked that i could make such great thai food myself. however, i have not recreated any of the recipes since the class. the boy isnt a thai fan and so i havent had a good reason to make the recipes. wanna come over?!


Jenny March 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I am obsessed with coconunt and curry flavors! Could eat it all day every day:)


sophia March 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Haha you've got a very cautious hand….I'm the opposite, I would have put way too much chilies in there to be edible, but still eat it anyway because I'm a spiceaholic!

I love Thai food, but never really tried making it myself before.


Holly March 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

okay, this is just one more reason why we cannot live so far apart. thai green curry? only my second favorite curry besides red – actually, massaman curry is my favorite. so maybe green is #3 but it doesn't really matter, because i love them all.

and thailand. *sigh*

time for another travel venture :)


Erica March 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

SO cool that your bro got married there! It looks SO incredible…as does this dish! Its always fun to experiment in the kitchen. I haven't had Thai food in ages- I don't even remember what I used to get. Can't wait to see your next experiments with Thai food :)


Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) March 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

Thai curries, how I love them! There was a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant that I used to frequent in college. Le sigh, I miss it! I also really like pad thai. Mmm. Your food photos are mouth-watering as always :-)


elise March 25, 2010 at 7:33 pm

my sis just got back from thailand…that combined with this post and my love for thai food makes me think i need to get my butt on a plane. now.


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