The secrets to a really great Thai curry using store bought curry paste are: sautéing the curry paste with onion, garlic and fresh chilli, and simmering the curry with kaffir lime leaves (key tip). Plus my secret tip for a thick, extra saucy, extra tasty sauce with 1/3 less calories – MANGOES. Seriously. (But I’ve also provided the recipe using just coconut milk!)
Ever since my visit to the Groves Grown Tropical Fruit farm which I babbled about in the Coconut Shrimp/Prawns with Spicy Thai Mango Sauce recipe I shared a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been going a little mango-mad.
Mango sorbet. Mango cheesecake. Mango marinade (seriously SO GOOD!). Mango salsas.
I don’t want to overwhelm you with mango recipes so I decided to pick one more to share this summer. And really, there was no contention.
This Mango Thai Red Curry. There are no words. Honestly, I think it’s the best “from scratch” invention to come out of this kitchen for a while. LOOK how thick and saucy it is! With 1/3 less calories!!!
Everyone loves a great curry, especially creamy coconut milk ones. But I rarely have Thai curries midweek because of the calories….WOWZER! Coconut milk is seriously loaded with calories. There are 920 calories / 3,850 kilojoules in one 400g/13oz can of coconut milk. Did you know that??
Sure, you could go low-fat coconut milk. But it’s nowhere near the same……Those who have tried it will know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that the curry sauce is watery instead of creamy.
So the awesome discovery I made?? Switch out half the coconut milk with mango puree. That’s right, mangoes! In puree form it’s thick and creamy, has the sweetness of coconut milk – the PERFECT coconut milk substitute. With less than 1/3 of the calories of coconut milk.
And in case you are concerned, NO it’s not too sweet! Coconut milk is sweet anyway, so it basically replaces that. Plus, here are the ratios I use: 1 can (400g/13oz) coconut milk, 1 cup mango puree and 3/4 cup chicken broth/stock (thins out the mango, adds extra flavour depth).
There is no way anyone would taste this curry and think “this is sweet”.
To be clear – I did not invent this recipe in a bid to lighten up curry! I made it simply because I thought it would be delish – and it blew me away. And my taste testers. Especially when I told them it was so much healthier than the usual red curry!
This is the very first recipe I’m sharing which uses a store bought curry paste. And it’s in response to a request from a friend who mentioned that curries she makes using store bought curry paste just never tastes as good as restaurant curries.
There’s no denying that a made-from-scratch curry paste makes a difference. But you know what? The bigger factor is using store bought curry paste properly – freshening up the flavours by sautéing it with onion, garlic, ginger and chillies.
And the ultimate tip I have? KAFFIR LIME LEAVES. That is the key. They smell limey but are earthier, and when you plonk them into the sauce to simmer away, that is when the magic happens and you’ll make a curry that rivals a restaurant one.
Just like it’s the secret to make a Restaurant Style Coconut Rice.
I need to stop here. Otherwise I’ll write a thesis.
I really hope you try this. I can’t stress enough how delicious it is! Thick, creamy, EXTRA saucy with less calories. *Eyes fluttering* Thai curry heaven. – Nagi x
- 1 tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, grape seed)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp ginger, minced (not critical)
- ½ - 1 tsp red chilli, minced (Optional. I used 1 tsp.)
- 1 small onion, sliced (brown, white, yellow) or 3 eschallots
- 1.2lb / 600g chicken thigh fillets (or breast), cut into bite size pieces
- 4 - 5 tbsp Thai Red Curry Paste (Note 1)
- 1 can (400ml/13oz) coconut milk (full fat is better but low fat is ok too)
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 1 cup mango puree, preferably fresh (1 large mango) (Note 2)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- Jasmine rice
- Coriander/cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
- Fresh red chili, sliced
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Add garlic, ginger, chilli (if using) and onion and saute until the onion is starting to soften.
- Add chicken and cook until white all over but still raw inside.
- Add curry paste and saute for 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add coconut milk and chicken broth. Bring to simmer, stirring to dissolve the curry paste into the liquid. Then add the mango, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves.
- Turn heat down to medium and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Adjust saltiness using fish sauce.
- Serve over jasmine rice, garnished with coriander/cilantro, wedges of lime and slices of red chilli, if desired.
2. To make mango puree, place mango in a food processor of blender and whizz until smooth. A handheld stick blender can also be used.
If you can't find fresh mangoes, either defrost then puree frozen mango or use canned mango (pieces, drained, or pureed). Mango juice is not suitable because it is watered down.
3. To make this with just coconut milk, leave out the mangoes and chicken broth/stock and use 1½ cups extra coconut milk (just under 1 extra can). The nutrition information for this alternative is below.
Nutrition per serving assuming 4 servings using MANGO puree. Note: This curry is saucier than most Thai curry recipes you’ll find!
Nutrition per serving assuming 4 servings using only Coconut Milk per Note 3.