Thai Green Curry in 30 minutes made by freshening up store bought curry paste OR with a homemade green curry paste! Whichever way you go, the one essential step to make a really great green curry is to fry off the curry paste.
Make this with chicken or even entirely meat free. With a sauce this good, you can put anything in it – and it will taste amazing!
Thai Green Curry recipe
The single most requested recipe is finally here!! We love the colour, the spiciness, and how fragrant the creamy sauce is.
It’s the curry we sweat and swear our way through, guzzling down water and wiping our brows when we confidently tell the waiter “give it to us the way it should be – extra spicy!!”
Luckily, when we make it at home, we can dial back the spiciness substantially. 😂 Whether made with curry paste in a jar OR homemade green curry paste!
“This can be a quick 30 minute Thai Green Curry made with store bought curry paste – OR go all out with a homemade curry paste!”
The BEST Green Curry Paste
With the fresh aromatic ingredients used in South East Asian curries, I’ll always be an advocate of making the curry pastes from scratch because it’s not possible to capture that flavour in jars. But it’s just not viable to do that every time I have a hankering for curry.
So I’ll reach for curry paste in a jar. I think the best green curry paste is Maesri (which also happens to be the cheapest at around $1.20). It’s sold at Woolies, Coles (I’m in Australia) and Asian grocery stores. (here it is on Amazon US).
Maesri yields the closest result to homemade green curry paste. I find the other brands to be too sweet with less green curry flavour – and strangely, they are spicier!
Pimping up curry in a jar
It’s inevitable using any curry paste out of a jar rather than making it from scratch that the curry will be lacking a certain freshness.
So what I do is freshen it up using fresh garlic, ginger and lemongrass.
Because “quick and easy” is the go here, I usually don’t even use fresh lemongrass, I use lemongrass paste. It works a treat!
What goes in green curry
The most popular version of green curry is Chicken, so that’s the base version I’m sharing today. While there’s no set rules about what goes in a Thai Green Chicken Curry, the most common combination seems to be chicken, eggplant and snow peas which is what I’ve gone with.
But it’s very easy to switch it out for another protein of choice, or to make it meat free so I’ve included directions in the recipe.
In addition to the curry paste (and pimping it up, if using jar paste), there’s actually not that many ingredients in Thai Green Curry.
Coconut milk – full fat please! Fat is where the flavour is, if you use low fat coconut milk the sauce will lack flavour. You could even use coconut cream, if you want a richer version!
Chicken or vegetable broth – chicken is better (deeper flavours) but vegetable is fine if making a vegetarian version.
Chicken – Thigh is best because it stays juicy even after the requiring simmering time to thicken the sauce
Asian (Japanese) Eggplant – brilliant sponge for soaking up the sauce. The small eggplants are ideal because the eggplant is cooked until soft and the skin holds it together. Sub with small normal eggplants, or if you dislike eggplants, try zucchini!
Snow peas – for colour and freshness
Sugar – for extra sweetness
Fish sauce – may not be needed if using paste from a jar. Yes it’s stinky but it’s essential for Thai curries and once cooked, it doesn’t taste fishy at all
Kaffir Lime leaves – it provides a earthy citrus fragrance to the sauce that’s inherent to green curry. It’s readily available in Australia nowadays, but if you can’t find it, then a lemongrass stalk will be a decent substitute. Freezes great – I almost always have some in the freezer.
Thai Basil – essential for a true green curry experience! Tastes like Italian basil with a slightly more aniseedy flavour
Lime juice – just a squeeze, for freshness!
What makes green curry green?
The colour mostly comes from large green chillies which aren’t that spicy, they are mostly for colour and flavour. The curry paste also has small Thai chillies which provide the fiery heat that green curry is known for.
If you make your own green curry paste, you can skip the spicy chillies without compromising on flavour!
How to make Thai Green Curry
The making part is very straightforward which is why if you use curry paste from a jar, green curry is something you can have any night of the week.
The essential step here is to fry off the curry paste, whether using store bought or homemade. This is the equivalent to sautéing garlic until golden, a step used in virtually all my savoury recipes.
Homemade vs curry in a jar
Here’s a comparison of the two. Flavour wise, it’s inevitable there is a difference but the curry in a jar version is still very, very good. Certainly better than many local Thai restaurants which are often far too sweet, weak, or watery.
The homemade curry paste version is also slightly greener – owing to the fresh chillies and coriander/cilantro blitzed into the paste.
Thai Green Curry is….
Very fragrant – from all the herbs and aromatics in the curry paste. It has a less “in your face” flavour compared to Thai Red Curry but it’s more fragrant.
Creamy, sweet, and salty. But all too often, Thai takeout places make it far too sweet!
Sauce is not as thick as Thai Red Curry, it’s meant to be a thinner sauce. My theory is because if you simmer the sauce too long to make it thicker, the sauce turns dark and loses the fresh green colour. It kind of looks like spinach soup!
Serve green curry with jasmine rice for a true Thai restaurant experience. And don’t forget some ice cold beer to temper the heat! – Nagi x
Make a meal out of it – try these on the side
Crunchy Asian Slaw on the side – great all rounder Asian salad that goes with all Asian foods
Asian Sesame Dressing for any fresh salad or steamed vegetables
More Thai takeout favourites
Pad Thai – truly just like takeout!
Pad See Ew – Thai stir fried noodles
Browse the Thai recipe collection
Thai Green Curry
Watch how to make it
Thai Green Curry
Curry - use ONE:
- 4 - 6 tbsp Thai Green Curry Paste (Maesri best) OR (Note 1)
- 1 quantity homemade green curry paste (Note 1)
Extras - for jar curry paste (Note 2):
- 2 large garlic cloves , minced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger , finely grated
- 1 tbsp lemongrass paste (Note 2)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup (250ml) chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium
- 400 g/14oz coconut milk , full fat (Note 4)
- 1 - 3 tsp fish sauce *
- 1 - 3 tsp white sugar *
- 1/8 tsp salt *
- 6 kaffir lime leaves , torn in half (Note 5)
- 350 g/12 oz chicken thigh , skinless boneless, sliced (Note 6)
- 2 Japanese eggplants, , small, 1cm / 2/5" slices (Note 7)
- 1 1/2 cups snow peas , small, trimmed
- 16 Thai basil leaves (Note 8)
- Juice of 1/2 lime , to taste
- Crispy fried Asian shallots , high recommended (Note 9)
- Thai basil or cilantro/coriander , recommended
- Green or red chillies slices , optional
- Steamed jasmine rice
- Heat oil in a heavy based skillet or pot over medium high heat.
- Add curry paste (and garlic, ginger and lemongrass Extras, if using) and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until it mostly "dries out" - see video. Don't breath in the fumes!!
- Add chicken broth and coconut milk, mix to dissolve paste.
- Curry in a jar seasonings: Add 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 tsp sugar, no salt.
- Homemade curry paste seasonings: Add 3 tsp fish sauce, 3 tsp sugar, 1/8 tsp salt.
- Add kaffir lime leaves. Mix then bring to simmer.
- Add chicken, stir then lower heat to medium so it's bubbling gently. Cook 7 minutes.
- Add eggplants, cook 5 minutes until soft.
- Taste sauce. Add fish sauce or salt for more saltiness, sugar for sweetness.
- Add snow peas, cook 2 minutes until a bit softened, then stir through basil and lime juice. Sauce should have reduced but will still be a be on the thin side, not thick - that's how it's should be. DO NOT keep simmering - sauce will darken.
- Serve curry over jasmine rice with garnishes of choice.
* Vegetarian - Asian eggplant, green beans, zucchini (pictured in post). Other vegetables that go great: broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, sweet or normal potato, pumpkin, mushrooms (cook to soft, great sponge!)
* Prawns / shrimp or fish pieces instead of chicken - add towards end, 3 to 5 min cook time
* Beef or pork - Use a quick cooking cut, cut into strips or cubes. I sear beef and pork first before adding into curry sauces, the flavour is better. Use any quick cooking cut, sprinkle with salt and pepper, sear to brown outside but leave inside uncooked. Then add into sauce just to finish cooking through. 11. Nutrition excludes rice and toppings.
Life of Dozer
He high tailed it out of the house pretty quickly when I started frying off the curry paste – he can’t handle the heat!! (Neither can I – I always forget not to breath in the chilli fumes!!)