**You may choose any protein or flavor combination, or just do all vegetables!
How would I explain Green Curry to a first-timer?!
It’s something in between a stir-fry covered in sauce, and a soup – because you cook the veggies and meat in the sauce, similar to a soup– but, it’s not as “soupy”! It’s great with rice or rice noodles, but it can absolutely be eaten alone (if you’re limiting carbs or grains) or eat with coconut lentils (recipe here).
The “sauce” in Green Curry is made of coconut milk and a smashed paste made from lots of fresh herbs and spices like garlic, onion, cilantro, green chilis, lemongrass, basil, lime and the sisters of ginger= galangal and turmeric. It’s taste-bud exciting and refreshing and comforting all at the same time, and it always tastes unique- especially since you can change the proteins and produce you want in it!
My Recipe Combinations:
– with Chicken and Jackfruit (or Pineapple)
– with Beef and banana
– with Tofu and green long-beans
Things In ALL Green Curries:
Base flavors (aromatics used to make paste): coconut oil and a paste made of garlic, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro, lemongrass, green chilis, sweet basil, shallot
Flavor additions at end of cooking: coconut palm sugar, fresh lime, fish sauce or soy sauce
Base produce ingredients in all Green Curries:
zucchini, eggplant, onion, peppers
Or- you can switch it up and substitute OR include-
tomato, green long-beans, carrot, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, bamboo shoots, fresh coconut meat, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, pineapple, jackfruit, berries…whatever you want really!
Here Is a chart of the above Green Curry Ingredient explanation:
There are 2 ways to make Green Curry:
Use a store-bought paste.
Make a paste.
If you’re going with the time-saving method #1- don’t feel bad at all! You’re still making “real” Thai-style food and it will taste really great. This is how I made it for years, and still often do! Sourcing all of the fresh ingredients every time you want Green Curry can be too much of a hassle, and then pounding out the paste requires a mortar and pestle. The best Green Curry Paste brands, I think, are: X, X OR X.
If you want the ultimate freshness and taste-ness out of your curry, don’t think that making a paste is impossible. I do it maybe every other time I make curry (which is often since it is one of my top fav foods)….and it requires some ingredient gathering and a little arm exercise.
Here’s the recipe for if Option 1 or 2. Either use a paste you bought, or make one with my recipe below.
*If you use a store-bought paste: Note that in the recipe, I have put a star next to some herbs/aromatics to tell you that these are actually optional– but I like to add them if I’m using a store-bought paste- to amp up the flavor by adding some fresh herbs along with the paste…..So, again– they are already in the paste, and you don’t need to add more if you don’t want to– but I add them for extra taste and health benefits (click for health benefits of herbs).
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 1 green zucchini, chopped (or use about 10 baby Thai zucchini if you can find them!)
- 1 purple eggplant, chopped (or use about 10 baby Thai eggplant if you can find them!)
- ½ onion, chopped into slices, then quartered
- ½ red pepper, sliced into thin pieces
- 10 baby tomatoes
- OPTIONAL: 2 garlic bulbs, minced or crushed
- OPTIONAL: 3 shallots, minced
- OPTIONAL: ½" galangal (or ginger), minced
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 Tablespoons Green Curry Paste, store-bought or home-made
- 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Kaffir Lime Leaves
- 1 fresh lime, (quartered)
- handful fresh coriander
- Wash and chop all produce.
- Prep chicken breasts by cutting into super thin slices with a scissor.
- Heat a wok with the coconut oil, and add the paste- fry it up for less than a minute (to deepen flavor), and than add the thick cream of the coconut milk. Fry this up until it "splits" and then add the rest of the coconut milk.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the chicken. Stir a bit and after ~1-2mins, add the vegetables (except for the tomatoes).
- Add the tomatoes, coconut sugar, fish sauce and cook a minute or so longer.
- Turn off the heat.
- Taste, add the lime. Do you want it less spicy or more sweet? Add more coconut sugar in increments of ½ Tablespoon. More spicy? Add spice from your spice rack. More tangy? Add more lime juice. More salty? I love to add garlic salt to the coconut jasmine rice I eat this with!.
How to use this massive recipe?! Read the recipe through to get some ideas about how to cook curry- and then just go back to follow the bullet points as you cook– you don’t have to read all of the tips every time you cook if you don’t need to!
Amount: Recipes make more than enough for 2 people, leaving some leftovers- I like to make a big amount with lots of protein/produce, since I have to feed a White Tiger and I also love having a little leftover for lunch the next day…
Curries are not exact: You will learn that curries can be adapted in many ways and can be made into an amount for however many servings you want to make! You can add more proteins or produce to fit what you’re craving, and you can use less or more paste to get a milder/stronger curry taste, and less or more coconut milk for a more thick or a more soupy curry base. Start with this recipe- which is my typical go-to, and it’s still filled with approximates, which are symbolised with ~ , so don’t worry about exact measurements.
How to adapt the amount: If you want to make enough for 4 people or more, I would suggest not to double the recipe, but start with a 50% increase in ingredients for a doubling in people…for example, for 4 people, add 1 Tbsp of paste, and 1.5 cup of coconut milk, and then ~¼ cup extra of onions, peppers, zucchini, eggplants, etc…and use your own discretion about how much extra meat you want to add. Maybe ½- 1 chicken breast/100g beef steak/100g tofu per person.
To cook up the paste and make the curry sauce:
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp Green Curry Paste
*Optional if using a store-bought paste: 1/2 Tbsp each of crushed garlic bulbs, shallots, and either galangal, turmeric or ginger (although ginger will impart a bit of a different taste from the typical Thai curry- I still like it since I love ginger!)
3 cups of fresh coconut milk or 1 can coconut milk and 2 cups water (*can use more/less coconut milk or water depending on thickness preference)
~½ cup sliced onion
~½ cup sliced bell red pepper
~½ cup zucchini
~½ cup apple eggplants (you can use the more easy-to-find X? eggplant)
Protein and additional produce:
For Chicken with Jackfruit (or pineapple):
3 chicken breasts
~½ cup thinly sliced jackfruit or ~ 1 cup of chunk-slices of pineapple
~½ cup thinly sliced carrots
~½ cup sliced and de-seeded tomatoes
For Beef with Banana:
~2 100 gram steaks of beef, thinly cut into thin bite-size pieces
~1 large or 2 small bananas, cut into little rounds
For Tofu with Green Long-Beans:
~200 grams or roughly 2 cups of cubed tofu
~ 1 cup of chopped green long-beans
~ 1 cup of cubed sweet potato
*If making regular or Coconut Jasmine rice to eat with your curry, put that in your rice cooker now, or follow my cook rice in a pan method.
Clean and prep your proteins and veggies (and keep aside on cutting board or in a bowl until ready to add to the curry):
Tofu: drain (article here?) and cube if you prefer to add it raw- so it will be extra soft. Or if you want it to have a little light crisp on it’s outsides and a soft interior, drain and cube it and then saute it in a bit of oil (sesame oil?) in a separate pan, and then set it aside until ready to add to the curry.
Chicken breasts or thighs: cut chicken meat into very thin, thin pieces- and cut against the grain of the meat so that it will be a really tender, tongue-pleasing bite of meat. This is Thai-style, as many Asian cooking uses thin, small pieces of meat in dishes….and set aside in a bowl until ready to add to the curry.
Beef: Use a cut such as flank steak, skirt steak or tenderloin, and cut the meat into very thin pieces against the grain, (just exactly as explained above for chicken)….and set aside in a bowl until ready to add to the curry.
Shrimp: de-vein….and set aside in a bowl until ready to add to the curry.
zucchini and eggplant: “apple eggplants” left whole or cut in half, or X? eggplant cut like zucchini- which can be chopped (or mandoline-sliced) into rounds that can be cut in half
onions and peppers: chopped into slices, size by preference
tomatoes: baby tomatoes added whole, or roma/vine tomatoes chopped into slices and deseeded
green beans: chopped into about 2” chunks
carrots: chopped (or mandoline-sliced) into 1-2” thin-medium-thick slices
potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin: partially-cooked first (with skins on to keep in nutrients) by boiling/steaming/microwave, then cooled, peeled and cubed- OR- peeled and cubed and par-cooked by pan-frying in light oil (may create a bit of crisp to outside of cubes)
broccoli or cauliflower: cut into bite-size stems/stalks and discard/save any leaves/excess stem
banana, pineapple, jackfruit, berries: bananas can be cut into small rounds, pineapple cut into small chunks, jackfruit can be cut into thin strips, and most berries could be added whole, except strawberries should be pitted and sliced if large.
2. Heat a skillet-wok and quick-fry the paste and add the coconut milk to create the “curry”:
To the pan, add a Tbsp of coconut oil and add 2 Tbsp of Green curry paste. Optional: add ½ Tbsp each of bulbs of crushed/minced garlic, minced galangal/turmeric or ginger, and minced shallot. Let it fry for about a minute (you don’t need to have the pan super hot for this–careful not to burn the garlic if you add it!)
Optional step to try to “split the coconut milk with the paste”: pour in a bit of the thickest/creamiest part of the coconut milk or cream and let it cook/boil with the oil until it “separates”….or just skip this and
Pour in the rest of the coconut milk (or coconut cream plus water)…bring to slight boil
3. Add the proteins and veggies into the curry to cook:
Add things with a rough “order” in mind for the things that take the longest to cook. And also with how long you want the meat to cook in mind. The meats actually cook surprisingly fast- and over-cooked meats get too tough/chewy and decrease the taste of the dish.
Veggies take about 5-8 minutes to cook and proteins (below), from 4-7 minutes (depending on your pan/wok and heat)….so I suggest to add (most of- see below for exceptions) your veggies first, wait a bit (like a minute or two) and then add your protein and cook until you can see that the proteins are cooked through and test-taste a vegetable or two to check for doneness.
Chicken: cook about 5-7 min
Beef: cook about 4-6 min
Shrimp: cook about 4-6 min (depending on using small/med/large size)
Tofu: cook about 4 min to heat thoroughly
as long as you par-cook any starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin- the veggies should take about the same amount of time (around 5-8 minutes to cook). It is okay if some of the veggies still have a bit of crunch- this tastes better than if they are cooked until soggy….and don’t worry if some veggies are cooked a bit more than others. You will adapt your “order” over time and perfect your curry to your preference.
Add tomatoes and any fruit at the very end and only have on the heat for about 1 minute or less! They will warm and soften well in the hot curry anyway.
Fresh coconut meat and bamboo shoots can be added at any time…although near the end is best for the bamboo shoots if you just want a bit of their flavor and their crunch- but you don’t want their flavor to overpower your curry (as they tend to if cooked in for the full time).