Thai Green Chicken Curry

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thai green chicken curry

There comes a time during the week when I find myself with lots of bits of vegetables in the fridge, none which can be used on their own to make any meaningful meal, but it would be a shame and a waste to otherwise throw them away. Oddly enough, this fridge raid often occurs on a Monday evening, the night when I try to empty the fridge in readiness for my weekly trip to the farmers’ markets on Tuesdays.

Faced with an odd assortment of vegetables, I often resort to making a sweet and sour sauce which beautifully brings everything together, or a spicy curry which can perk up any vegetable a bit past their prime.

The fastest route to a curry in a hurry is with a store-bought curry paste, something which I only tried for the first time when we were in the Swiss alps a few weeks ago. After having spent a week in a holiday apartment and trying my best (but failing) to cook simple meals each night with minimal ingredients, I found myself with an assortment of lone vegetables and a craving for something Asian (this is always bound to happen when we have eaten cheese and potatoes too many days in a row). I was pleasantly surprised to find that the two supermarkets in Grindelwald were well-stocked with Asian pantry ingredients, and that they even sold coriander (cilantro) at this altitude! Moreover, pre-prepared packs of fresh vegetables and spices for curries were available; these packs included Thai eggplants, snake beans, baby corn, Kaffir lime leaves, fresh green peppercorns, red chillies, lemongrass and galangal. I couldn’t believe my luck! Later that night, in our cozy apartment in the mountains with the fireplace crackling softly in the background, I managed to surprise our friends and family with a Thai yellow curry. Not a typical meal after a day on the slopes, but a delicious and hearty meal nonetheless.

thai green chicken curry

Whilst store-bought curry pastes can mean dinner on the table in less than half an hour, I usually always make my own curry paste, not least because I can control the chilli heat so that our young children can also enjoy the meal (i.e. I tend to leave out the chillies if our children will be eating with us).

The following recipe for green curry paste is one which I have been using ever since I started cooking for myself during my years at university. I have adjusted the ingredients a bit along the way, but it is a good blueprint to have. Any leftover paste can be kept in the fridge in a sterilised jar for a week or two.

As for the curry itself, the variations are limitless. I love to make a simple vegetarian curry with pumpkin, green beans and chickpeas. But more often than not, I find myself using whatever leftover vegetables I have in the fridge – eggplant (aubergines), zucchini (courgettes), carrots, capsicums (bell peppers), broccoli, cauliflower … even a medley of frozen vegetables will work well. And as we always have salad of some sort in the fridge, often baby spinach or Lamb’s lettuce, I like to stir this through the curry towards the end.

thai green chicken curry

Thai Green Chicken Curry
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: Serves 3-4
Ingredients
  • For the green curry paste:
  • 3-4 lemongrass stalks, roughly sliced
  • 2-3 red or green chillies (depending on how spicy you like your curries)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cm (1 inch) ginger or galangal, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 small shallots or 1 small red onion
  • 1 large handful coriander (cilantro), leaves and stems
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • For the curry:
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 small chicken breast fillets, largely diced
  • 1 brown onion, largely diced
  • 1 x 400 ml tin of coconut milk
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 5-6 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 courgette (zucchini), largely diced
  • 1 aubergine (eggplant), largely diced
  • 6-8 fresh baby corn
  • 1 green capsicum (bell pepper), largely diced
  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), largely diced
  • fish sauce, to taste
  • coriander (cilantro), for garnish
Method
  1. To make the curry paste, place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and blitz until you have a fine paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook the chicken until it is brown all over.
  4. Add the onion and cook for 1-2 minutes until the onions have softened slightly. Use slotted spoon to remove the chicken and onion mixture to a bowl.
  5. Place the saucepan back on the heat. Add 4 tablespoons of the curry paste to the saucepan and cook for a few minutes to release the spices.
  6. Scoop the cream from the coconut milk into the saucepan, and mix into the curry paste. Add the rest of the coconut milk (the liquid) and chicken or vegetable stock. Add the Kaffir lime leaves. Simmer gently for a few minutes.
  7. Return the chicken and onion mixture to the saucepan.
  8. Add the vegetables to the saucepan and cook until they are tender. Depending on what type of vegetables you use, you might have to add them at different times. For example, carrots and potatoes take longer to cook and should be added first, whilst capsicums (bell peppers) only need a few minutes.
  9. Taste for seasoning. You might need to add some fish sauce, lime juice, or perhaps more water or stock. If the curry needs more flavour, you could stir through more curry paste and simmer for a few more minutes.
  10. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Cook’s Notes

As mentioned above, you can change this recipe to use whatever vegetables you like.

To make a vegetarian version of the curry paste, substitute the fish sauce for soy sauce.

If feeding young children, I always leave out the chillies and serve freshly chopped chillies on the side. It’s not the same, but it’s a good way for the family to enjoy the meal together and for young palates to develop.

Share your photos!

If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird

 

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21 Comments

  1. Veena Azmanov 26 January 2017

    My absolute favorite is Thai Green Curry but I often have to use the curry paste because it’s the fresh ingredients are never available here in Israel. This looks so delicious – takes me back to Thailand.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 26 January 2017

      When I first moved to Switzerland, it was almost impossible to find most Asian ingredients. These days, it’s much easier, especially since the Swiss love to eat Thai and Asian food. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with store-bought curry paste. The one I tried the other week was very good, just very spicy!

      Reply
  2. Thai green curry is a family favourite. SO much better for you to make the paste yourself as you know what goes into it then

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 27 January 2017

      I agree, and the taste is so much more vibrant when made fresh 🙂

      Reply
  3. Ruth Meaney 26 January 2017

    I loooooooooooove green curry!! Sadly, my daughter is allergic to seafood. Can you suggest something as an alternative to fish sauce? My son can’t tolerate wheat either so regular soy sauce is out but we can do gluten free soy sauce. You’ve got me wanting a big bowl of curry and rice now! Yum!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 27 January 2017

      Hi Ruth,
      I would suggest using gluten-free soy sauce in place of fish sauce. The taste won’t be the same, but it will still be delicious.

      I once took a cooking class at a popular vegetarian restaurant in Zurich (called Hiltl), and they showed us how to make a vegetarian/vegan Thai curry which used soy sauce. It’s not a typical ingredient in Thai curries, but I can assure you that their version tastes as authentic as the real thing! In case you are interested, here is their recipe for green Thai curry paste:

      Green Thai Curry Paste (Recipe by Hiltl)
      1 shallot
      50 g garlic cloves
      80 g green chillies
      10 kaffir lime leaves
      2 limes
      1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
      1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
      25 galangal
      1/2 teaspoon black pepper, crushed
      3/4 teaspoon turmeric
      1 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
      120 ml groundnut oil

      Chop the shallot, garlic and chilli. Remove the central rib of the lime leaves and chop the leaves as finely as possible. Wash the limes and grate the peel.

      Using a wand mixer or mortar and pestle, blend the chopped ingredients together with the grated lime peel, sea salt and 50 ml oil until you have a fine paste. Add as much oil as is needed until the paste has the required consistency.

      Fill the paste in a screw top glass, smooth the top and cover completely with oil. Treated in this way the curry paste will keep fresh in the fridge for 4 weeks.

      Reply
  4. Igor @ Cooking The Globe 26 January 2017

    This curry looks amazing. Sharing it on social media!

    Reply
  5. Kate | Veggie Desserts 26 January 2017

    I love Thai green curry. Yours looks sensational!

    Reply
  6. Sandy 27 January 2017

    I love Thai curries and always looking for recipes from scratch to try. I think I have all the ingredients to give yours a try tonight. Except… my can of coconut never separates to cream on top and liquid on bottom no matter how carefully I take it out of the pantry. So can I just dump the whole can in at once?

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 27 January 2017

      Yes, of course! Sometimes I can only find coconut milk in Tetra packs which don’t have any separation between the cream and liquid. To be honest, I don’t think there is any difference to stirring the cream in first vs pouring in the whole can. It’s just how I was taught to make curries and what I see on cooking shows! Hope you will enjoy this recipe 🙂

      Reply
  7. Dani | salt sugar and i 30 January 2017

    YUM I love green curry and it’s even better with a homemade curry paste. I have to admit that I use the pre-made jar stuff most of the time as it’s just so easy for midweek dinners after work. Will have to give this homemade curry paste version a go one weekend/Friday night 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 30 January 2017

      I can see how easy and tempting it would be to resort to store-bought curry paste (now that I have tried it myself), but if you get the chance to make it from scratch, it’s totally worth it!

      Reply
  8. Britt @ Beyond The Bayou 9 February 2017

    Beautiful photos and a great recipe! I’m in the same boat when the end of the week comes along and veggies are about to go bad. I find curries always do the trick.

    Reply
  9. Mark, CompassandFork 10 February 2017

    I love that you make your green curry paste from scratch. You can tailor it to your own personal tastes and you know exactly what is in it (not to be underestimated).

    I am in Bangkok right now and we had Thai Green Curry last night. There they have these cute, small, round eggplants rather than the larger ones we tend to see in the West. Great if you can find them in a supermarket specializing in Asian ingredients. Definitely sold in Australia and the UK.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 10 February 2017

      How lucky you are to be in Bangkok! You must be feasting on delicious food at every meal! The small round eggplants you are talking about are available at the Asian grocers in Zurich (where I live), but my family don’t seem to really like them. I wonder if it’s because they are simply used to the regular eggplants (which we eat quite frequently). But I love them and add them in small quantities for myself 🙂

      Reply
  10. Monica 11 February 2017

    I have been itching to learn to cook more Asian cuisine, and this seems like a great entrée! I have been pleasantly surprised to find a lot of specialty Asian stores and ingredients here in Belgium, as well, so there’s really nothing stopping me from giving it a go. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Christine 13 February 2017

    I love making curry but usually resort to pre-made curry paste. Totally going to use this scratch made version next time!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 13 February 2017

      While there is nothing wrong with a pre-made curry paste, you will definitely taste the difference when using a fresh curry paste. Hope you will enjoy this recipe 🙂

      Reply

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