How to make Thai curry (and any dish Thai-inspired)

So this What I Ate Wednesday is more of a What I’m Eating Wednesday. Do you ever do that? Get on a kick and eat the same thing for lunch… then dinner… then lunch again, so on and so forth?  I’ve been doing that with curry.  Because it is SO easy to make in a large batch and keeps for days.  It can even simmer in a slow cooker while you’re out doing more important things like earning a living to pay for the slow cooker.  And you really only need a few staple ingredients to get cooking Thai-style.

Now I don’t pretend to be an authority on Thai food or its flavors.  However, in culinary school we learned there are certain ingredients to use whenever you want to add a specific regional flavor to a dish.

For Thai curry, or really any Thai dish, the basics are as follows:

  • Coconut milk
  • Curry paste and/or curry powder
  • Thai bird chilis (or another strong, smaller chili pepper)
  • Lime leaves
  • Fish sauce
  • Palm sugar and/or cane sugar

Fish sauce and curry paste (I like the red) are on the ethnic food aisles of most grocery stores. You may need to seek out an Asian or Eastern market for lime leaves, but a large peel of lime and a squeeze of juice will do the trick.  Ultimately you just want the right balance of flavors – sweet, salty, sour and spicy.

So once you have all your essentials, grab a few vegetables, perhaps a little chicken and you’re ready to stew.   Want Pad Thai? Mix in some natural peanut butter and chopped roasted peanuts. Like pineapple? Mix in some chunks at the end.

Serve curry over organic brown rice (because a study recently found arsenic in much of the conventional white rice on store shelves) and you’ve got yourself a healthy meal.  Or two.  Or three. You get my drift.

Thai Curry

makes 4 servings
  • For Curry
  • Canola oil, for pan
  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1-2 Thai bird or serrano chili peppers, seeds removed and small dice
  • 2-4 Tbs curry paste (red or green)
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 2 14-oz cans coconut milk
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, medium dice
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (or 1 cup of green beans or snow peas)
  • 3-4 lime leaves
  • 2 tsp palm or granulated sugar
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, sliced thin
  • 1 lime, 1/4-inch wide peel removed and then quartered
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Basil leaves, sliced thin for garnish
  • For Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
For Curry
  1. Place a large straight-sided saute pan over medium heat and let it get hot. Coat the bottom of the pan with oil, and begin to cook the onions and chili peppers for a minute or two. Add the curry paste/powder and “fry” the spices in the oil with the onions until fragrant.
  2. Add the remaining vegetables, coconut milk, sugar and lime leaves/peel and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the sliced chicken and simmer until all ingredients are cooked and soft, about 20 minutes on medium-low heat. Curry can simmer for several hours to develop flavor, add water if the sauce gets too thick.
  3. Finish curry with fish sauce to taste. Serve over rice with lime.
For Rice
  1. Combine water and rice in a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, simmering for 30 to 45 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir occasionally.

To cook curry in a slow cooker, simply combine all ingredients (except rice) at once in crock pot and simmer.


Sadie Mae’s Dogtography

Hiding underneath the tablecloth waiting for a curry casualty.  Smart girl!

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2 Responses to How to make Thai curry (and any dish Thai-inspired)

  1. Joan W Sep 20th at #

    Okay, for those of us with limited taste buds, when you say fish oil to taste, approximately how much are we talking?

    • edibletimes Sep 20th at #

      Start with a few drops – trust me – once you open the bottle and add then taste, add then taste, you’ll know when you reach your limit. Start small, fish sauce is STRONG stuff. Ultimately, it’s just for adding a characteristic salty flavor.

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