I finally learnt how to cook an Authentic Thai Red Curry at the Blue Elephant Cooking School in Bangkok. I have cooked this recipe and refined it and I can say this to you that I have mastered my Thai Red Curries. They are pretty kick ass and I don’t think you will ever spend your money in restaurants again for this dish because you now have the the thrill of having the most perfect Thai Red Curry right at home.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Expertise Level: Easy
Ingredients Availability: Most ingredients are available in supermarkets these days. So it shouldn’t be tough. However, I will share the alternative ingredients wherever applicable.
- Taste Palate: Its Thai so its gotta be spicy
- Ambiance: A quiet evening. Dinner laid out on a table. Perfect setting for a lot of conversations.
- Music: Play some jazz. But these days this is what I am listening to on loop and it will still be perfect too for a set up like this.:https://soundcloud.com/alt-j
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Red Curry Paste (Click here for recipe link for Red Curry Paste)
- 70 ml Coconut Milk
- 1/2 tbsp Dried Shrimps (you can use shrimp paste too. Vegetarians can skip this ingredient)
- 10 leaves Sweet Thai Basil (use italian basil if you dont find sweet basil)
- 2 leaves Kafir Lime, finely sliced (you get these in most supermarkets these days)
- 100 gms Chicken Breast Cubes (or steamed red snapper or prawns. See tip at the end)
- A handful of Thai Brinjals (blanched in salted water for 5 minute) optional
- 6 button Mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- For vegetarians: Use a mix of mushrooms, babycorn, zucchini, thai brinjals and whatever other veggies you like. Since this recipe is for 2 people, you can use about 5 mushroom, 5 baby corns and half a zuccini, diced in chunks). Blanch them and keep them ready to add it to the red curry.
- 1 tbsp Palm Sugar or 1/2 tbsp regular sugar
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce or 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp Cream of Coconut Milk (you can use regular cream or coconut milk too)
- 1 big fresh Red Chili, sliced finely (you can use red bell pepper too if the chilly is too spicy)
- 2 leaves Kafir Lime, finely sliced (roll the leaves and slice them)
- 5 leaves Sweet Thai Basil (or Italian Basil)
- Heat the oil in the wok until its hot and then add the Red Curry Paste. Stir for a couple of minutes till the paste starts to split and the paste starts showing the colour. The trick is to wait for the aromas to develop. I bought a Wok from my trip to Thailand, so I used it to make my Thai curry. The thing with a Wok is that, it heats up quickly. So you need to be careful for not leaving it unattended.
- Add the coconut milk to bring the entire mixture to boil. The way to add the coconut milk is to add one scoop at a time. The oil will start to split again and that’s your cue to move to the next step. It will be good to taste the curry at this point. If you feel that its too spicy or if you suddenly realize that you have another person joining you for dinner, you can add some more coconut milk. The red colour may get a bit lighter, but the flavours will be there.
- Now, add the shrimp paste (Yes Yes part of my Bangkok shopping). Incase you have dried shrimps, just pound them in a mortar with a pestle before adding it. Skip this step if you are making a vegetarian version
- Then add the fish sauce(or salt) and palm sugar for seasoning.
- Add the chicken and cook for 5 mins. If you are using the blanched vegetables, add them now and stir only for a 5 seconds. You can also use prawns, which is completely upto you. If you are adding fresh prawns, just let it cook in the curry for 2-3 minutes. Test for the prawns to be cooked through as it turns white.
- Then add the sliced kafir lime leaves and stir for another couple of seconds.
- Finally, add the basil leaves, stir a couple of times quickly and take the curry off the heat. Basil leaves turn black in heat so 3 stirs are good enough.
- Pour your curry in in a serving bowl. Pour the cream for garnish and sprinkle kafir lime leaves and the sliced red chillies.
- Finally break the Basil leaves with your hands and add as your final garnish. The Thai Red Curry is ready :). Serve it with some Thai Jasmine Rice and you will be one happy family.
Food Marriage Tips:
1) This curry goes well with poultry and seafood. I dont recommend red meat
2) If you want to use fish for this recipe, you will need to steam it in advance:
- Red Snapper: Debone the Red snapper. Spread some basil leaves on a steamer. You can use other herbs of your choice. Steam the snapper for 7 minutes in boiling water. To check if its cooked, insert a knife and take it out. The knife should be clean and the skin should comes off easily.
- King Fish: Add salt and vinegar to this fish to take the fishy smell off. Steam it for 6-7 minutes like above.
- Red Tilapia: This one needs a minute of steaming.
Remove the skin, and place it on a bowl. Pour the curry on top and garnish it.
3) Always add basil leaves at the end. They tend to turn black in heat. So keep them away from the cooking area and use it more as a garnish. If you are cooking with it, then put them in, right at the end, before you take your dish off the heat.
4) This curry goes best with fragrant rice. Use any fragrant rice you like. I normally use Thai Jasmine Rice. When I run out of it, I use Goldana rice. Its called Ambemore rice in Maharashtra and Jeera Rice in Karnataka.
5) You can make Green Thai Curry by using a Green Thai Curry Paste which is basically the same recipe as the link but replace red chillies with the green ones.