Thai Green Chicken Curry – treat your tastebuds

There is something about the exquisite flavours of Thai food that gets me every time I eat it. When I take that first mouthful and I can taste the heat, the sweet, the salty and the sour all working in perfect harmony my tastebuds ask why I don’t eat it more often.

Perhaps it’s because I adore curries – every type going – and so it’s a case of ‘so many curries, so little time’. But a Thai curry is my all-time favourite. It’s for this reason that I have spent some time experimenting and attempting to perfect the green curry paste I make at home.

I realise the prospect of making a homemade curry paste can seem onerous and unnecessary when ready-made pastes are so widely available. But a shop-bought paste is never going to give you the experience of starting from scratch with those wonderful ingredients. The aromas that fill your kitchen as you’re making it and then when it hits the hot pan. Incredible. And worth every minute it took you to make it, which actually isn’t a great deal of minutes.

If you’ve been following my last few posts you’ll know that we’re currently in the height of summer in New Zealand. In fact February is usually our best month. But a very annoying weather system has descended on us the last few days, dumping plenty of rainfall and causing a major blip in our summer. Oh well, it’s good for the gardens. And the perfect time to cook something that will banish those rainy day blues.

This Thai green chicken curry is the perfect dish to do that. Every mouthful is a treat for your tastebuds. The curry paste is easy to make and so worth it. The creamy coconut milk, tender chicken and slight crunch from the green beans gives a fabulous contrast of textures.

One quick note: people often ask if there is a substitute for kaffir lime leaves. My answer would have to be that there really isn’t a substitute that does the job. Kaffir lime leaves have such a distinct flavour. So please, try – try really hard – to get your hands on them. In New Zealand they’re readily available in most supermarkets but you can also try Asian stores who will often have frozen leaves available.

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Serves 4

Green Curry Paste

Ingredients

  • 3 shallots
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 3 green chillies, seeds left in
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Stalks from a small bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Method

  1. Peel the shallots and the ginger, chop both roughly and add to the bowl of your food processor. Also peel the garlic cloves, give them a crush and add them to the shallots and ginger.
  2. Remove the outer leaves from the lemongrass and chop into pieces. Remove the stalks from the chillies and chop roughly. Slice the lime leaves along either side of the stalk with the sharp point of a knife and discard the stalks. Roughly chop the leaves. Add all of these ingredients to the food processor.
  3. Put the coriander seeds and peppercorns into a pestle and mortar and crush them (but no need to reduce them to a powder).
  4. Take your fresh coriander, chop the leaves from the stalks and set the leaves aside. Roughly chop the stalks and add them to the food processor.
  5. Finally add the cumin, brown sugar, fish sauce and vegetable oil.
  6. Now set your food processor going and keep blitzing until you have a paste. You’re not looking for each ingredient to disintegrate entirely – it’s okay to see flecks of the lime leaves and the chilli, etc. You can always add an extra tablespoon of oil if you think it needs it.

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Voilà! Can you imagine how incredible that’s going to smell when it hits the hot pan?

Now for the curry itself.

Thai Green Curry Sauce

Ingredients

  • Green curry paste, as above
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 900g chicken thigh fillets (skinless and boneless)
  • 250g green beans, trimmed and longer ones halved
  • Coriander leaves
  • Juice of a lime

Method

  1. First prepare the chicken. Slice each chicken thigh into 3-4 pieces (you’re looking for nice chunks of chicken, not tiny cubes).
  2. Heat a large pan to a medium heat and add the curry paste. Take a deep breath through your nose – this is a moment you want to be ready for!
  3. Fry the paste for a few minutes to extract plenty of flavour.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stir gently until the paste and milk are combined well. Then add the chicken stock and stir in.
  5. Bring to the boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the chicken. Stir the chicken through the sauce, bring back to a simmer and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes. By this stage the chicken should be cooked through and tender but remove a chicken piece to check.
  6. Add the green beans and simmer for another 4-5 minutes. You want the beans to still have a little crunch.

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Once you are absolutely ready to serve, take if off the heat and add the fresh coriander leaves (reserving a few for garnish) and the lime juice. Stir through and you’re done.

Garnish with the reserved coriander leaves and a few thin slices of lemongrass.

green-curry

I suggest serving this outstanding curry with nothing more than plain rice and lime wedges for spritzing.

 

Enjoy!

 

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19 Comments

  1. annika says:

    This looks exquisite, Tracey! I am so curious to try it… lots of ingredients here that I have never worked with. I have had Thai when eating out and love this cuisine but have never attempted it at home but this looks simple enough. I am also very interested in getting to know kaffir lime leaves! Need to find them here first!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Annika. You must let me know if you try it. You won’t be disappointed. I think the kaffir lime leaves more than any other ingredient gives the curry that distinct Thai flavour. I may have a photo somewhere – will send it to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love a good Thai green curry! I like your addition of green beans. I often use an eggplant(s) as a vegetable. I also haven’t forgotten about the lemon posset – made it once when I first saw it but wasn’t happy with my pics (I tried to turn it out – semi successfully but did not make for a good photo) so making again in the next week or so to re-take!

    Liked by 1 person

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