Thai food is not only beautiful, but delicious. The color, spices, and heat of the dishes are wonderfully unique. Living in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in NYC, I am surrounded by Thai restaurants on every block. The only way I would be able to compete with their Thai food was by visiting Thailand. In Chiang Mai I learned this recipe for green curry that is as delicious as it looks.
This recipe is a sized for two people, especially if served with steamed jasmine rice or rice noodles. If you are particularly hungry, include an appetizer. There are a bit more vegetables than protein in this dish. You can easily increase the protein amount, just adjust the curry sauce liquid as needed.
The hardest part of cooking authentic Thai food in the U.S. is the difficulty of getting some ingredients. First, try going to an Asian supermarket to see what is available in your area. If you still can’t find everything, I’ve included some ideas for what could be substituted. This particular dish was made with chicken, but you could definitely use another protein of choice.
Included below is also a great option if you want to make your own green curry paste instead of purchasing it from a store. If you are able to find the ingredients, I highly recommend giving it a try. Also, if you don’t have a wok, they’re a great investment. This is the wok I have from amazon that has been so useful in many dishes.
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Here are some ideas for substitutes, and options to make this dish healthier:
- Chicken: Can use any protein you’re in the mood for. Tofu, shrimp, fish, or duck are some good alternatives.
- Green Curry Paste: The paste can be store-bought or made. If you have access to Thai ingredients you should absolutely make your own to make this truly authentic. This recipe from Feasting at Home looks delicious.
- Coconut cream and coconut milk: This recipe was made with the full-fat versions, which is the norm in Thailand. If you are looking to reduce the richness you can omit the coconut cream and just use coconut milk, or you can try “light” versions, which are available in most grocery stores. If you can’t find light, you can also add water to dilute the sauce. Expect the sauce to be thinner and less creamy if you use the light version or water it down.
- Pea Eggplant: These aren’t common in the U.S. and have a fairly unique bitter taste. I would omit if you can’t find them; however, if you want more greens you can substitute with green beans, although the taste will not be the same.
- Green Thai apple eggplant: Can be substituted with Chinese eggplant. If that’s not available can use half of a small eggplant, or another crunchy vegetable. Bamboo shoots can be another tasty option that is often used in the U.S.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves: Can substitute with bay leaves (preferably fresh), although they will not have the citrus flavor. You can also add lemon or lime zest.
- Palm sugar: Brown sugar or honey can also be used
Let me know how this recipe turns out for you! Even without access to all the ingredients, it’s very easy to substitute vegetables you prefer. It is also extremely easy to make, with options to make it healthier if that’s your preference.
Authentic Thai Green Curry with Chicken
- 1/2 lb chicken breast sliced in thin cubes
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1-2 tbsp green curry paste
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/8 cup pea eggplant optional
- 2 whole thai apple eggplants quartered
- 1 handful sweet basil leaves
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 big red chili sliced
- 1-2 tsp palm sugar substitute with brown sugar or honey
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- In a wok (or large pot) add vegetable oil and green curry paste. Fry on medium to low heat until fragrant, should take about 1-2 minutes. Make sure not to burn. Add coconut cream and mix for a minute.
- Add sliced chicken, pea eggplant, and quartered apple eggplant (or other vegetables) along with the coconut milk. You can adjust the amount of coconut milk depending on your preferred consistency of the curry sauce.
- Cook chicken and vegetables on medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. Depending how thin you sliced the chicken, will take approximately 5-10 minutes. Make sure to simmer the sauce (not boil).
- Add fish sauce and palm sugar and mix well in the sauce. Taste the sauce to adjust the seasonings as necessary. Add kaffir lime leaves to the sauce and remove from heat.
- Garnish with red chili and sweet basil and serve with a side of steamed jasmine rice or rice noodles.