Your guide to Thai curries

Thai curry is renowned around the world as the most famous Thai dish. These are either water based or coconut based curries. The numerous Thai coconut-based curries better known in the West as red, green, yellow, panang and masamam are extremely flavourful but a distinct taste. In Thailand these curries are known as gaeng phet (red), gaeng kiow wahn (green curry), gaeng leuang (yellow), gaeng phanaeng (panang) and gaeng massaman (masamam).

The green curry is the most famous amongst these. This aromatic curry is endowed with coconut goodness and delicious Thai flavours. Not only is this a delight to the taste buds but also very easy to make.


• 750 g skinless free-range chicken thighs
• 400 g mixed oriental mushrooms
• groundnut oil
• 1 organic chicken stock cube
• 1 x 400g tin of light coconut milk
• 2 limes
• 200 g mangetout
•  6 kaffir lime leaves
• ½ a bunch fresh Thai basil

For Curry Paste:

• 2 shallots
• 2 lemongrass stalks
• 5cm piece of ginger
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 4 green Bird’s eye chillies
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• ½ a bunch of fresh coriander


1. For the curry paste:

•place peeled and roughly chopped garlic, shallots and ginger into a food processor.
•Add finely chopped lemongrass to the processor after removing the tough outer leaves.
•Trim the chillies and along with the cumin and half the coriander (stalks and all) add to the food processor.
•Blitz until finely chopped.
•Add the fish sauce and blitz again.

1.In a large pan on a medium flame, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. To it add 2.5cm chicken strips and fry until they start to turn golden, then transfer to a plate.
2. Cut mushrooms into even pieces and fry them until golden. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
3. On medium-low heat stir the Thai green paste in a pan for 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Pour coconut milk and 400ml of boiling water, stock cube and add the lime leaves.
5. With the pan on high flame, gently bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced slightly.
6. Reduce the heat to low before adding the chicken and mushrooms, and cook until the chicken is cooked.
7. Add the mangetout for the final 2 minutes.
8. Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, roughly chopped basil leaves and remaining coriander leaves.
9. Serve with lime wedges and steamed rice.

Other curries:

The curries have different flavours from each other and can be identified on the basis of their colours. The curries owe their colour to the curry pastes they are made from. Although the method of preparation is the same for all, the ingredients of the curry paste differ. The core ingredients lending the colour to the pastes are:

Red curry:

Red curry, made from the red curry paste, comprises dried red chillies as its main ingredient. In addition it usually has shrimp paste which enhances the flavour & turmeric which enhances the colour of the curry.

Panang curry:

Panang curry is named after the island off Malaysia’s West coast. It is a richer, sweeter and drier curry with lesser use of coconut milk than the red or green curry. However, Panang curry is topped with thick coconut cream and peanuts are also sometimes added to the curry paste, making this curry especially popular with foreigners.

Masamman Curry:

Masamman curry is a thick stew-like curry, mild in taste, made of Persian influenced dried spices making it unique amongst Thai curries. Unlike other Thai curries, masamman curry itself includes peanuts and whole spices such as cinnamon, white cardamom and nutmeg.  The slightly sweet taste comes from the roasted spices.

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