Friday, April 30, 2010

Semi-homemade restaurant-quality Thai curry

I loooooooooove Thai food. If I could eat it every day, I would. While I've yet to meet a Thai dish I don't like, I am partial to curries, especially the green and yellow curries. They are the ultimate comfort food - warm, spicy and soupy, yet fresh-tasting.

I was always scared off from cooking Thai curries myself because of the quantity and rarity of ingredients involved (how many grocery stores stock galangal?). I've tried a few different store bought sauces, but none of them could compare to the restaurant sauces in terms of spice level and overall flavor.

Then I discovered Thai Kitchen's curry pastes - these cute little 4-inch jars that contain all of those unusual, but amazing Thai chiles and herbs that make curries taste delicious, smashed into a flavorful paste. They come in green and red (sadly there's no yellow), and both are delicious. Each one comes with a recipe on the jar, which just involves mixing the paste with a few ingredients which are readily available in the Asian food section of any major grocery store: fish sauce, coconut milk, canned bamboo shoots, and brown sugar.

Add some cooked chicken or shrimp, some veggies if you like, and steamed rice and you've got an amazing meal. The veggies that pair best with the curries are sliced red or green peppers, cooked onions, peas, and zucchini.

The nice part about making curry this way is that it's simple, but you can adjust the spice/sweet/salt level yourself to make it taste perfect. If it's too salty/spicy, add a little more brown sugar or coconut milk. If it needs more salt/tang, add some more fish sauce. If it needs more heat, add more of the curry paste.

To add extra flavor or flair, I also recommend adding some chopped cilantro at the end, or some Thai basil (which I love, but have a really hard time finding). I also think it's worth the extra step to serve it with Jasmine rice versus plain old Uncle Ben's. So yummy!


  1. Thanks for posting! I will look for these in my grocery, though I am partial to the yellow curry especially. Maybe you'll inspire me to actually dig into the two Thai cookbooks we own but have rarely experimented with!
    My children are loving the yellow curry with veggies & chicken at our local Thai restaurant, and so -- like you -- I am thinking I should find a way to replicate it at home. My kids call it "lightbulb soup" b/c it is so very bright yellow. Sometimes it is almost too spicy for them, but they push through it with some rice. I wish they were as enthusiastic about the brown rice as their daddy and I are, but I figure if their white rice at the restaurant accompanies sooo many good-for-them ingredients -- zucchini & red bell peppers especially, it's a pretty good meal! Not all of the yummy things we eat there are so good for us-- curry wontons, coconut ice cream with sticky rice, even the pad thai seems a bit rich. I think you're on the right page with making it at home if possible, so we can control the spiciness and sweetness! Keep on blogging!!!

  2. Thanks for commenting Francie! I am sure the yellow isn't TOO difficult to replicate, I've honestly just been too lazy to try. If I do, I will be sure to post the results. I save the yellow for the restaurant outings since I can enjoy the green and red at home.

    That's great that your kids like Thai curry. I gave my girls a few bites, but I think it was too spicy for them. Maybe when they're a little older I can convert them into Thai fanatics.

  3. I've never had Thai food, but I do not like spicy foods and I think even the mild Thai would probably be too much for me.