Thai-inspired green curry

January 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Thai-inspired green curry is by no means an authentic dish, but it tastes seriously delicious and definitely made my cravings for Thai food diminish somewhat. Living in what is basically the middle of nowhere, there are actually many restaurants and grocery stores catering to Asian clientele, though sadly none for Thai food. However, I was able to scrounge around the decently-stocked “World Foods” aisle at Meijer and find some Thai curry pastes, both red and green, plus I had a few cans of coconut milk lurking around my pantry that I had stocked up on at a trip to Whole Foods a few months ago. Fortunately the paste I picked (the brand is helpfully named Thai Kitchen) is quite good: gently spicy and fragrant with lemongrass and kaffir limes.

Veering even further away from authenticity, I chose vegetables that I had in my refrigerator, because I like vegetable curries and I like cauliflower and carrots. I also used quinoa instead of rice since I ran out of rice recently, but I actually quite like how the pale green of the curry contrasts so well with the red quinoa.

Ideally, I’d have garnished this curry with some Thai basil but I couldn’t find any, not even at the local Chinese grocery, so I list it as optional in the recipe below. However, it will take this dish from delicious to phenomenal, so if you have access to it (or grow it yourself), it’s definitely worth splurging for a small bunch.

Thai-inspired green curry

Serves four


  • Half a head of cauliflower, chopped
  • Three to four carrots, julienned
  • One eight-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
  • Five small scallions, white and light green portions chopped, medium-green portions sliced into one-inch lengths
  • 1/2 can (about 7 ounces) coconut milk
  • One and a half tablespoons Thai green curry paste
  • Two teaspoons brown sugar
  • Zest of one lime and juice of 1/2 lime
  • Two tablespoons soy sauce (for non-vegans, one tablespoon fish sauce is more authentic – I switch between, depending who I’m serving and what mood I’m in)
  • Two teaspoons garlic-chili sauce
  • Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
  • A handful or so of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • A small handful of Thai basil, chiffonade if you’re feeling fancy, torn if you like the rustic look (optional, but highly recommended)

1. Wash and prepare vegetables. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, coconut milk, soy sauce (or fish sauce), lime juice and zest green curry paste, white and light-green portions of the scallions, and garlic-chili sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Stir the coconut milk mixture a few times, then let it simmer for about a minute. Add in the cauliflower and carrots. Cover and let cook for five minutes.

3. Remove the lid and stir in the water chestnuts and green peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another four minutes, or until all vegetables are tender and heated through. Let cool for a minute.

4. Garnish with the remaining julienned scallions and chopped peanuts, and the Thai basil if you have it. Serve over rice or quinoa. Enjoy!

Note: Swap out vegetables or add in fish, tofu, and/or chicken to taste…this recipe is quite flexible. Some vegetables that would be quite nice include baby corn and green or Chinese long beans.

This dish can be made in advance up to step three. Let cool, and store in the refrigerator up to one day. Reheat over medium heat, garnish, and serve.


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