Thursday, 8 July 2010

Cooking: Thai green curry

This recipe was taken from my recent cookery class at Sailors Thai, the famous Sydney restaurant originally opened by David Thompson. The recipes and techniques are very similar to those found in the books Thai Food and Thai Street Food.

Obtaining the ingredients for this recipe is going to be easier if you live close to a Thai supermarket. I can strongly recommend both Mae Cheng and Thai Pathong on Campbell St in Sydney. Other recipes in this mini-series:
- Thai Beef Salad

- Thai Fish Salad
- Thai Green Curry Paste

- Thai Coconut milk chronicles

Having made the curry paste and coconut cream with love, it's time to cook the green curry itself. It's a million miles - in terms of technique and flavour - from any of the curries that I've cooked before when you quickly throw together a jar of curry paste and a tin of coconut milk. It was great to see this curry cooked in the restaurant to get a true appreciation of the dish.

Serves 4 as part of a banquet to share.

2 cups of coconut cream (first press)
Half of the curry paste made previously
200g chicken thighs, diced
2 cups of coconut milk or stock (second press)
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 Thai aubergines (eggplants) each cut into 6 pieces
3 kaffir lime leave
Small handful of Thai basil leaves

1.  Heat the coconut cream in a pan over a high heat until it cracks / splits. You will need to boil the cream quite vigorously and reduce it slightly before it cracks.

2.  Add the curry paste and continuously stir the curry mix over a high heat. Cook the paste until all of the water is driven off and it takes on a 'scrambled egg' like consistency. This will take about 30 mins and the paste will spit a lot. Continuously stir the paste so it doesn't catch on the base of the pan.

The below photograph shows two pans of curry paste at different stage of cooking. In the pan on the left the coconut paste has only been cooked for about 5mins, the pan on the right is approaching the required consistency.

3.  When the paste has had all the water driven off add the palm sugar and fish sauce and cook until combined.

4.  Add the coconut milk or stock and simmer for 10-15mins. While the curry is simmering salt the aubergines to draw out the bitter juices.

5.  Add the chicken and cook the curry for a further 10 mins.

6.  Rinse the aubergines and then add them to the curry for the final 10 mins of cooking.

7.  Two / three minutes before serving add the kaffir lime leaves to the curry. Crush them in your hand as you add them to the pan to release the fragrance of the leaves.

8.  As you remove the pan from the heat add the Thai basil. Serve with steamed rice.

The main thing that sets this curry apart is the length of time that you fry the curry paste. This really helps to intensify all of the flavours from the wonderful curry paste that you made.

The curry can appear oily, but as you can see from the recipe there is no oil added to the dish. The oil comes from the natural oil in the coconut. Thai's say that the oil helps to coat the throat from the rather ferocious number of chillies that were put into the paste.


UPDATE: I've experiment with the curry recipe a few times now. At step 4, if you have made your own coconut milk use that. However, if you haven't bothered, I'd suggest using stock rather than a tin of coconut milk. I found coconut milk makes it too rich on top of the coconut cream you used to fry off the paste.


  1. Alright so when we coming for dinner Richard? =p
    I think I'm more of a red curry person, always seem to lean towards the red over the other curries.

  2. Ok, I'd like to be invited over for dinner

  3. Richie - you're a star. I followed your recipe stage by stage and it was a gem. Sooooo tasty and aromatic. When can you start supplying the shipment of your paste to Brisvegas?

  4. Glad you liked it Penne! It does take longer than your average curry, but if you put in the efforts, you defintely get a tasty dinner!