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THAI GREEN COCONUT CHICKEN CURRY

February 24, 2012 6:56 pm 0 comments

Thai Green coconut chicken curry is a much acclaimed dish from the Thai cuisine. This dish is one variety of curry in Thai cuisine. The name “green” curry actually derives from the color of the dish and definitely not the spiciness. Thai green coconut chicken curry is an wonderful curry made with chicken and mixed vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, potates etc) cooked in coconut milk, fish sauce and spiced with a green curry paste. The dish gives a zesty flavor from the kaffir lime leaves or just lemon juice (you could also add the lemon rind if you like the slight bitterness tinge in the creamy sauce).

Thai green coconut chicken curry is exotic, subtle in flavors that combines the curry paste, masalas and mixed vegetable which comes together with sweet coconut milk enhanced with chicken. Green curries, regardless of heat, have a definite and desired sweetness that is not usually associated with red curries. There are also other popular Thai curry dishes that are identified solely by their colors such as yellow, red curry and subsequent coconut curry has a lovely warm green hue. Green Fish curry, Green chicken curry, Fish in Red sauce, Red Beef curry and Red Vegetable curry are few of the very commonly cooked dishes from the Thai cuisine. Most of these dishes are recognized mainly with the color of their curry paste used.

Thai green curry can be made with all kinds of meat. However, the more popular ones are prepared with beef, pork, chicken, and fish ball. The green curry is usually eaten with rice (jasmine rice or sticky rice) or with round rice noodles known as Khanom Chin. Traditionally the main ingredients for preparing the sauce in this dish consist of coconut milk, green curry paste, eggplant (aubergine), potatoes, sugar or brown sugar, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil leaves. The consistency of its sauce varies with the amount of coconut milk used.

Green curry paste is made by pounding in a mortar or blender, green chillies, shallots, garlic, galangal, kaffir lime peel, roasted coriander and cumin seeds, white peppercorns, shrimp paste and salt. The paste is briefly fried in split coconut cream, then coconut milk, meat or fish, and vegetables added along with a pinch of palm sugar. Finally, kaffir lime leaves, phrik chi fa (“sky-pointing chilies”, large mild chilies) and Thai basil are added just at the end of cooking for fragrance. When the curry is made with fish or seafood, krachai (wild ginger, Chinese keys) is added.

Surprisingly the Thai green coconut chicken curry is not a very spicy dish. Generally people expect it to taste like a curry when they start calling the dish a curry, but even though this dish has a nice dose of red curry powder; it certainly does not dominate the flavor. This dish is something that is quite exotic, boldly spiced but a mellow dish. If you have never tried cooking with coconut milk then this would be an incredible recipe to try out.

The coconut milk adds a subtle sweetness, creaminess and richness that make it a great medium for moving around all kinds of tastes and textures. You can also try the exact procedure with various other versions using fish, shrimps, pork etc that gives great results. Coconut milk is not low in fat but the fat is quite unique and healthful. Coconut milk is high in calories and so best to be consumed in moderation. In some places, fresh coconut milk is available in the market. If there is no fresh form available, even frozen or canned ones can be used. Apart from sizzling your taste buds, coconut milk is also very rich in nutrients.

To prepare this implausible dish from the Thai cuisine, firstly in a food processor or blender, add the following ingredients – 3 green jalapeno, 6 cloves garlic, ½ bunch green onions (light parts), 1 bunch cilantro, 1 can coconut milk and 1 can water. Blitz this mixture well until you get a smooth, creamy and fragrant green curry paste.

Wash veggies and cut 1 inch chunks of eggplant or zucchini, 2 cups sweet potatoes or butternut squash cut into large cubes and keep aside.

Drizzle some vegetable oil in a frying pan and brown well the 4 full chicken leg sections (thigh and drumstick) until golden brown on both sides. Once done, remove from pan and reserve.

In a  large pan, drizzle some oil and add in one sliced onion, 6 thick slices of fresh ginger and sweat it out well until soft over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon red curry powder and stir it well until the heat wakes up the spices. Place the browned chicken pieces and add in the green curry paste (coconut milk with spices), 1 lime, juiced (you can put in the lemon rind if you like the slight bitterness of the rind – gives an excellent flavor), 2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce to taste, 1 tablespoon brown sugar to balance the acidity, stir, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and gently simmer until the chicken is nearly cooked for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

After the chicken is done, remove carefully the chicken legs and keep aside and add in the chopped mixed vegetables and cook until they become soft. Add fresh Thai basil which makes the curry intense, flavorful and interesting to eat. Taste – test the curry for salt/ flavor (remember that fish sauce is too salty hence check and add). Finally add in the chicken pieces and just cook for 5 minutes.

Tip: If too salty for your taste, add a squeeze of lime juice. Add an extra blast of red curry powder or sambal if not spicy enough. If you’d prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.

Serve this dish sprinkled over fresh coriander and basil, and add wedges of lime if desired. Serve with Thai jasmine rice or noodles.

Enjoy cooking, serving and eating!

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