Thai Red Curry with Chicken

Thai Red Curry
D. Schmidt
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: Serves 3-4 as a Main Entree
Ratings (24)

This Red Curry with Chicken is aromatic and sumptuous and can be made mild to red-hot, depending on your spice-o-meter. It starts with a homemade Thai red curry paste which is easily put together with your food processor or blender. Add coconut milk, chicken, and vegetables, and you have a heart-warming curry dish that will awaken your senses and boost your mood. Note that although this dish would traditionally have been simmered over a fire or stove-top, we've adapted it to be cooked in the oven, allowing you to get on with your day. Feel free to use the traditional method if you prefer, simmering the dish in a wok or pot on the stove (see instructions below recipe).  

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound chicken pieces, thigh or breast
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced into small chunks
  • 1-2 cups chopped eggplant (optional)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, or substitute bay leaves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (or add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon to the sauce)
  • Handfuls of fresh basil and fresh coriander
  • Red Curry Sauce:
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2-3 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass or bottled/frozen prepared lemongrass
  • 1 shallots or 1/4 cup purple onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced, or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup or tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1+1/2 to 2 tablespoon chili powder, depending on how spicy you want it (North American chili powder from the supermarket)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste or 1 extra tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set chicken pieces in a fairly large casserole dish.
  2. Place all curry sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well. Pour the curry sauce over chicken. Add chopped eggplant (if using), plus kaffir lime leaves/bay leaf and cinnamon stick, mixing everything into the sauce. Cover and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Note: if you prefer more sauce, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup good-tasting chicken stock. (*If you prefer to cook this curry on your stovetop, see instructions below.)
  1. Remove dish from oven. Add the bell pepper and tomato, stirring them into the sauce. Return curry to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until both chicken and vegetables are well cooked.
  2. Do a taste test, looking for a balance of flavors. If not salty or flavorful enough, add up to 1 tablespoon more fish sauce. If too salty, add more fresh lime juice. If too sour, add a little more brown sugar. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add a few fresh-cut chilies or dried crushed chili.
  3. Transfer curry into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle generously with chopped fresh basil and coriander, and serve with plenty of Thai jasmine rice.

*Stovetop method: To cook this curry on your stovetop, simply combine sauce and chicken pieces (plus lime leaves and cinnamon) in a wok, deep frying pan, or large pot. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetables and continue simmering another 15 minutes, or until both vegetables and chicken are cooked. Follow recipe above for finishing the dish.

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