Easy Thai Red Curry with Chicken & Vegetables
This Thai red curry with chicken and vegetables is a quick and heathy weeknight meal. Bring the authentic flavors of Thai with this simple recipe using fresh ingredients. All in under 30 minutes!
The bold flavors of Thailand come alive with this quick-cooking Thai red curry chicken, made with red curry paste, coconut milk, and fresh vegetables. And it’s ready in less than 30 minutes!
Thai curry is an important part of Thai cuisine. Fragrant, bold, and full of flavor, many Thai curry recipes use fresh herbs, chili, and spices for the flavor. Coconut milk adds a rich and creamy texture, which makes it very unique compared to Indian curry or curries of other cuisines.
Red curry is one of the most sought-after Thai curries that everyone enjoys, along with green curry and yellow curry. It is a mild and slightly sweet-tasting curry.
This nutritious recipe uses ingredients you likely have on hand. Serve with jasmine rice and you’re set. This recipe is great for beginners.
Differences between Thai red, green, and yellow curry
- Green curry uses green chili, basil and coriander to make the paste, which creates the green hue. It is perhaps the most popular curry in Thailand.
- In contrast, red curry paste uses loads of red chili that give it a beautiful yellowish red color. Red curry tends to be milder than green curry.
- Yellow curry has its own unique taste and color from using turmeric and other spices in the curry paste. Although it contains less chili, it has a strong taste from the spices.
- Overall, Thai red curry is probably the best starter for curry beginners since it is the mildest in both spiciness and flavor.
Homemade red curry paste vs store-bought curry paste
Homemade curry paste always wins, that’s for sure! Although making red curry paste from scratch is not that difficult, it does require gathering many “exotic” ingredients that you don’t easily find in local grocery stores, such as galangal (Thai ginger), shrimp paste, and fresh lemongrass. They are readily found in Asian groceries, however.
When you are in the mood for a quick Thai red curry and don’t want to invest time hunting for such ingredients, store-bought Thai curry pastes come in very handy.
And you can doctor it up with more flavors to make it as tasty as the classic homemade curry paste.
This Thai red curry recipe with chicken and vegetables uses store-bought red curry paste, and you can make it easily in your kitchen. It is rich, creamy and so delicious, just like an authentic Thai red curry you would eat in Thailand.
When my husband tasted this curry, he complimented me by saying that it “tasted like Phuket,” an island in Thailand we have vacationed several times.
He says it tastes better than any of our local Thai restaurant takeout places. Now that means this curry recipe is a keeper.
Before you get started, here are a few recipe tips that you will like.
- Mix coconut milk with chicken stock: Using coconut milk alone makes the curry way too rich and thick. Diluting with chicken stock brings the overall taste and thickness of the curry into balance.
- Protein: Use either chicken breast or chicken thigh. Beef or pork will be good, too. You can even try with shrimp (prawn) or fish if you are a seafood lover.
- Vegetables: I used bamboo shoots, green beans and tomatoes. Pumpkin, butternut squash, broccoli, carrot, chayote, and bell pepper are other great options.
- Want to make this Thai red curry vegetarian? Omit the chicken and use tofu or another plant based protein of your choice. You can use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock in the recipe.
Ingredients for Thai red curry chicken & vegetables
- Chicken – either breast or thigh (use boneless)
- shallot – or onion
- red chili – I used a red long chili
- lemongrass – I used fresh. You can substitute with lemongrass paste (aka kreung paste) – use 1 teaspoon
- red curry paste – use store-bought paste. I used Maesri brand.
- bamboo shoots – canned or fresh. Make sure to rinse thoroughly before using.
- green beans
- tomatoes – Roma tomatoes
- coconut milk
- brown sugar
- kaffir lime leaves – optional
- fish sauce
- Thai basil – optional
vegetable substitution: Try with pumpkin, butternut squash, red bell pepper, broccoli, spinach, kale, carrot, egg plant, tofu, chayote, snap peas, or any veggies you like.
How to make Thai red curry with chicken and vegetables
Step 1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot, add chicken slices and cook until no longer pink. Move the chicken to a plate.
Step 2. Heat the remaining oil, add shallot, garlic, and a crushed lemongrass stalk (white and pale green part only). Cook for 1-2 minutes until soft.
Step 3. Dilute the red curry paste with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock (or chicken broth) in a small mixing bowl and add it to the pot. Stir-fry for 30-60 seconds until the paste has lost some of its moisture.
Step 4. Return the chicken back to the pot along with bamboo shoots, green beans, and tomatoes. Add kaffir lime leaves if using.
Step 5. Pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock. Add the brown sugar and stir well. Bring the curry to simmer over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the green beans are tender and soft.
Step 6. Season with fish sauce according to your taste. Sprinkle Thai basil leaves, if using, and cilantro at the end.
What to serve with Thai red curry
Typically Thai curry is served with steamed white jasmine rice, but you can also serve this curry over Thai rice noodles. If you would like to serve this red curry as a keto-friendly food, cauliflower rice would be a nice accompaniment.
Some people like to squeeze some lime wedges into the curry to add a refreshing taste, but that’s a personal preference.
More Thai Recipes
If you are a fan of Southeast Asian cuisine, check these recipes below for more delicious Thai dishes.
- Classic Thai Beef Salad (Yum Nua)
- Thai Basil Fried Rice with Shrimp
- Quick Thai Beef and Basil Stir-Fry
- Crispy Thai Crab Cakes
- Tom Yum Goong, Thai Hot and Sour Soup
Easy Thai Red Curry with Chicken & Vegetables
- 1 lb chicken breast, diced into bite size
- 2 tbsp oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic , chopped
- 1 large shallot , chopped
- 1 fresh lemongrass (or 1 tsp lemongrass paste), smashed
- 5 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 cup bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
- 4 oz green beans, cut in half
- 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 5 Kaffir lime leaves, optional
- 2 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp chicken stock, divided
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil, optional
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot, add chicken slices and cook until no longer pink. Move the chicken to a plate.
- Heat the remaining oil, add shallot, garlic, and a smashed lemongrass stalk (white and pale green part only). Cook for 1-2 minutes until soft.
- Dilute the red curry paste with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock in a small mixing bowl and add it to the pot. Stir-fry curry paste and onion garlic mixture for 30-60 seconds until the paste has lost some of its moisture.
- Return the chicken back to the pot along with bamboo shoots, green beans, and tomatoes. Add kaffir lime leaves if using.
- Pour in the coconut milk and 1 cup of chicken stock. Add the brown sugar and stir well. Bring the curry to simmer over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the green beans are tender and soft.
- Season with fish sauce according to your taste. Sprinkle Thai basil leaves, if using, and cilantro at the end.