This Thai Red Curry is spicy, creamy, and so satisfying with the BEST sauce. Bursting with flavour, it’s an easy, 30-minute recipe that rivals your favorite Thai restaurant.

Red curry is a popular type of curry originating from Thailand. It gets its distinctive red color from the red chilies used in its preparation, which are crushed and blended into a paste along with various other ingredients like garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and spices. The term “red curry” can also refer to the dishes prepared using this paste, often combined with coconut milk for a creamy, spicy, and aromatic sauce.

Thai red curry dishes can be made with a variety of main ingredients, such as chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu, and typically include a mix of vegetables. Red curry dishes are typically served over rice and can be garnished with fresh herbs such as Thai basil or cilantro.

The flavor of red curry is complex, with a balance of hot, sweet, and savory notes. The heat level can vary based on the number of chilies used in the curry paste, but in general, red curry is less spicy than green curry but spicier than yellow curry.

Overall, red curry is a versatile and flavorful dish that’s a staple in Thai cuisine and beloved by people all over the world.

Why You’ll Love This Thai Red Curry Recipe

There are so many reasons to adore this Chicken Red Curry recipe.

  • With a perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and creamy, this curry recipe is sure to win hearts at your dinner table. Not only is it packed with flavor, but it’s also SO easy to make.
  • The combination of red curry paste, coconut milk, and an array of fresh vegetables provides a punch of taste in every bite.
  • The chicken is fall-apart tender and sops up the spicy and creamy sauce perfectly.

What is Red Curry Made of? Gather Your Ingredients:

Before we dive in, let’s round up everything you’ll need

Start with the ingredients for the red curry sauce:

  • Oil: It’s our starting point, helping to cook the onions and carry the flavors well.
  • Onion: Adds a gentle sweetness and texture to the curry.
  • Kosher Salt: Plays the role of a flavor enhancer throughout the recipe.
  • Minced Garlic: Gives a rich flavor warmth to the dish.
  • Minced Ginger: Introduces a unique, warm zing to the mix. You can also use galangal, which is a similar root and truly authentic flavor if you can get your hands on it.
  • Thai Red Curry Paste: This is what gives our curry its characteristic spiciness and depth.
  • Unsweetened Coconut Milk: Adds a creamy consistency and balances the heat from the curry paste.
  • Brown Sugar: A hint of sweetness to keep the heat and tartness in check.
Ingredients for Thai Red Curry Chicken laid out on a kitchen countertop, featuring chicken thighs, onion, zucchini, red bell pepper, carrots, Thai red curry paste, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and coconut milk.

Now to finish the curry, you need:

  • Boneless Chicken Thighs: The main component, offering a satisfying, protein-filled bite. I love that they can simmer and absorb lots of flavor without drying out.
  • Red Bell Pepper, Zucchini, and Carrots: These veggies contribute a pleasant crunch, mild sweetness, and color.
  • Fresh Basil Leaves: Provides a finishing touch of freshness and color.
  • Lime Wedges: Optional, but a squeeze of lime juice is a great addition for a bright finish.

Ingredient Substitutes and Alternatives for Thai Chicken Curry

Don’t have everything on the list? Don’t worry. This recipe is versatile, and you can easily substitute ingredients.

  • Can’t find Thai basil? Regular basil will work too. Or use cilantro (a.k.a. coriander).
  • Switch up the protein: Don’t have chicken thighs? You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts. If chicken isn’t your thing, you can substitute it with tofu for a vegetarian version, or try shrimp or scallops for a different flavor profile.
  • Change the vegetables: Feel free to add or replace the vegetables to suit your preferences. Think eggplant, broccoli, snap peas, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, kale, spinach, cabbage, bok choy, green beans, etc. Just aim for a total quantity of 3 cups of coarsely chopped or baby corn. The possibilities are endless!
  • Alter the heat level: Adjust the amount of curry paste you use to control the heat. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out, so add gradually and taste as you go.
  • Amp up the flavor: You can finish your red curry with a little fish sauce for authentic umami saltiness. If you can find them, toss a handful of kaffir lime leaves in while the curry simmers (I stock up when I see them in the store and keep them in my freezer).

How to Make Thai Red Chicken Curry: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Now let’s get started with the actual cooking process. I love how simple it is to make delicious Thai curries when you start with store-bought curry paste.

The oil is heated in a large pot over medium heat. The onion and 1 teaspoon of salt are added, and they are sautéed until the onion starts to soften. Then the garlic, ginger, and curry paste are stirred in, and they are sautéed for another minute until fragrant.
  • Heat the Oil: Preparing the pot for the cooking process.
  • Sauté Onion and Salt: Starting off the flavor base, with onion adding sweetness and salt enhancing the overall taste.
  • Add Garlic, Ginger, and Curry Paste: Incorporating the key flavor agents for a rich, aromatic experience.
The coconut milk and brown sugar are poured in. Then the chicken, bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots are added to the pot along with the remaining teaspoon of salt.
  • Pour in Coconut Milk and Brown Sugar: Building the curry’s character with sweetness, creaminess, and pleasant color.
  • Add Chicken and Veggies: Introducing the main ingredients, adding substance, and color to the curry.
  • Simmer: Allowing all the flavors to blend together and the chicken and vegetables to cook thoroughly.
  • Add Fresh Basil Leaves: The final touch for an added layer of freshness.
The curry is brought to a simmer, then the heat is reduced to low, and it is allowed to cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Fresh basil leaves are sprinkled on just before serving.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Preparing meals can be a hassle, especially when time isn’t on your side. Luckily, this Red Curry with Chicken recipe lends itself well to prepping ahead and storing for later.

  • Make the whole curry beforehand: You can make the entire dish the day before you plan to serve it. The flavors will deepen and meld together even more during storage. When you’re ready to eat, just reheat on the stove over medium heat.
  • Storing leftovers: Got some curry left? No problem. Pack it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to four days. For longer storage, you can freeze it for up to two months. To reheat, simply thaw it in the fridge overnight and heat on the stove until warmed through.

Expert Tips for Perfect Red Curry Chicken Every Time

Want to take your Red Curry Chicken to the next level? Here are a few expert tips and tricks to help you achieve the best results.

  • Sauté your curry paste: Cooking your curry paste for a minute or two before adding the coconut milk can help to release its flavors, making your curry even more flavorful.
  • Use full-fat coconut milk: While you might be tempted to cut calories with light coconut milk, the full-fat version gives your curry a rich, creamy consistency that’s hard to beat.
  • Don’t skip the fresh basil and lime: These might seem like optional garnishes, but they play an essential role in brightening up the dish and balancing the rich and spicy flavors. Trust us, it’s worth it!
  • Fry your curry paste: Cooking your curry paste for a minute or two before adding the coconut milk can help to release its flavors, making your curry even more flavorful.
  • Use full-fat coconut milk: While you might be tempted to cut calories with light coconut milk, the full-fat version gives your curry a rich, creamy consistency that’s hard to beat.
  • Don’t skip the fresh basil and lime: These might seem like optional garnishes, but they play an essential role in brightening up the dish and balancing the rich and spicy flavors. Trust us, it’s worth it!

How to Serve Red Curry

Serving your Red Curry with Chicken is as much about presentation as it is about pairing.

For a traditional Thai dining experience, ladle your curry over a bed of steamed jasmine rice. The fragrant rice is the perfect accompaniment to soak up all the rich and spicy curry sauce (but basmati works well, too). You could also serve it with flatbread or naan on the side for a delightful mix-and-match of flavors.

For presentation, transfer your curry to a large serving bowl and sprinkle some more fresh basil leaves on top. This not only adds a pop of color but also gives it an added layer of fresh flavor.

Don’t forget to put lime wedges on the side. A squeeze of lime just before eating adds a tangy freshness that beautifully complements the rich and spicy curry.

For those who love extra heat, a small bowl of sliced chili peppers or a side of chili sauce would not go amiss.

Lastly, pair your curry with a crisp, cool beverage. A chilled glass of white wine or a light beer would counterbalance the heat and round out your meal perfectly.

FAQs

Is Red Curry Chinese?

No, red curry is not Chinese. It’s actually a popular Thai dish known for its rich and flavorful combination of ingredients, including coconut milk, red curry paste, and various proteins and vegetables. While both Chinese and Thai cuisines are delicious in their own right, red curry specifically originates from Thailand.

What is Red Curry Paste Made of?

Red curry paste is typically made from a blend of red chili peppers, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, coriander, and cumin, along with other aromatic spices and herbs. This paste forms the flavorful base for many Thai dishes, including this Red Curry Chicken.

How Spicy is Red Curry Chicken?

The spiciness of Red Curry Chicken can vary depending on your personal taste and the specific brand of red curry paste you use. Generally, red curry does have a noticeable level of heat, but you can adjust it to your preference by adding more or less red curry paste and other spicy ingredients like chili peppers. Remember, you’re in control of the spice level, so feel free to make it as mild or as fiery as you like!

What Proteins Can I Use For Thai Red Curry?

You can use a variety of proteins to make Red Curry Chicken, such as chicken (as the name suggests), beef, pork, shrimp, tofu, or even a combination of these. The flavorful red curry sauce pairs well with different proteins, so feel free to get creative and choose your favorite or try something new!

What Vegetables Go Well with Red Curry Chicken?

When making Red Curry Chicken, you have a wide range of vegetable options to enhance the flavors and textures. Some popular choices include bell peppers, bamboo shoots, zucchini, snap peas, eggplant, and Thai basil.

More Delicious Thai Recipes You’ll Love

If you adore Thai recipes as much as I do, you must also try:

  • Pad Woon Sen: This stir-fried noodle dish is made with your choice of protein, vegetables, and a delicious sauce.
  • Thai Curry Fish: This fragrant and creamy curry is made with fish, Thai curry paste, and coconut milk. It’s so good, you’ll want to eat it every day.
  • Pad Thai: A classic Thai noodle dish with a tangy tamarind sauce, customizable with your choice of protein.
  • Thai Basil Pork: This classic dish features ground pork, fresh basil, and a savory sauce.
  • Thai Scallops: These tender scallops are cooked in a delicious Thai-style sauce made with curry paste and coconut milk.

Red Curry Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Dinner, Lunch
Thai
Keyword Red Curry Chicken, Thai Red Curry Chicken, Thai Red Curry Chicken and Vegetables

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped (1 ½ cups)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt divided use
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk 14 ounces
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 lb chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 small zucchini sliced (1 cup)
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced (1 cup)
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves torn (ideally thai basil leaves, but italian works)
  • Lime wedges for serving (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and sauté until it starts to soften.
  • Stir in the garlic, ginger, and curry paste and sauté for another minute, until fragrant.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and brown sugar.
  • Add the chicken, bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots to the pot along with remaining teaspoon of salt.
  • Bring the curry to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Let it cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  • Sprinkle on the fresh basil leaves just before serving. Serve with lime wedges if desired.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 1366kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 81gFat: 93gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 20gMonounsaturated Fat: 41gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 445mgSodium: 5115mgPotassium: 2352mgFiber: 11gSugar: 31gVitamin A: 30223IUVitamin C: 210mgCalcium: 230mgIron: 6mg
Keyword Red Curry Chicken, Thai Red Curry Chicken, Thai Red Curry Chicken and Vegetables

Last Updated on September 5, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

5 1 vote
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Paula
Paula
2 months ago

5 stars
This red curry is SOOOO GOOD. I can’t even.

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