Curries are a staple dish Thai cuisine and come in three main stoplight colors - red, green, and yellow.
The various, yet distinct curry hues are categorized by the respective chilis used. Green curry is traditionally prepared with green chilies and yellow curry made with yellow chilies.
And then there is Thai red curry… Prepared with many red chilies for one fiery hot dish!
But do not let the red stop you just yet. We also perfected Thai green curry recipe and offer tips below to mellow the heat!
Besides, authentic Thai red curry is actually quite mild, and generally most restaurants tend to stick with the mild level of spiciness though you will find some restaurants that dial up the heat considerably.
The Thai red curry recipe has a great depth of flavor. The sauce is complex, it has many layers from all the ingredients in the paste that is then simmered with broth and coconut milk.
Altogether, the curry is sweet, savory, rich, and sure to be your next favorite recipe!
Thai Red Curry Recipe
Yield: 6 servings
Nutrition per serving: 370 calories, 16 g fat, 23 g protein, 33 g total carb, 2 g fiber
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
• 2 cups water, plus more if necessary
• 1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger (about a 1-inch nub of ginger)
• 1 Tbsp lemongrass paste or finely chopped fresh
• 1/2 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
• 1, 14-oz can regular coconut milk (full-fat)
• 6 kaffir lime leaves
• 1 1/2 tsp coconut sugar or turbinado (raw) sugar or brown sugar
• 2 tsp fish sauce, plus more to taste
• 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin 2-inch long strips
• 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced into thin 2-inch long strips
• 3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal into ¼ inch thick rounds
• 5 oz pumpkin, butternut squash, or sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
• 1 lb chicken thighs or chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
• 12 Thai basil leaves, sliced into thin shreds or chiffonade (optional)
• 1 Tbsp tamari
• 2 tsp rice vinegar or fresh lime juice
1. To cook the rice, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the rice and salt, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Taste the rice; if it is still too firm, add a few more tablespoons of water, cover the pan, and let the rice absorb the water off of the heat. Cover and let the rice rest for 10 minutes or longer, until ready to serve then fluff with a fork.
2. While the rice is cooking, begin to make the curry by heating a large skillet with deep sides over medium heat. Once hot, add the curry paste, garlic, ginger and lemongrass and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
3. Add chicken broth and stir to dissolve paste. Slowly simmer until liquid reduces by about half. Add the coconut milk, lime leaves, sugar, and fish sauce and stir well.
4. Add veggies, making sure they are cut uniformly so they will cook evenly. Cook until they are fork-tender, 3 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add chicken, bring to simmer, then turn heat down to medium. Simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes or until sauce reduces and the chicken is cooked.
6. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the Thai basil leaves and season with tamarind and rice vinegar. Add salt, to taste. If the curry needs a little more punch, add 1/2 teaspoon more tamari, or for more acidity, add 1/2 teaspoon more rice vinegar.
7. Divide rice and curry into bowls and garnish with favorite toppings such as crushed red pepper flakes and cilantro.
Ingredient Hacks Simplest & Best Thai Red Curry
It is all in the ingredients when it comes to making the simplest and best Thai red curry! We share ingredient hacks and tips to ensure the utmost quality and flavor with each and every bite.
Red Thai Curry Paste
Unsure where to find curry paste? Look for it in the Asian section of the grocery store.
Also start with using 2 tablespoons if unsure about the spice level. It is much easier to add more than take out!
For rich and creamy curry, use regular coconut milk over the light and reduced-fat varieties. Make sure it contains guar gum as well.
Convenience tubes of cold-pressed lemongrass paste are the next best thing to peeling and finely chopping fresh lemongrass!
Substitute 2 teaspoons of the paste for finely minced fresh lemongrass.
Chicken thighs and breasts are both great sources of protein and can be used in this recipe.
However, the thighs are juicier while the breast is lower in fat.
Thai basil resembles normal basil but has pointier leaves and a purplish tinge. The flavor is similar to a combination of basil and aniseed.
If you cannot find Thai basil, it is not the end of the world! Ordinary basil is an adequate substitute, just use in smaller amounts.
Tamari is a popular sauce used in Japanese cuisine. It tastes similar to soy sauce but offers a richer, more savory flavor.
Prepared with soybeans, tamari is often considered to be a gluten-free option.
Kaffir Lime Leaves
Kaffir lime leaves are namely the leaves of a kaffir lime tree. They are used to add earthy citrus flavors into Asian food.
The lime leaves are often found and sold at large grocers and Asian stores. Using the fresh leaves really gives the recipe that “restaurant-quality” feel!
Additional Ingredients & Garnishes
Like stir-fries, curry dishes are versatile and can be bulked with a wide variety of veggies. Really, there are no rules about what goes into a Thai red curry, so add what you like the most.
Some veggie inspiration to get you started includes:
• Bamboo shoots
• Green beans
• Sugar snap peas
Optional garnishes can also elevate the flavor. These may include the following:
• Thin slices of fresh red chili slices
• Handful of fresh cilantro
• Sprinkle of red crushed red pepper flakes
• Sriracha or chili garlic sauce for extra heat
• Drizzle of soy sauce
Dress the red curry up or down as much as you prefer!