Easy Thai green chicken curry

 20080420 - GreenThai Curry TitleWeb 

So, my fellow foodbloggers… do you ever feel a little like a foodie fraud? 

I do.  Every day I read through all these wonderful blogs where people talk about making their own pesto/pizza/hummus/stock/jam from scratch, as if they would never dream of doing it any other way, and it goes completely without saying that this is the bare miminum that foodies do. 

And then I think guiltily of my own habits and cupboards.  I buy jam.  I buy hummus.  I make stock, but more often, I use stock cubes.  Hell, I have gravy granules!! I guess you could say that I'm the trailer-trash relative at the great foodie family BBQ.

Every time I see a recipe for making Thai green curry, starting with something along the lines of "first, plant your galangal plant", I feel the weight of inadequacy settle upon my shoulders.  Clearly, everybody else is working an 8-hour day and them going home to make their own green curry paste from scratch – it's just me and the pasty guy at the checkout with a trolley full of pork scratchings and frozen chicken Kievs who furtively buy the ready-made bottles of curry paste. 

That is, until I received a package from one of my favourite expat South African bloggers: cook, blogger and crafter extraordinaire Bordeaux of Marita Says.  We had been chatting via e-mail and I had commented on some cute postcards on his site.  He promptly agreed to send me one, and so we came to exchange care packages.  And what did I find in his package from Thailand?  Four sachets of curry paste – a green, a yellow, a panang and a masaman paste!  So even in Thailand, it seems that some people aren't keen to dash home after a long day at work and pound away at deseeded chillies and shrimp paste in their pestle and mortar… I'm not so inadequate after all – thanks Bordeaux for showing me the light 😉

Apparently, the trick with green Thai curry paste (and I do mean the paste – not the Lloyd Grossman or similar cook-in sauces!) is to buy one that is made in Thailand.  That way you can be reasonably sure that the ingredients and the taste are authentic.  I'm pleased to say that the Sainsbury's own-brand green Thai curry paste is indeed made in Thailand, but my favourite to date is the WorldFoods green Thai curry paste. 

This recipe is one of my favourite quick weeknight dinner standy-bys.  The longer you can simmer it, the better the flavour, but it's perfectly yummy even without extended simmering. 

QUICK THAI GREEN CHICKEN CURRY (serves 2)20080420 - GreenThai CurryIIWeb


1 medium onion, chopped
2 skinless, deboned chicken breasts, chopped
1-2 cups of French beans (depending on how you like the meat-to-greens ratio), chopped
2 Tbsp green Thai curry paste
soy sauce
canola or sunflower oil
250ml coconut milk (just over half a standard tin)


Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat.  Add the onions and sautee until they start to soften.  Add the chopped beans and sautee until the onions are translucent and the beans are heated through but still crunchy.

Increase the heat a little and add the chicken.  Stir fry until the chicken is almost done, then add a generous splash of soy sauce.  Stir in the green Thai curry paste and allow to cook for a few minutes, then add the coconut milk (you can add more if you want a saucier curry).  Check for seasoning and add more curry paste, salt or coconut milk as necessary.

Once the liquid is bubbling, turn the heat down, cover the pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so until the sauce is reduced and thickened a little.

Serve with lots of fluffy jasmine rice.

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  1. says

    “First, plant your galangal plant…” HA HA HA! The curry looks great– pass the rice, pleas!
    Shortcuts are of course acceptable in my kitchen. I use stock cubes all the time– I can’t get myself to part with that much fuel (er, liquefied petroleum gas) or electricity to make stock. Puff pastry is impossible to make in a Filipino kitchen, too :)

  2. says

    Oh, you’re not the only one. Not by a longshot. Everyone does it–we just don’t TALK about it. It’s one of those dirty little secrets of foodies. I use bullion almost exclusively–unless I happen to have a full bag of chicken bones & bits ready in the freezer for a stock-making marathon.
    Discovering how the locals make their cuisine is such a huge relief most of the time, don’t you agree? When I found powdered berebere spice mixture I was in heaven–and then learned how to make my own for the sake of availability only. If there was an Ethiopian grocery nearby I’d surely purchase it ready-made. I’ll have to search out thai-imported curry paste–there is one good thai grocery not too far away. Thanks for the tip!

  3. says

    Making curry paste from scratch is in my books, special occasions only. As for day to day life, I agree it is all in the curry paste. I prefer to buy ones that have no English writing on them at all.

  4. says

    Yep, I make paste from scratch sometimes – but always have a couple of tubs of paste in the fridge for standbys! I like the mae ploy brand best – they do a massaman too :)
    Craving Thai curry now!

  5. says

    Yes, I often feel like a bad foodie as well. I use stock cubes, get pizza delivered (often), buy sacla pesto, houmous from the corner shop, instant coffee and love Hugh F-W but feel slightly ashamed of my gardenless state around all that chat of pulling veg straight from the ground (not even room for a window box in my flat) so the galangal comment was right on the mark. But, I see this and remember that people use spice mixes for good reason and that I can happily spend great chunks of money at Seasoned Pioneers or Steenbergs. In fact I might go and do just that, I need some more Chermoula…

  6. says

    “I guess you could say that I’m the trailer-trash relative at the great foodie family BBQ.” Lol! Like someone who’s turned up at a Democrat BBQ to campaign for Sarah Palin.

  7. says

    Guilty as charged!! hehe
    Actually, I’m not ashamed of cheating. The last thing I really want to do after a long day of work is to go home and pound my own chilli/curry paste. I have thought about making my own curry paste/hummus/pesto etc before. But ‘thought’ is about as far as I have ever went… ha ha..

  8. says

    Thai curries are among my favorites and this looks good. I have to confess though, that I find it fun to make my own Thai curry pastes. I make large batches and then freeze it in single serving sizes for quick and easy use later.

  9. says

    You’re curry looks lovely! Even though we lived in BKK for a year and always had access to the fresh ingredients to make our own curry paste I always cheated and bought the paste at stores. Alexander was a bit more industrious though and often made paste for curries. Lots of fun! Enjoy the other pastes.

  10. says

    This looks very yummy. I often make Thai red curry, but have never made a green one, don’t know why. I think I am going to have to buy me some green curry paste and give it a bash!

  11. says

    And here I go, rattling on about homemade mayo and what have you! 😉 Seriously though – I love making everything from scratch sometimes, but when I don’t feel like it, I’d rather take this kind of short cut and have something that I at least know is made with the added bonus of real vegetables and meat. We all “cheat” – wait, make that “we all have real lives that sometimes eat up the time we’d like to have spend making curry pastes/hummus/stock/jam”. I say there’s room for it all! :)

  12. Mrs Lawrence says

    I love your easy-to-use site! I have a cold and am longing for a curry from my Mum’s local Thai restaurant. Unfortunately she lives 3 and 1/2 hours away from me in the country in a town which just happens to have a Thai uber-restaurant (how I do not know).
    So tonight I am going to chase that cold away with this recipe which will be easy enough to use even through the cloud of medication.
    I know what you mean about ready-made though. My husband sometimes comes home with recipes with convoluted time-conmsuming “from scratch” instructions. Its always with a mind to treating me (he’s a sweetie), but I end up helping him to speed things up. Last time I told him the biggest treat would be to not have to wait 2 and a half hours for my dinner on a weeknight (I get mean when my din-dins is delayed). Thanks very much for the recipe!

  13. Bill Foonman says

    On a recent trip to Thailand I bought a pound each of red and green curry paste at the market in Chiang Mai. They were displayed in large heaps and the vendor scooped out the desired quantity with a ladle.
    I am kicking myself for not buying more as none of the imported brands I have tried so far compare with the local product.
    I know I can grind my own however, has anyone tried the premium brands available online such as Nittaya or Hand Brand? The most readily available brands such as Thai Kitchen, Maesri, Lobo, Mae Ploy etc. don’t come close to the pastes I bought in Thailand.

  14. says

    I just tried this recipe, and it was fabulous (and so easy!). Thanks!! I’m definitely with you on the curry paste. I had a lot of trouble finding the ingredients for curry paste (even in Asian markets), so I gave up and kept buying the pre-made kind. Some of them work really well!