Thai Green Curry with Chicken Recipe

Thai Green Curry with Chicken

“What the hell is fish sauce?” he wondered as he read a recipe for Thai green curry with chicken. Fouad had only arrived from Lebanon a year before and all these strange ingredients in his shopping list seemed too foreign and dubious. His suspicions with food in Australia began when the chicken shop in Kingswood asked him if he wanted chicken salt with his chips. “What the hell is chicken salt?” was the beginning of a sequence of self-directed questions that mostly referred to unknown food stuffs, and the general structure of these questions became “What the hell is [fill in blank]?”. But on that day, the blank not only got filled with fish sauce, but with galangal, shrimp paste, kaffir lime leaf and Thai basil. None of these ingredients had ever been heard of or encountered in their raw form, and the first time Fouad had ever experienced them was three months prior when his new Australian girlfriend (now eight month pregnant wife with very cute belly) ordered a Thai takeaway. That included a green curry with chicken, curry puffs and chicken skewers with satay sauce, a condiment that Fouad thought was the bees knees and one that could possibly make him a fortune if he bottled it and sold it to his fellow citizens back in Lebanon.

And so, in an effort to impress his girlfriend, Fouad set out to the Woolworths at Penrith (pronounced Penrif), and sought the ingredients for a Thai Green Curry. Not surprisingly, half were not found, and as Fouad cracked open that bottle of fish sauce and took a good sniff, the pungent odor emitted from within turned his stomach. Quickly, a decision was made to halve the amount recommended by the recipe. Needless to say, the result was a disaster, a cheap copy, a doppelganger unworthy of association with the original. And so, in an effort to understand what went wrong, Fouad decided to educate himself in the art of Thai green curry.

The story above is, yes, you guessed it, Book 1 of  “The Adventures of Fouad and Thai Green Curry”. Luckily, eight years since then, I have been able to somewhat understand the various roles of the ingredients that go into a Thai green curry and now, I can safely say that I make a damn fine green curry. Fish sauce is no longer a stomach churning mystery, but rather an aromatic liquid used to add salt and complexity to a dish. Kaffir lime leaves have become one of my favourite ingredients and I use them fresh from my little tree growing on the balcony. They are awesome. My recipe for a Thai green curry is inspired by David Thompson’s bible, Thai Food. I can’t explain how important this book is. If you don’t have it and you like Thai food, you must go out and buy it, right now. Well, maybe after you finish reading this post.

The characteristics of a green curry are quite specific. First, it is a thin curry, which means you add thin coconut milk or chicken stock to the coconut cream. Second, it is green, which means green chillies are used. Third, the sauce need to be cracked, or seperated. That happens when the coconut cream is heated until most of the water evaporates and the coconut cream splits into oil and milk solids. Last, this is a hot and salty curry, not a sweet one, so sugar should not be used, though it is not uncommon to see it used. Confused? Don’t be. Avoid sugar.

Mr Thompson suggests that firm, slightly bitter vegetables work best with this curry. These include bamboo shoots, banana blossom or apple and pea eggplants. The issue I have with these types of recipes is that they ask for small amounts of ingredients that you wouldn’t usually keep at home. That said, they are nowadays easily available in Australia and making the curry from scratch is such a great experience. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Notes:

  • For this recipe I couldn’t find galangal at the shops so I used fresh ginger
  • I use Megachef fish sauce which is my favourite. You can find it in most supermarkets
  • I was not able to find green bullet chillies so I used long green chillies for color and flavour and red bullet chillies for heat
  • I didn’t have white peppercorns so I used powdered white pepper instead

David Thompson’s Thai Green Curry with Chicken Recipe (Ripped off then adapted)

Ingredients

Curry Paste

  • 3 tablespoons green bird’s eye chillies
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped galangal
  • 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped kaffir lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon scraped and chopped coriander root
  • 1 teaspoon chopped red tumeric
  • 3 tablespoons chopped red shallot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (I use the one preserved in oil as I find it less pungent)
  • 10 white peppercorns, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground

Curry Ingredients

  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 250 grams sliced chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 cups thin coconut milk or chicken stock
  • Handful green beans, tipped and cut in half
  • Handful Thai basil leaves
  • Kaffir lime leaves and 2 long red chillies (cut on a diagonal) for garnish

Method

  1. To make the curry paste, in a mortar and pestle grind the ingredients for the paste in order from hardest to softest, ensuring each ingredient is fully pulverised before adding the other
  2. Crack the coconut cream in a sauce pan as described above
  3. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the paste (depending on how hot your chillies are) and fry over a medium heat, continuously stirring to prevent the paste from burning
  4. Add the chicken and continue to cook until the paste is fragrant
  5. Add the fish sauce and the coconut milk or chicken stock
  6. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and add beans and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until the chicken is cooked
  7. Garnish with kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil and chillies
  8. Serve with rice

18 Responses to “Thai Green Curry with Chicken Recipe”

  1. Maninas says:

    I loved reading book 1 of The Adventures of Fouad and Thai Green Curry! It’s hilarious!
    .-= Maninas´s last blog ..Birthdays and presents – Maninas turns 3! =-.

  2. Jay says:

    Sounds epic Fouad. Can’t wait to try it out. I’m pretty lazy and usually just buy the paste pre-made, so I’m looking forward to building from scratch! Cheers…

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post! I had similar experience when I moved to Sydney from Malaysia 10 years ago. This is a fine green curry. I love the dedication and passion David Thompson has in Thai cooking and sharing this fine cuisine with us.
    .-= Ellie (Almost Bourdain)´s last blog ..Apple and Cinnamon Cake =-.

  4. Steph says:

    Hahaha Penriffff. Love it! That green curry does look damn good, thank god you discovered fish sauce Fouad :) Seriously, how awesome is fish sauce?
    .-= Steph´s last blog ..Slow Baked Quince & Honey Panna Cotta =-.

  5. Summer says:

    Absolutely delicious food on this delightfull blog with some beautiful pics too:-))
    Love them all!!!
    And yeah i sure do love thai curry, specially if as delicious as this!!!
    .-= Summer´s last blog ..SUMMER POEME’S ON MOTHERS DAY@365 ,JAM TARTS& A FEW TART PANS GIVEAWAY =-.

  6. FFichiban says:

    Ahhh speaketh in the 3rd person, Richard thinks present Fouad makes a great green curry from the looks of it. Past Fouad has learnt well.
    .-= FFichiban´s last blog ..Foodblogger Battle Royale Cook Off 2010 =-.

  7. Great post. I love a good green curry, it is fresh, hot and very colourful.
    .-= Mark @ Cafe Campana´s last blog ..International Incident Party – Butterscotch Apple Dumplings =-.

  8. Mmmm sound fantastic – I know what I’ll be cooking tonight!

  9. Gourmantic says:

    Ms G, or Gourmantic as she is known, is already hooked on Chapter 1, Penrif, and the beginnings of Fouad’s culinary autobiography. She relates to some of the questions the author poses and admits she has felt the same about fish sauce the first time she bought it. She has not made peace with chicken salt, or even salt and vinegar on her chips, but she has warmed up considerably to mild Thai curries.
    .-= Gourmantic´s last blog ..Media Luna Mexican Kitchen, Clovelly =-.

  10. Rosa says:

    What a splendid looking curry! Homemade curry paste can’t be beat!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  11. If I am to make this in Lebanon, I probably would not find most of the ingredients! Thai cuisine has been recently introduced here and I never tried yet, although I heard a lot of compliments for it. The dish looks great in the picture, I should probably go find myself a Thai restaurant in Beirut and sample some things.
    .-= Viviane, Taste-Buds´s last blog ..Distilling Rose Water =-.

  12. Trissa says:

    I admire the person that makes his chicken curry paste from scratch! Well done – you indeed have come a long way!

  13. I love Thai food and bought a cookbook; but passion for it remains elusive, so I still buy the ready-made paste; I admire you for going all out and getting informed on all these strange sounding ingredients; the lime leaves are wonderful aren’t they?
    .-= tasteofbeirut´s last blog ..10-minute baklava =-.

  14. Fouad says:

    Maninas, Thank you! Glad you enjoyed :)

    Jay hehehe. No need to be lazy. I’ll drop some off next time I come by. –

    Ellie (Almost Bourdain) – I think most foodies experience something strange when they first come to australia :) hehe. How good is Mr Thompson!

    Steph- Fish sauce rocks! Have you tried Mega Chef? It’s the best I’ve tried. Penriff!

    Summer – Thanks for visiting. I’m glad you enjoyed the site!

    FFichiban – Thank you oh lord and master!

    Mark @ Cafe Campana – Green curry rules! I love penang curry too though. Maybe I’ll try that next…

    Rich @ Beer Cartel – hope you tried it.

    Gourmantic – Green curry is not for the week hearted when it comes to chillis. (but you can tone it down)

    Rosa – home made paste sure is awesome. as long as you use a mortar and pestle

    Viviane – If I drop by to beirut soon, I’ll bring you the ingredients to try. How about that?

    Trissa – thanks for your kind words. I hope I’ve come a long way. It has been 9 years… :)

    Joumana – kaffir lime leaves are awesome. I make a simple syrup with them and drizzle them on top of muhallabieh. fantastic!

  15. The Ninja says:

    In general, I’m suspicious of cuisine cooked by those not of its nationality. However, I don’t believe anyone can go through the trials and tribulations which you did and not produce a spankingly good bowl of hot stuff.

    Picture looks different from the green curries I’m familiar with, creamier and a bit more like a Malaysian rendang (which I’d say is a very, very desirable thing). Is that indeed the case?

    Also, Penriffffffff.
    .-= The Ninja´s last blog ..Shinara =-.

  16. I like your Thai Green Curry Chicken recipe. Sometimes they do use ginger for curry because its easier to find.

    Jenny
    Thai Green Curry´s last [type] ..Green Curry Ingredient Pictures

  17. Romy says:

    Hi! I made this recipe last night and it was delicious – but I struggled with the whole “cracking of the coconut milk”, how long does this take/what exactly is meant to happen?
    Thanks so much

  18. Fouad says:

    Hi Romy

    Cracking means heating the coconut milk until the fat seperates. You will then see little droplets of fat in the whitish liquid. This should happen after the coconut milk has reduced considerably, but it also depends on the fat content of the coconut milk itself. Hope that helps

    F

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