Thai Green Curry with Coconut White Rice. I’m hungry again just writing the title of this recipe out! This green curry is like a hug for your stomach. It’s one of those recipes that just makes you feel good, it tastes delicious, and is an overall crowd pleaser. This is definitely the recipe you pull out on a chilly fall day, cold winter night, or when you’re trying to impress guests over for dinner! This easy vegetarian thai green curry is made with eggplant, makes about 4 servings, is versatile, and makes for sublime leftovers for lunch or dinner!
Getting curry-ed away.
I tried, but I’m horrible at food puns. I hope you’re all not getting tired of me chatting about Thailand so much, I just can’t hold back the inspiration and the experience. All Thai-sharing aside, I’m really excited to share this recipe as the first of many to come that I learned directly from a Thai chef during cooking class. When I first made this at home it was missing that special “zing”, partially because I was lazy and severely jet lagged and bought store-bought green curry…that was a no no. In order to get the authentic taste of Thai Green Curry, you have to make the Green Curry Paste from scratch. Good thing is it’s super simple to make – all it takes are a couple unique ingredients that you can find at most international markets, if not the international section at your grocery store/market.
Green Curry was a go-to while eating out at restaurants and hotels in Thailand. It was always a “safe” choice for me, knowing that it was made with coconut milk and not dairy (p.s. you can read more about why my lifestyle is dairy free here). Seafood is something I love to eat, but truthfully don’t eat that often because I can’t get my hands on fresh all the time. Thai cooking utilizes local and fresh seafood all the time, which was something I loved in their cooking and especially in this green curry which I often ordered with prawns. The beauty of this Thai Green Curry are the add-in options. I know some of you eat seafood, some of you eat animal proteins like chicken, and some of you stick with veggie proteins and that’s perfectly fine for this recipe! You can add your favorite wild caught fish or seafood, firm tofu, mushrooms, or simply in it’s most basic form with just curry and rice.
This easy Green Curry recipe is 99% traditional and authentic with the exception of eggplant and green peas. When I’m at home and I happen to have gone to the local international market, I’ll definitely pick up Thai eggplant which are super small and more flavorful. Yet like many of you, I don’t always make a weekly trip to the international market, and that’s no problem. My tip is to go at least once and stock up on a couple of staple items to last you a couple weeks or just plan ahead with your meals when you know you’re making curry or Thai cuisine. You can still make this recipe by utilizing eggplant (i.e. aubergine) and green peas; both give the curry a beautiful texture and pop of flavor. The ingredients that make up the green curry paste truly can’t be replaced if you’re looking for that authentic flavor, so try to stick to these as close as possible, and I promise the flavor will be SO worth it. Don’t be intimated at the recipe below, there’s actually THREE recipes in this post! Green Curry Paste, Green Curry, and Coconut White Rice – the best combination and fluffy bed to soak up the curry.
Quick primer on Thai ingredients:
- Lemongrass: a beautiful fragrant and fibrous plant that gives a bright and citrus-y flavor without being too overpowering. Use a little, adjust to taste.
- Galangal: is in the ginger root family and has similar look, texture, and small although less pungent. When cooked it has a very unique flavor.
- Cilantro stems: just how it sounds, the stems and roots of cilantro! Oftentimes we discard these, but in Thai cooking these are vital for that unique flavor. Try them out, even if you’re not a big fan of cilantro herb.
- Kaffir lime: ideal to find these with their leaves, but if you can only find regular limes go with those. Kaffir lime leaves are essential in Thai cooking and worth the hunt to find them.
- Thai basil: a variation of traditional basil, with a subtle bright flavor to it.
- Coconut milk: I don’t think you’re any stranger to good ole’ coconut milk!
- Red chilies: small “bird” chilies go a long way! I like my Thai food really spicy, on a scale from 1-5, I’m requesting a 4 or 5. 1-2 red chilies per recipe is more than enough to start out with.
- Whole seed spices: I tend to buy these all at once at the market and then just keep them in Ziploc bags or on my spice shelf for a later time. I know some of these are unique, but again in the long run, you only have to purchase these once and you’ll always have them readily available
When making this in cooking class, there were a couple tips I want to share with you all. Tip 1: sauté the green curry paste, this is SO important and allows all those beautiful aromatics from the paste liven up and open up with the heat of the oil. Then you add the coconut milk in small amounts and look for that sizzle around the edges of the wok or sauté pan. Side note, you don’t “need” a wok, but I highly recommend making green curry in a wok. The pan is obviously made for curry and stir-frys for a reason – a wok makes cooking curry so much easier with the wide surface!
- GREEN CURRY PASTE
- 2 small fresh green chilies
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped fresh or dried galangal root (optional, but highly recommended)
- 2-3 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro stems
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1½ teaspoons toasted cumin seeds
- 1½ teaspoons toasted coriander seeds
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- GREEN CURRY
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons of the Green Curry Paste (recipe above)
- 3 cups light canned coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
- 1 red chili, thinly sliced
- 3, 1 inch pieces lemongrass
- 2 tablespoons diced red onion
- 10 small fresh Thai eggplant
- 2 teaspoons coconut sugar, adjust to taste
- 1½ tablespoon fish sauce (use soy sauce to taste if vegan), adjust to taste
- ¼ cup fresh Thai basil
- Add-in options: mushrooms, firm tofu, shrimp, or fish of your choice
- Garnish options: fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, toasted coconut flakes
- COCONUT WHITE RICE
- 1 cup white rice
- ½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Juice of 1 lime
- For the Green Curry Paste:
- Before combing all ingredients, be sure to lay the lemongrass flat on the table and whack with your hand the lemongrass, this helps release the lemongrass oils; then chop. Add all ingredients to a mortar and pestle.
- For the Green Curry:
- In a wok or saute pan over medium heat, saute the green curry paste in coconut oil until fragrant, reduce the heat and gradually add 1½ cups of the coconut milk stirring until green oil (from the curry paste) floats to the top. Add lemongrass, cilantro stems, ginger root, red onion.
- If using add-in's like tofu or shrimp, add them in now with the sliced kaffir lime leaves and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining coconut milk, season to taste with coconut sugar and fish sauce (or soy sauce/sea salt). Bring mixture to a boil then add in eggplants and cook until soft. Add in sliced red chillies and fresh basil and immediately turn off heat.
- For the Coconut White Rice:
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add in white rice and coconut, cook until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in the juice of 1 lime and sea salt. Adjust to taste.
- To serve, plate a bed of rice (about ½ cup per serving) on the bottom, and spoon 1 cup or so of the Green Curry on top. Garnish with optional ingredients and enjoy. Keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.