Thai green chicken curry is one of my favorite foods – not only of Thailand but in general. It is THE incarnation of Thai food. The best thing for us lowcarbies: This delicious spicy dish is the same for everyone. We just eat it with cauliflower rice and cucumber sticks rather than steamed jasmine rice.
Green coconut curry is a traditional meal for the locals – and at the same time one of the first dishes anyone visiting Thailand will encounter on the dinner menu. That’s how I came across green curry many years ago: Traveling in Thailand as a backpacker. And ever since, I have loved to make this intensely flavourful curry myself. The home made version is so much better than what you get at most westernized Thai restaurants or takeout places, which often reduce the spice and add sugar instead. Not a good idea.
Making Thai curry with chicken is the classic version. But just as delicious are curries with prawns, or tofu, or just vegetables. Whatever you put in, you make your curry in exact the same way.
The only thing that may vary is the order in which you add ingredients to your steaming wok. Prawns or tofu only need a few minutes to cook. So you need to add them to the sauce after the beans and aubergines, not before. So cooking time would be a little bit shorter.
But here, we go with chicken. Thai people mostly eat green chicken curry with their local aubergines and sometimes snake beans. Thai aubergines are much smaller than their European cousins, and they’re round and green.
Snake beans (sometimes also called yard long beans even though they don’t grow quite as long as a full yard) are super healthy, as they’re a rich source of iron, fiber, potassium and zinc – and contain only about 8 grams of carbs per 100g serving. This is quite a bit lower than the starchy larger beans, for example kidney beans because you eat the entire fibre-rich green pod, and the beans themselves are small.
How to make Thai chicken curry
Making a Thai curry is surprisingly easy. Once you have prepared and chopped all your ingredients, there are only a few things to take care of. Most importantly, the first thing you need to do is fry your curry paste with your shallots. This step brings out all the flavour and fragrance of the paste that will greatly enhance the intensity of the curry’s flavour.
After the first step, you add the liquids – stock and coconut milk – and bring them to the boil. And then, all the other ingredients go in, and you can leave the curry simmering on your stove, occasionally stirring. The curry is done when the meat is cooked, and the veggies still have some bite. The curry should not thicken too much.
In the end, turn the heat off – and only THEN add fish sauce and lime juice. This is important, as their flavour dilutes when cooked. Sprinkle your curry with fresh coriander leaves – as cilantro is called in Asia.
A word on ingredients
Curry paste: The most essential ingredient is the curry paste. While homemade curry paste is the best, it also takes quite a long time to make. So for now, we go with store-bought paste. There are dozens of brands available at Asia supermarkets around the world.
As I live in China, most brands a re probably different from what you have at hand, so I am not recommending a certain brand here. BUT. Look for a dry paste that emits a strong fresh and spicy scent when opening the jar. Look at the ingredients list that should contain things you recognize and as little sugar as possible.
Chicken: Best for chicken curry are the thighs. They are juicier and stronger in flavour than chicken breasts. But since the deboning is a bit of hard work, we often use breasts to save time. It’s definitely fine.
The amount of meat in the dish may seem small. But you will see: The curry is very rich and so full of flavour that no more is needed.
Thai aubergines and snake beans: These two are usually available in Asia shops around the world. But if you can’t get one of them or neither, no worries. You can replace Thai aubergines with other types of aubergines or with zucchini. Another good curry veg to use instead is broccoli, even though that has a different texture. Or you double up on the beans.
Speaking of the beans, if no snake beans are available, you can use “normal” green beans or snow peas.
In general, you can use all kinds of veggies for this curry. Thin carrot sticks (not quite as low carb) or leafy greens are another option for adding up on the veg.
The beauty of these curries is that they’re so versatile. You can put in anything you like – as long it’s not too much stuff for the liquid you have in your pan. If you use leafy greens, add them at the very end of cooking the curry, as they only need 3 minutes max to be ready.
Kaffir lime leaves: These dark green leaves contribute to the fresh taste of Thai curries and are a staple of Thai cooking in general. They are available in most Asia supermarkets. They usually come in bags of plenty, but you can easily freeze them for months. I have also dried them. Dried lime leaves don’t emit any smell, but when you rub them, they start to emit their characteristic lemoney-limey scent. You need to use a few more leaves when using the dried ones.
If you can’t get them, use a stalk of lemon grass, cut in inch-long pieces. Or add a little bit more lime juice in the end.
Coconut milk: It is important that you use full fat coconut milk. Not only because low carb diets call for a healthy dose of fats. But also because low fat coconut milk is thinner and is poor on flavour. I use the Aroy-D brand here in China, but there are plenty of good quality brands available around the world.
Stock: I use homemade vegetable broth for my curries – for vegetable and chicken/shrimp curries alike. Good quality store-bought vegetable or chicken stock works as well. Some chicken curry recipes call for chicken stock, as the stock has a stronger taste and enhances the chicken flavour. The choice is entirely yours – each option will yield a delicious curry.
Serve the curry with cauliflower rice and some cucumber sticks. These sticks are nice to dip into the curry. If you have more time, a traditional Thai cucumber peanut salad like this one from blog Rasa Malaysia makes a great side. Its fresh and acidic crunch complements the creaminess of the curry so well.
For guests and family members not on a low carb diet, serve steamed basmati rice along this curry.
If you like this recipe, or have tried delicious variations of it with other vegetables, let me know!
Simply the best and a Thai Classic! Green Chicken Curry with Thai Aubergines, green beans and lots of spice! Delicious as standalone meal or part of a Thai dinner with several courses.
Serving 2 as a whole meal, or more as part of a meal with several shared Thai dishes
1 deboned chicken thigh or 1 large chicken breast
3 shallots, finely chopped
1–2 tbsp green curry paste (depending on the desired spice level)
1 large handful Thai aubergines (makes around 70g as they are lightweight)
1 cup long beans, cut into 3 cm/1 inch pieces
1 can full-fat coconut milk (around 400ml per can)
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
6 kaffir lime leaves, whole
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Sea salt to taste
1 handful coriander leaves to garnish
- Debone the thigh, if you use it. Dice the chicken meat (both thigh or breast). Mix meat with a little bit of sea salt and put aside to season it from within and keep it juicy – ideally for 30 minutes, and not in the fridge.
- Cut the aubergines in quarters or eigths, depending on their size. Rinse the coriander. I use the stems as well. If you do too, chop stems and leaves, removing only the thick end. If you don’t like that, pluck the leaves and use them whole.
- Put a wok on medium heat and pour in the coconut oil. Once it’s hot, add the shallots and stir for a minute. Then add curry paste and stir vigorously to allow the paste to split apart and connect with both the oil and the shallots.
- After another minute, pour in the stock, and mix well, so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Then, add the coconut milk and bring the sauce to a boil.
- Add the chicken, lime leaves and coconut sugar – and bring the sauce to a boil again. Then, mix in the beans and aubergines.
- Simmer your curry at medium-low heat until the meat is tender, and the beans and aubergines still have some bite.
- Turn off the heat and add fish sauce and lime juice. Taste, and add more if you like. It’s important that lime juice and fish sauce are added in the very end, as their aroma dilutes when cooked for a while.
- Pour curry into a large bowl and sprinkle with coriander leaves. Serve with cauliflower rice.
- You can use shrimp or tofu instead of the chicken. Both have a shorter cooking time so they need to be added to the sauce a few minutes after the beans and aubergines. Everything else remains the same. Peel and de-vein the shrimps before adding them to the curry. Use firm Tofu as the soft tofu used in Asia’s soups would fall apart.
- If you can’t get Thai aubergines and would like two kinds of vegetables, add other kinds or aubergines or alternatively: Broccoli florets, thinly sliced carrots or leafy greens
- For storage, put curry into a sealed glass jar and it will last for 2 days in the fridge.
- Nutrition facts are by serving when served as a full meal for two – which is a generous yield. Indulge!
- Category: meal
- Method: cook and simmer
- Cuisine: Thai
- Serving Size: 2 portions
- Calories: 534
- Fat: 49.4g
- Carbohydrates: 20.6g net carbs
- Protein: 11.9g
Keywords: Thai green chicken curry