Easy Thai red curry recipe! Making this popular takeout meal at home is super easy and much healthier. The sauce is rich and creamy and insanely delicious. You just need one pot and 35 minutes.
I love red curries! For me this is pure soul-warming comfort food. I just can’t resist this super creamy, and slightly spicy Thai-style curry. The recipe is from my new cookbook ‘Taste of Travel’ (this is the name of my foodblog in German).
I made the curry with seasonal veggies like pumpkin and green beans. I love to cook this curry in late summer and fall when green beans, bell peppers and pumpkins are in season.
Feel free to swap ingredients according to the season and your taste. The recipe also works well with zucchini/squash, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. In case you like it spicy, feel free to add a chili. And if you want to speed up the cooking time, make sure to cut the veggies into small pieces. Tofu cubes are also a nice addition to the curry.
Bonus: This red curry is vegan too! Just make sure you are using a vegan red curry paste since they often contain shrimp paste.
Step by step recipe
Rinse the pumpkin, cut it in half, and remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes. No need to peel Hokkaido pumpkin (other kinds of pumpkin with hard peel require peeling).
Wash green beans and cut them into 1.5-inch pieces. Wash the bell pepper half, deseed, and then cut it into pieces.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan or a wok. Add curry paste and cook it for about 1 minute, stirring often. Add a few tablespoons coconut milk until the red curry paste and coconut milk blend well and have a creamy consistency. Slowly add the rest of the coconut milk while stirring.
Add sugar and salt. If using the kaffir lime leaf, rub it between your fingers to release more aroma, then add to the curry and bring it to a simmer.
Add pumpkin and bell pepper and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
Add green beans and peas and let cook for another 5-10 minutes. In the meantime cook the rice according to package instructions.
Taste the curry and add more salt if needed. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the Thai basil leaves.
Serve the curry with rice. Garnish with chili rings, Thai basil, and a very finely sliced kaffir lime leaf. Enjoy!
Thai basil and kaffir lime leaves are beloved ingredients in Southeast Asian cooking. These ingredients have a unique aroma – therefore it is hard to substitute without losing the authentic taste. It’s better to omit them entirely; the curry will taste great even without them.
Thai basil (Bai Horapa) has purple stalks and flowers. Their taste reminds of anise and liquorice. Do not replace with regular green basil (basil Genovese). Rather omit entirely.
Kaffir lime leaves
Kaffir lime trees (Citrus hystrix or Macrut) bear limes with a wrinkly peel and have very aromatic leaves. Most of the time, only the leaves are used in cooking. The leaves are shiny, leathery, and dark green, and grow in characteristic adjoining pairs of leaves.
Whole leaves are used in curries and soups like Tom Kha to add a nice lemon flavor and are removed before serving. If the leaves are meant for eating, you need to cut out the center rib, and then cut the leave into very fine stripes. Do not replace with regular lime leaves. Rather leave out entirely or use a few thin slices of lemon grass instead.
Where to buy Thai basil and kaffir leaves?
Both, Thai basil and kaffir lime leaves are sometimes available in large Asian grocery stores (produce or frozen isle), but usually they traveled far. Supermarkets (e.g. Whole Foods, Fred Mayer, Kroger) also sometimes carry Thai basil in the produce isle next to the other cut herb leaves. Look out for regional grown varieties.
Buy the whole plant
If you are planning on making Thai dishes on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to buy a Thai basil plant. They are sometimes being sold as whole plant at supermarkets like Whole Foods and at local farmer’s markets. Often, you can find them in the garden isle at home improvement centers like Home Depot and Loew’s.
A little kaffir lime tree is a nice extra to get your hands on fresh, organic leaves. They are usually sold at garden centers/nurseries and the garden isle at home improvement centers. Sometimes you can have luck at farmer’s markets.