This Thai Green Curry is extremely flavorful with a creamy texture that goes well with a bowl of rice. I couldn’t help but take multiple taste tests while cooking. Check out how I substitute some of the key ingredients with some easier to find substitutes.
Are you a curry lover? I’ve loved curries since I was young, probably because I grew up in Malaysia where curries are one of the staple foods. I started to fall in love with Thai cuisines when I was in my teens as I loved the combination of spices and herbs in the dishes. My favorites include Tom Yum, Som Tam (green papaya salad), noodles, and a variety of curries.
Thai cuisine is more popular in the States compared to Malaysian cuisine when I first came here and they still are. So, a Thai restaurant comes to the rescue when my curry cravings strike.
While you can definitely make curries with store-bought pastes, homemade blended wins my heart especially when I have homegrown Thai basil and chilis. Let’s check out how to make this simple paste at home with some of the great substitutions that I like. This recipe is inspired by Mark Wein’s Thai green curry dish.
How to make Thai Green Curry
Prepare your favorite protein and vegetables
I used tempeh which was cubed and deep-fried to get the crunch. My favorite vegetables to use are broccoli, red bell pepper, fresh bamboo shoots, and eggplant, which I fried ahead of time. You are always welcome to use your favorite vegetables and proteins to suit your tastes.
Make the paste
This is the best part of this whole dish – mixing the ingredients together and blending it into an aromatic paste. You can use a mortar and pestle, a food processor, or a high-speed blender to make the paste. Make this paste ahead of time if you prefer and refrigerate or save them in ice cubes and freeze for longer shelf life. My recipe yields about 1 cup of paste which makes around 4-5 servings.
Put everything together
Place broth or water in a shallow pan or a tall pot. Then, stir in the green curry paste along with coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and let it simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes until slightly thickened. Season with vegan ‘fish’ sauce, sugar, salt, and stir to combine. Add in the broccoli, red pepper, bamboo shoot, and tempeh or protein of choice and let the mixture cook for another minute or two. Finally, stir in the Thai basil leaves, chili, and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Serve warm. Note: the longer you cook the mixture, the thicker it will get.
Thai Green Curry paste Key ingredients
This paste is made from a blend of dry spices and fresh herbs. I try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible as it makes a big difference in the taste. However, it’s not always possible for me to get all the ingredients, so I adjust the list accordingly. Check out some of the possible substitutions below.
- Spices: Cumin, Coriander, and White peppercorn seeds
- Lemongrass (white parts only) – other great alternatives include frozen chopped lemongrass, lemongrass paste or dried lemongrass.
- Shallot is one of the best options as they are sweet and aromatic. Another option includes red onion.
- Sweeteners such as sugar, palm or coconut sugar
- Galangal is one of my favorite roots to use in making a paste, but unfortunately, it’s not always as readily available. So, I substituted it with a tiny bit of ginger.
- Coriander roots – I used cilantro stem (remove the leaves for garnish and save the stem for this paste)
- Thai lime peels or leaves – I used regular lime peels from just one lime and it tasted just as good!
- Thai green chilis or sub with jalapenõs
- Thai basil leaves are fragrant and add an amazing aroma in this paste, so don’t skip this. Another alternative would be to sub this with sweet basil.
The list of ingredients may look long but it’s pretty easy and totally worth the time to make your own curry paste.
This Thai Green Curry is
- Creamy with a sweet touch
- & Scrumptious!
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Thai Green Curry
Green Curry Paste
- 1 medium-sizedshallot [75g] sliced
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons cilantro stalks or cilantro roots
- 1 tablespoon lime peel from one lime
- 2 lemongrass stalks (white part only) chopped
- 6 green Thai chilis use more for extra spicy
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon white peppercorn seeds
- 20 leaves of Thai Basil about 1 large stalk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 slices ginger
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 8 oz tempeh cut into small bite-sized cubes
- 1 small eggplant cut into 2″ long stick
- 1 cup broccolini or vegetable of choice
- ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons bamboo shoots
- 2 cups [250ml] water
- 1 cup [250ml] coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegan 'fish' sauce or umami seasoning
- handful of fresh Thai Basil
- 2 Thai chilies chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
Prepare the pairing ingredients
- Fry tempeh until golden brown, then drain them on a paper towel.
- Using the same oil, continue to fry eggplant for 1-2 minutes, dish out into a plate, and set aside.
Green Curry Paste
- Place all the green curry paste ingredients in a high speed blender with 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Blend over high speed into a thick paste. (see notes for alternatives). Transfer the paste into a bowl.
How to make Green Curry
- In a heated pan or pot, add in 2 cups of water along with the paste and coconut milk.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 5 to 8 minutes until thickened.
- Season the curry with sugar, vegan 'fish' sauce, and salt. Adjust taste accordingly.
- Add in the tempeh, eggplant, broccolini, bamboo shoots, red bell pepper and cook for about 1 minute.
- Finally, stir in the Thai basil and chilies, then give it a quick stir.
- Ladle the curry into a serving bowl and serve warm.
- Other ways to make the paste: Use a food processor or mortar and pestle to turn the ingredients into a fine paste.
- Adjust the salt accordingly if using store-bought vegan ‘fish’ sauce or use this homemade vegan ‘fish’ sauce which has a touch of sweetness