Thai chicken curry

Thai chicken curry

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(136 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins - 20 mins Cook: 20 mins


Serves 4
Learn how to make an authentic-tasting Thai curry with this step-by-step recipe

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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  • 2 shallots, or 1 small onion



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3-4 tsp red Thai curry paste
  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
    Fish sauce

    Fish sauce

    A seasoning often used in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. In Vietnam it is usually made from shrimp…

  • 1 tsp sugar, brown is best



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 4 freeze-dried kaffir lime leaves



    The same shape, but smaller than…

  • 400ml can coconut milk



    A large hairy, brown nut that grows on the coconut tree, found throughout the world's…

  • 20g pack fresh coriander


  1. Peel shallots or onion and cut in half from top to root. Lay the cut sides flat on a board and thinly slice. Very finely slice the lemongrass, starting at the thinner end, stopping towards the base when it gets tough (often described as ‘woody’ and white in the centre).

  2. Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan for a couple of minutes until the oil separates (it looks more liquid at this point). Add the shallots or onion. Fry for 3-5 mins, until soft and translucent. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 1 min, stirring all the time.

  3. Add chicken pieces and stir until they are coated. Add the lemongrass, fish sauce, sugar, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 mins until the chicken is cooked. Stir the curry a few times while it cooks, to stop it sticking and to keep the chicken submerged.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, strip the leaves from the coriander stalks, gather into a pile and chop very roughly. Taste the curry and add a little more curry paste and salt if you think it needs it. Stir half the coriander into the curry and sprinkle the rest over the top. Serve with Thai jasmine or basmati rice.

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Comments (175)

zchatc8's picture

excellent and very easy, needs 3-4 tablespoons curry paste not teaspoons

jadb's picture

Lovely but is there EVER a meal that's better with fish sauce?

poletta's picture

Super easy and tasty!

janer0binson's picture

I used Thai green curry paste, dried lemon grass & creamed coconut as alternatives & this was superb. Will definitely make this again. So tasty and creamy. Don't think it would have served 4 in my house though, we demolished it between 2 of us. Yummmm.

Willscarlet2's picture

Cooked this recipe twice in a week it was that good, very tasty indeed and impressed with the first attempt. I followed the recipe but also added some mushrooms and cauliflower which went really well. I used full fat coconut milk after checking the actual coconut content on the tins! Very smooth, creamy and wow so tasty.

whats4t's picture

good grief shinyshetty what a complicated approach to making a simple curry! Try giving the coconut milk tin a good shake before opening to combine the cream and water. As for cooking the chicken and then waiting for it to cool? The chicken should go into the sauce raw anyway so that it absorbs the flavour better. If you seal it first you do just that. . . and the flavour of the sauce doesn`t penetrate the meat.

manav2794's picture

Just saw it yesterday. Got all the ingredients mentioned here and gave it a shot today. I made it for my parents and they loved it to the core. Thank you so much for the amazing recipe and the step by step process. I wish i could post a photo of what i made but never mind.
Thanks again


janeitaly's picture

My neice cooked this when we went to visit her and she was upset to find it tasteless and watery. I read the recipe and saw it said 3-4 teaspoons of curry paste which surprised me as that is a very small amount of curry paste for that amount of chicken. Scrolled through the comments and sure enough there were many people saying it should be 3-4 tablespoons not teaspoons.The other problem is the coconut milk as others here have said, I know from experience that some brands are mainly water and are useless for Thai curry. Maybe the reason it works for some people is that they are lucky enough to get the right brand. There is a very good page on coconut milk that I got a while back from the Thai green curry recipe on Bbc good food,its called cooking with coconut milk at They make brilliant pastes too.

Maritere's picture

If you like creamy, aromatic and slightly spicy food you need to give this a go. I cook this now on a regular basis I love it so much. Also, I made this for my whole family and my mum -who is not a fan of spicy food- coughed and complained for a while... and then went for seconds and thirds! Therefore, I wouldn't recommend this recipe if you are a vindaloo kind of person but otherwise I highly recommend it.

Also, if you don't have kaffir lime leaves, the juice and zest of a lime and soy sauce are the perfect replacement.

newcook01's picture

This was my first time ever attempting to cook an oriental dish beyond a simple stir fry. It was easy to follow and tasted delicious. I added potatoes to the dish and it worked really well. Yum Yum

milesaway's picture

Hi - Can use a slow cooker for this?

michelle_30's picture

Oh and i used 3 tablespoons of paste!

michelle_30's picture

Made this tonight..... It was delicious!!! Did what was advised about the coconut milk..added the water only first, cooked with sweet potatoe, green beans and tigar prawns using sainsburys own thai red paste and Amoy coconut milk. The result was a fabulously creamy well favoured curry. Def worth a try in making yourself, enjoy

dbcarey's picture

This is a superb recipe for Thai chicken curry. Very easy to make and I have found, through trial and error, that the kaffir lime leaves make all the difference. They can be hard to find but I've found a good and inexpensive source here Plus you only need one or two and they last a long time in the pantry. Hope that's helpful.

Rosie M's picture

I cooked this dish this afternoon and was pleased with the results (having never cooked a Thai curry before). I used 3 generous tablespoons of red thai paste and added reduced fat coconut milk (all I had in the cupboard). I decided to thicken the curry by adding cornflour mixed with water which worked well. I also added tomato puree which added colour. I didn't have any lime and had to substitute ground coriander however was please with the result!

wokgirl's picture

1. Never use reduced fat coconut milk to make a Thai curry, that's why it turns watery. "Reduced fat" simply means they have replaced the milk with water & emulsifiers which break down on cooking. Look for at least 45% coconut content and the fewer ingredients listed the better.
Step 2. "Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan for a couple of minutes until the oil separates (it looks more liquid at this point)." You could heat it for several hours, vegetable oil doesn't separate. Coconut milk separates but that's another step and another story.Seriously messed up recipe.
Step 4. "strip the leaves from the coriander stalks, gather into a pile and chop very roughly. "
In Thai cookery you use the stalks and you would add them with the lemongrass.

Tori123's picture

I make this all the time and my whole family love it. I always use Quorn pieces as we all prefer the texture in this dish. I recommend using Mae ploy curry paste as it is stronger and spicier than the usual uk supermarket options.

jillmann's picture

Have just cooked this and I followed it exactly, simmered for 15 minutes as instructed and the sauce is like grey greasy dishwater - it has completely split, it has the consistency of water. I don't know what I did but I noticed another comment about it splitting too. Maybe its the juice from the chicken, maybe its the coconut milk, I've always used coconut cream before with no problem. Whatever it was, I'm embarassed to put it in front of the family! Not the creamy texture you expect of a Thai curry.

shinyshetty's picture

there could be two reasons for your sauce turning into greasy dishwater.
1. the best way to cook chicken is to first marinate the chicken, leave it for 30 mins or so or if you have the time leave it overnight in the fridge. In a fry pan, pour a tbsp of veg oil and fry the chicken for about 5 mins or just as much time needed to seal the chicken. You will see some water and grease coming out of the chicken, leave the chicken to cool and it will bring out more liquid, drain and keep aside to use when you are ready to make the curry.
2. Cooking with coconut milk is very tricky, ensure not to use any salt while cooking as this will split coconut milk and never boil a curry once you have added coconut milk into it. If you are using coconut milk from a can, open the can, take a spoon/knife and move the cream in the top to a side until you start seeing water at the bottom. While cooking, first pour in this water to cook your chicken, but at a low flame. One chicken is almost cooked, reduce flame to the lowest possible and then add the thick coconut milk/cream. Never allow to boil and keep stirring in intervals until chicken is cooked. Try this and your coconut milk will not split and you will end with a proper creamy curry. If you are adding salt, add it once the curry is slightly cool. Hope this helps.

carolinewall74's picture

Did you use light coconut milk because I did once and mine went thin too?


Questions (1)

53ellie's picture

Can this curry be frozen?

Tips (1)

shinyshetty's picture

Ok, finally made this curry today. I am rating this a 4 star because I think it can be bit more better. I made this curry after lot of thinking and reading all comments. Just made few changes, think it made the curry better and avoided ending with a bland and curdled gravy.

The changes I made
marinated chicken and left for an hour and then sealed it using a tbsp of oil in a fry pan, left to cool and draw out all liquid from the chicken, then drained the chicken and added to the curry
I used coconut milk from a can, seperated the thick cream and kept aside. Cooked the cicken in the watery thin coconut milk first in a low flame, added one red bell pepper cubed towards the end of cooking, when almost cooked, added the thick creamy coconut milk. To finish off, I also added some spring onion and almond flakes towards the end to garnish.

NOTE : I also added more curry paste than stated and also added 1/2 a red chilly pepper to give it a bit more kick to the curry. Also after adding chicken add all other ingredients except the coconut milk. Keep stirring the mixture with chicken for some time until the gravy is really coated and the chicken is half cooked, then add the thin coconut milk. This will help the chicken to absorb all the flavours added to it.