Chicken With Curry Paste

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I’m pretty sure Chicken with curry paste has to be up there with my favorite Thai dishes. The supreme thing about this Thai Red Curry With Chicken dish is it’s simplicity. It doesn’t need much to flavor it as the curry paste is so tasty and fragrant on its own.

There are many regional foods that is known only in specific areas, but this Thai Yellow Chicken Curry recipe for Chicken with Curry Paste is one of the easiest to make and will be loved by everyone. Are you looking for the health benefits of curry leaves? Curry leaves are a natural product that offer various health benefits.

Chicken With Curry Paste

This easy chicken curry recipe is ready in just 30 minutes and only needs a handful of ingredients to add real flavour. Madras curry paste creates a hearty, comforting meal, but you can add more if you like it very hot.

  • Serves 4
  • 5 mins to prepare and 25 mins to cook
  • 499 calories / serving
  • Freezable
  • Healthy
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 450g chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Madras curry paste
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300g basmati rice
  • handful coriander, chopped, to serve

Each serving contains

  • Energy2110kj
    499kcal25%
  • Fat9g13%
  • Saturates1g6%
  • Sugars9g10%
  • Salt0.5g9%

Method

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish set over a high heat. Working in batches if necessary, cook the chicken for 5-7 mins until golden and just cooked through, then remove and set aside.
  2. Put the remaining oil in the dish. Add the onion, cook for 3 mins until soft, then add the red pepper and cook for 2 mins. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 secs. Stir in the curry paste until everything is well coated.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes along with 200ml water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover the dish and leave to simmer for 10 mins until the sauce has thickened a little. Return the chicken to the dish and cook for 5 mins, uncovered, until piping hot and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the basmati rice following pack instructions. Serve with the curry and sprinkle over the coriander to finish.

Thai Red Curry With Chicken

Rich and creamy, Thai red Curry has chicken and vegetables. It packs fresh flavors, and you need just 30 minutes to make it. It tastes fantastic when served with Jasmin rice.

Thai red curry with a rich and creamy curry sauce, prepared in a skillet.

If you wonder how Thai red curry can have fresh flavors by using bottled Red curry paste, read along, and you will find the secret.

A bowl of hot rice with curry is comfort food for us. We love Thai curries, and it’s pretty regular at home. You can load it up with vegetables and protein. And the best part is it takes less than 30 minutes to make it. So definitely a perfect curry to make on busy days.

There are so many versions of Thai curry you would find on the web. The recipe shared below is something I make regularly and have improvised over the years. It is very versatile, and you adjust as per your taste.

Close up view of Thai red curry with a rich and creamy curry sauce, prepared in a skillet. Has basil and cilantro leaves as garnish.

Thai Red Curry Recipe

While Thai Curry pastes made from scratch at home is always the best, it is not always feasible. Red curry paste calls for a long list of ingredients, and it can sometimes be difficult to source a few ingredients. So, keeping a jar of red curry paste always comes in handy.

Bottled Curry paste is quite intense in flavor, but it lacks freshness. So to lift the flavors and add some freshness, we add some fresh aromatic like fresh Thai basil, lemongrass, ginger-garlic, and fresh cilantro roots.

Bottled Thai Red Curry Paste

There are many brands of curry paste available in the market. You can use any of your favorite brands.

Authentic Red curry paste contains shrimp paste, which gives umami. If you are allergic to shrimp, make sure you read the label before buying.

Ingredients for Thai Red Curry

Ingredients you need

  • Boneless Chicken thighs– Cut into thin strips. Chicken thighs are the juiciest meat, but you can substitute them with chicken breast. If using chicken breast, then reduce the cooking time, else chicken breast will quickly get overcooked.
  • Coconut Milk– full-fat coconut milk for a rich, creamy curry.
  • Red curry Paste– Any good quality red curry paste will do.
  • Aromatics– Ginger, garlic, fresh lemon zest, minced cilantro root(root is packed with flavor), Thai basil. These ingredients will take the flavors to another level.
  • Sugar and Fresh lime/lemon Juice – Prefer lime if you can get it. Gives a slightly stronger flavor and adds a bit of sweetness.
  • Fish Sauce– it is a must in Thai curries. The savory sauce gives the curry ‘Umami’.
  • Veggies- I have added Zucchini and peppers. You could use green beans, carrots, broccoli or pumpkin. Add the veggies as per their cooking time. Start with tougher veggies and add soft veggies to the end.
Steps to make the best Thai red curry with Chicken
Rich and creamy Thai red Curry served on top of white rice in a blue bowl. Has lemon slice, basil and cilantro as garnish.

Wondering, If Thai red curry is spicy? The colour may look so, but it’s not at all spicy. In fact, I sometimes add a red chilli to make it spicy. The different ingredients used in Thai curry paste gives it colour. Coconut milk also mellows down the spiciness to a reasonable extent.

Tips for best result

  1. Use chicken thighs for juciest meat.
  2. Don’t skip the aromatics, as they bring life to the rather dull curry paste.
  3. Fish sauce is a must. I know the smell will put you off, but trust me it makes a lot of difference. Fish sauce gives a more rounded flavour.
  4. Intensity of bottled curry paste might vary depending on the brand. You can add more sugar or lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Try not to use more than two veggies.

Serve with

Thai red curry is best served with plain rice/basmati rice or Jasmine rice, which is neutral in flavour and taste, and it soaks up the curry.

Store

You may easily refrigerate this curry for up to 5 days. You can reheat it on the stovetop until you see bubbles and the curry is reasonably hot. It can also be microwaved for a minute.

Thai Yellow Chicken Curry (Baked or Stovetop)

This wildly aromatic Thai Yellow Chicken Curry comes together quickly to make a hearty, healthy weeknight meal that everyone will find irresistible. 

Thai yellow chicken curry in skillet garnished with cilantro and lime wedges

I have deep love for any and all Indian, Thai, or Malaysian curries. I can’t choose a favourite. But if there is one I love, love, love to make at home it’s this Thai yellow curry chicken. Made with a good-quality, ready-made curry paste, it’s loaded with fresh aromatics that just nail the complex flavours of the much-loved classic Thai yellow curry.

This chicken curry also happens to be incredibly budget friendly – great for a family meal with leftovers. Finished with a bit of cilantro, and a chopped cashew nut, it’s wonderfully fragrant, filling, and tastes much more indulgent than it actually is. I could honestly eat it everyday.

Easy Baked Thai Yellow Chicken Curry Recipe

In Thai cuisine, a yellow curry dish is often prepared without the addition of coconut milk. This recipe is a more  Americanized version which includes coconut milk. The coconut milk creates a luxuriously rich sauce that keeps the chicken beautifully juicy and flavourful.

A Thai yellow curry is not meant to be spicy and is typically made with a combination of meat and potatoes which makes it super hearty.

For this recipe, we take a less hands-on approach and cook the dish in the oven. Whole boneless, skinless thighs are submerged in the coconut curry sauce then baked until fall-apart tender and juicy. No marinating, no browning, super easy, flavourful, and delish!

The oven-method does a take a little longer to cook so if you’re in a hurry and prefer to go the stove-top route, I have included instructions down below.

chicken curry served in a bowl with white rice

Curry Paste Made From Scratch Vs Store-Bought

To make a Thai Yellow Curry you will need a yellow curry paste. Much like green, or red Thai curry pastes, the yellow variety starts out with the same base ingredients; chillis, lemongrass, shallots, galangal, and garlic. Yellow curry, however, has less heat, if any, and the addition of Indian curry-style spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, and coriander.

You can make the yellow curry paste from scratch, and if made right, it will absolutely be more flavourful than store bought. But, you may be surprised to hear that I do not recommend you make it from scratch. Hear me out. Galangal, dried chilis, kaffir lime leaves, fresh turmeric, and fresh lemongrass are crucial in a Thai curry paste and not always easy to find. So unless you are willing to hunt down every single ingredient needed to make an authentic curry paste, you are better off buying a good quality pre-made paste from an Asian store. I learned this tip from the legendary Thai food writer and cook Leela Punyaratabandhu (if you love Thai cuisine, her award-winning Thai food blog is a must read) and have never made my own since.

That said, not all curry pastes are created equal so read on to learn which brands I recommend and which ones I avoid.

Best Store-Bought Thai Curry Pastes

Thai curry pastes are full of complex flavours and buying pre-made is much more practical than making your own. To clarify, we are not talking about pre-made curry sauces. Those come prepared with coconut milk already added and serve a complete different purpose.

Favourite store-bought Thai curry pastes:

Let’s get my least favourite out of the way. Thai Kitchen is perhaps the easiest to find at most supermarkets but unfortunately it is very inferior in taste. In fact, I find it unpleasantly flavourless. If this is the only brand you have access to, make sure and double the quantity called for in this recipe.

Most Asian grocery stores sell Mae Ploy, Aroy-D, and Maesri. I have used, and like, all three brands but they do vary greatly in spice level and saltiness so choose accordingly. Mae Ploy is the saltiest of the three so do not add any extra salt if using this brand.

Maesri is my favourite because the flavours seem very authentic and well-balanced. It also comes in a convenient small can so you don’t have a lot of leftover paste to deal with.

I have never seen these recommended brands at a regular grocery store so you will have to visit an Asian grocery store to find them. Lately, in my area, I have been having a hard time finding the maesri yellow curry (labelled Karee Curry Paste) so when I find it I stock up. If you find a different brand at an Asian store that isn’t listed here, check the ingredient list. If galangal, kaffir lime, and lemongrass are among the ingredients, it is likely worth a shot.

Ingredients for recipe

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Chicken – As previously mentioned, I use whole boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this Thai yellow curry chicken recipe. The thighs get juicy and tender when cooked in the sauce and you barely need to check on it. However, if you are in a hurry, you can chop up the chicken and cook it on the stovetop (see instructions below). If going stovetop route, feel free to use chicken breast, if you prefer.
  • Potatoes – Thai yellow curries commonly include potatoes even when served with rice. I love the combination and it also stretches the dish even more. If you aren’t fond of eating potatoes with rice, you can serve the chicken curry with flatbread, or omit the potatoes and serve with rice.
  • Yellow curry paste – Even though yellow curry is not supposed to be spicy, some brands have a lot more heat than others. If you are sensitive to heat, add a little less paste to start, then more to taste. For reference, I used ⅓ cup of maesri paste for this dish and I did not find it spicy at all. Add a little cayenne pepper if you like a little heat.
  • Onions – You can use red or yellow onions.
  • Ginger root – Adding some grated fresh ginger results in a much more flavourful curry broth.
  • Brown or coconut sugar – Optional but just a little helps balance the saltiness of the curry paste.
  • Coconut milk – Use full-fat coconut milk for best flavour and texture.
  • Fish sauce – Provides the umami boost required in Thai cuisine. I recommend this brand which is now sold at Costco stores in Canada (yay!).
  • Cilantro – Some fresh cilantro leaves for garnish are optional but add some brightness and freshness to the dish.
  • Lime juice – Contrary to popular belief, Thai yellow curry is not typically finished with a drizzle of lime juice. That said, I miss the tanginess and freshness it lends the dish so I still use it.
  • Chopped cashews – Optional, but a little crunch with this dish is quite nice.

How To Make Thai Yellow Curry Chicken

Because curry pastes vary so greatly in strength, flavour, and spiciness, try not to rely on the exact amount given in this recipe. Add less to start, then let your taste buds guide you adding more if needed.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Shove onions aside and add in the curry paste and ginger, and stir until paste is fragrant and darker, about 1 minute.
  • Pour in the coconut milk a little at a time, stirring as you go. Add ½ cup water then stir in the brown sugar and fish sauce and cook for 30 seconds, until sugar is dissolved. Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the sauce. At this point you can taste the sauce. If it seems bland, add another tablespoon of curry paste. Don’t panic if it tastes too salty – the chicken and potatoes will take care of toning down the saltiness as they cook.
  • Using tongs, add the chicken and turn to coat folding the thighs into little bundles so they are seam side down.
  • Transfer to 400ºF preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, basting halfway through. Depending on the size of the chicken thighs, they could take 5 minutes more, or less.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over. Enjoy!
onions, curry paste and ginger cooking in skillet
onions, curry paste and ginger cooking in skillet
cooked chicken thighs with curry sauce in skillet

How To Make On The Stovetop

To make this Thai yellow chicken curry  recipe on the stovetop, you will need to cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Shove onions aside. Add in the curry paste and ginger, and stir until paste is fragrant and darker, about 1 minute.
  • Pour in the coconut milk a little at a time, stirring as you go and cook until bubbling, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup water, stir in brown sugar and fish sauce and cook until sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the sauce. At this point you can taste the sauce. If it seems bland, add another tablespoon of curry paste. Don’t panic if it tastes too salty. The chicken and potatoes will take care of toning down the saltiness as they cook.
  • Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over. Enjoy!
close up of Thai yellow chicken curry in skillet

Tips

  • Cook the curry paste. Before you add any liquids, it is best to cook the curry paste to release all the flavours.
  • Add Turmeric. Yellow curry pastes already contain turmeric. But for a curry that is more golden-yellow, add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to the sauce.
  • Use canned coconut milk. This curry is made with canned coconut milk, not coconut milk beverage. 
  • Add some spice. Most yellow curry paste are very mild. If you like a little heat, ad some cayenne pepper or a few chopped red chilis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add other veggies?

Yes, this Thai chicken curry would be great with other veggies such as green beans, baby spinach, broccoli, snow peas, etc. If you’re making it with potatoes, however, I would only add a bit of spinach, or a handful of green beans so you don’t crowd the ingredients.

Can you make it ahead?

Yes, this dish is even better the next day so you can bake it and reheat it when ready to serve. Once cooled, transfer to a large container, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in a warm oven until completely warmed through.

Note, however, that as the curry sits, it loses some of its bright yellow colour but will be just as tasty, nonetheless.

Can I make it vegetarian?

A vegetarian version made with tofu and/or vegetables would be absolutely delicious.

Can you freeze chicken curry?

This Thai yellow chicken curry is great for preparing as a freezer meal. Once completely cooled, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

chicken curry served in a bowl with white rice

Suggestions For Serving

The ample amount of delicious sauce in a Thai yellow curry chicken is screaming to be soaked up with some white rice or warm naan. We also love it with a side of cucumber and red onion salad – so, so good!

Health Benefits Of Curry Leaves

The curry tree, a unique citrus tree native to regions of India and Sri Lanka, has become almost synonymous with Indian cuisine. As a member of the citrus family, curry leaves have a strong, fragrant flavor similar to lemongrass.

Used as an herb, curry leaves pack a much subtler flavor than curry powder by lending a complex depth of flavor to any dish. When cooked into a dish, curry leaves enhance the other flavors, giving Indian food its fragrant, robust flavors. Curry leaves have a somewhat sweet taste, earning them the nickname sweet neem leaves.

More than acting as a flavorful herb in Asian cooking, curry leaves have a number of health benefits. In fact, they’re commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine,  a type of holistic medicine practice that began in India over 3,000 years ago.

Health Benefits

While curry leaves are popular in cooking, they’re also commonly used in holistic medicine. This herb is packed with powerful health benefits worth knowing about. 

Support Immune Health

As important as treating an illness once you have it is preventing yourself from getting sick in the first place. Curry leaves are rich with antioxidants, which can help prevent you from getting sick, and which can help lessen the amount of time you stay sick.

Other studies suggest that curry leaves can help your body fight genetic mutation, which has been linked to chronic illnesses including cancer.

Help Treat Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second-most prevalent cancer in the world. Current breast cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, all of which have their own side effects and risk factors.

However, research suggests that curry leaves may help treat breast cancer by causing cancerous cells to die off. One initial study had a small sample size and has not yet been reproduced, but shows promise for the future of breast cancer treatment. 

May Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative disease that causes brain cells to die.Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, though some medications can slow the disease’s progression. 

However, early studies suggest that curry leaves may actually help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A study done in rats suggests that curry leaves not only protected against future damage to brain cells, but actually reversed some effects of past brain cell damage.

While this early research is promising, the study has not yet been reproduced with humans.

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