Thai cuisine continues to find its way among different households worldwide. This must be due to them being able to blend the complexity of using different flavors and incorporating them into a dish that has a perfect balance of the unique flavors. This is what makes Thai cuisine stand out among the rest.
The dish that we will be talking about today is the “Thai Green Curry” or in Thai, Gaeng Kaew Waan. This curry dish is probably one of the most well-known Thai curries everywhere. The color of curry is due to the green chilis that are used when making the curry paste and the taste of this dish ranges from sweet to spicy.
Thai Green Curry or Gaeng Kaew Waan contains the perfect balance of creaminess, sweetness, and spiciness that leaves those who have tried it, wanting to have another bite. All of those taste profiles have been blended to what is known to us now as “Thai Green Curry”.
Let us travel back in history to understand how this popular dish came to be. There is no definitive history of its origin. However, according to some researchers, it is said that the dish Thai Green Curry was first mentioned in a cookbook during the year 1926. It is also said to have an Indian-style curry influence as compared to the other Thai curries.
In the following decades, the dish started to gain recognition worldwide and this was intensified when the Thai government had the initiative to support Thai restaurants overseas during the early 1990s by training various chefs and business owners to open their Thai restaurants overseas.
Nowadays, you can find pre-made curry pastes in your local supermarket but nothing beats making them from scratch. It is said that making and cooking them fresh intensifies the flavors of each ingredient and its flavors blend well together as compared to pre-made ones. However, if you do not have the time to make the curry paste from scratch, then we would recommend you to buy the premade ones and cook yourself a bowl of Thai Green Curry.
Based on several websites, it said that the green color from Thai Green Curry is caused by the coriander leaves that are used in the curry paste. However, that is not the case for this paste as the green comes from the green chilis that are the main ingredients used when making this paste. In the original recipes, no coriander leaves are used in making the paste but they do add some coriander root to it.
Several ingredients are used and added when making green curry paste. The ingredients that are used are shallots, green chilis, garlic, krapi or Thai shrimp paste, lemongrass, white pepper, ground coriander root, kaffir lime, and ground cumin. All of these ingredients are mashed in a mortar and pestle until they have all been grounded to a paste.
There are different ways to cook the green curry paste but the most popular one is by frying the curry paste with some coconut milk. You will fry the curry paste until it has started to curdle and starts to look oily. Then, you will gradually add some coconut water to dilute the concentrated paste. Another method would be by boiling the paste with some water and adding the coconut milk after. Both methods are both tested and can be used depending on your preference.
Now that we have talked more about the history and flavor profile of Thai Green Curry, we want you to try to make it at the comfort of your home. Here is a recipe that you can follow to recreate an authentic Thai Green Curry or Gaeng Kaew Waan and impress your family and friends.
Chicken Green Curry
- 1 lb of chopped chicken thighs (boneless if possible)
- Green Curry Paste (see recipe below)
- 2 cups of coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon Palm Sugar (can be substituted for white or brown sugar)
- 1 - 2 tablespoon Fish Sauce
- 4 Kaffir Lime Leaves
- 1 Stalk of Thai Basil
- 1 ½ cup of chicken stock
- 1 - 2 red chili pepper
- The first important step is frying the curry paste. Pour 1 cup of coconut milk into a pan and reduce it until the coconut milk separates from the coconut oil.
- Add the curry paste to the pan and saute for 2 minutes or until they are aromatic.
- Add the chicken thighs with the curry paste and mix until the chicken is well coated.
- Pour the chicken stock and coconut milk into the pan and mix well.
- Put the fish sauce and palm sugar in the pan. Stir to incorporate the flavor with the sauce. Then simmer it for 15 minutes to let the flavors blend.
- After, you can add the kaffir lime leaves, red chilis, and Thai basil and continue simmering for a minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- You can now serve it along with a plate of rice.
Green Curry Paste
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 18 Green Thai Chilis (remove the seeds for lesser spice)
- 1 ½ teaspoon Coriander Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Kapi (Thai Shrimp Paste)
- 1 ½ tablespoon Fresh Galangal
- 2 tablespoon Cilantro roots
- 2 - 3 tablespoon Shallots
- 2 - 3 tablespoon Lemongrass
- 1 teaspoon White Peppercorns
- 1 ½ teaspoon Kaffir Lime Zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 - 2 tablespoon Garlic
- Firstly, toast the coriander and cumin seeds on a pan for 4 minutes until they have darkened in color and are aromatic. Then set aside to cool down.
- Grind the coriander, white peppercorns, and cumin in a mortar and pestle until they have turned into powder. Add the chopped green chili, and salt to the bowl, and grind until they turn into a paste.
- Add the basil, cilantro roots, lemongrass, kaffir lime zest, galangal, garlic, and shallots in the mortar and ground until they have all blended into a paste.
- Lastly, add the kapi and pound along with the paste. Set the curry paste aside.