Thursday, January 13, 2011

Easy Thai Red Curry Chicken Recipe

This easy Thai Red Curry is fragrant and sumptuous, and can be made anywhere from mild to red-hot, depending on how much spice you prefer. It's a healthy and hearty curry dish that will awaken your senses and boost your mood. Note that in Thailand this curry would be simmered in a wok over a stovetop, but in this case I have adapted it to suit Western cooking methods so that it can be baked in an oven (easier for most North Americans). This means it can be put together and in the oven in under 20 minutes! ENJOY!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes


  • 1/2 medium chicken, cut into parts (skin can be removed for less fat)
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves (purchased frozen at Asian stores), OR substitute 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick, OR 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • handfuls of fresh basil and coriander/cilantro
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 shallots OR 1/2 cup purple onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato ketchup, OR tomato paste + 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder (North American type)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 heaping tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian stores)
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced, OR 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • optional: 1-2 cups chopped eggplant (leave skin on), OR 4-5 Thai eggplants


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place chicken pieces in a fairly large casserole dish.
  3. Place all curry sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well.
  4. Pour the curry sauce over the chicken. Stir well, so that each of the chicken pieces is covered with sauce.
  5. Add the kaffir lime leaves and cinnamon, mixing these into the sauce.
  6. Cover and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
  7. Remove dish from the oven. Add the vegetables and stir them into the sauce. Return the curry to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is well cooked.
  8. Do a taste test. If the sauce isn't salty enough, add more fish sauce (1 Tbsp. at a time). If it's too sour, add a little more brown sugar. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add a few fresh-cut chilies or dried crushed chili/cayenne pepper.
  9. Ladle the curry into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle generously with fresh basil and coriander (cilantro), and serve with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice. ENJOY!

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