Thai red curry sounds kind of exotic, but don’t worry, it’s easy to make, and even easier to love! Chicken and veggies are quickly sautéed and then cooked in a creamy coconut milk and Thai red curry paste sauce. Served over rice, it’s filling, comforting and delicious.
This is a super quick meal that you can get on the table in 30 minutes. It’s better than takeout and a go-to weeknight dinner in our house.
*This is an updated version of a post I originally published over two years ago, in the early days of the blog. Since it’s a favorite weeknight recipe and it deserved better, I’ve made some improvements to the post and recipe.
*This post probably contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Some notes on the ingredients
Thai Red Curry Paste
Thai red curry paste is easily found in the Asian section of most grocery stores. The spice level may vary with the brand you use, so proceed with caution. This popular brand is not too spicy.
The sauce is mild, creamy, and pretty kid-friendly. You can add some minced jalapeño, or crushed red pepper if you do want more of a kick.
Kaffir Lime Leaves
You’ll notice that I’ve listed a couple of ingredients – kaffir lime leaves and fish sauce – as “optional”. Kaffir lime leaves are very aromatic, but can be hard to track down outside of Asian markets. If you can’t find them, don’t worry, this curry will still taste great without them.
That said, if you make Thai food regularly, they are definitely worth hunting down, and you can find dried ones here.
Now…fish sauce. This ingredient is quite easy to find in most grocery stores (or, of course, here), and does add great flavor to this dish. If you have it on hand, definitely go for it.
BUT, if you don’t have any, and it just sounds weird to you, or not like something you’d use again, I say don’t bother. I’ve made this Thai red curry with and without it and loved it both ways.
If you’re a stickler for authenticity though, you might disagree. For me, there’s a time and a place for authenticity and that time is not at 6:00PM on a weeknight when I need to get dinner on the table in 20 minutes before the famished toddler has a meltdown.
But definitely do what feels good to you!! I’m behind you either way :).
Here’s how to make this Thai Red Curry
- Thinly slice some chicken breast into strips.
- Thinly slice the red peppers, onions, and zucchini. Mince the ginger and garlic.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non stick pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle salt over the chicken breast and cook until lightly browned. Remove to a plate.
4. Return the pan to the heat, add another tablespoon olive oil and sauté the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
5. Add red pepper and zucchini to the skillet and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes longer.
6. Stir in the red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves and cook for another minute. Stir in the coconut milk., sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.
Serve over rice, with a sprinkle of cilantro and a wedge of lime.
This one is an all-time favorite in our house and one of the most popular recipes on the blog!
Sound good to you? If you make this Thai Red Curry, I would be thrilled and honored if you would take a pic and tag me on Instagram @ourhappymess!
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Thai Red Curry
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, sliced into strips (see note)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced
- 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 2 Kaffir lime leaves (optional)*
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Plain or coconut rice for serving (see note)
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.
In the same skillet, heat another tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the bell peppers and zucchini, and continue cooking until softened, about 4-5 minutes longer.
- Stir in the red curry paste and lime leaves, and stir-fry for another minute. Add the coconut milk, sugar fish sauce and lime juice and stir until well combined, Add in the chicken and simmer for 2-3 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- Serve over plain or coconut rice (see note), and sprinkle with cilantro.
*Kaffir lime leaves can be hard to find outside of Asian markets, but there is no good substitute, so if you can't find them, just skip them!