A warm and comforting creamy coconut Thai red curry that’s easy and quick to put together with many layers of flavours from the shrimp paste, coconut cream, kaffir lime leaves and condensed milk.
More often then not, I find myself always leaning towards takeout especially during hectic times of the year. It’s easier to just blame it on my laziness but truth be told I just over think food and forget that delicious food doesn’t always have to be complicated and take a decade to make.
So for anyone out there who falls into this rut like me, I would like to share my super easy and versatile Thai red curry recipe in hopes that this recipe can bring you a whole lot of deliciousness without a lot of effort so you can use your time on more important things – like eating dessert – priorities 🙂
For this Thai red curry recipe, a few of the ingredients should be available at your local grocery store but a bulk of it (fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, red curry paste and shrimp paste) might be harder to find unless you shop for it at an Asian grocery store.
To keep things simple and quick, I use red curry paste for this recipe instead of making it from scratch but rest assured this shortcut does not compromise the flavour of it at all. 🙂 In fact, I highly recommend keeping a small jar around all the time. Depending on the brand you buy, they almost always have all the main components of thai cuisines (kaffir lime leaves, lemon grasss, galangal, garlic, shrimp paste and chilis) and it takes the work out of finding these ingredients if they are not easy to find in your area – and the flavours are definitely authentic. 🙂
COCONUT MILK vs COCONUT CREAM
Once I discovered how flavourful and full flavoured coconut cream was, I rarely ever use coconut milk now. Coconut cream has a more robust coconut flavour and provides a more creamy texture in anything it is used in due to it’s higher fat content.
Unfortunately, coconut cream is not always easy to find but if you can find it then definitely use it. If you can’t find coconut cream, you can use coconut milk but make sure to find a higher fat content one – I find those types of coconut milk are a lot more flavourful. Try to also find a coconut milk without a gajillion chemicals – ideally you want to find one with just coconut milk (or coconut extract) and water. Coconut milks with a lot of added chemicals and preservatives don’t have as much flavour.
PICK YOUR PROTEIN
This is a very versatile Thai red curry and you can easily use any type of protein for this recipe. A few types I have used in the past successfully are:
- Thinly Sliced Chicken (white and dark meat – use the meat marinade below)
- Thinly Sliced Beef (use the meat marinade below)
- Fish – this also works very well in this Thai red curry. You don’t need to cut this super thin since fish is quite delicate and can break apart easily if it is sliced too thinly.
- Vegetables (red peppers, sugar snaps, snow peas, bok choy etc.)
For this recipe, I used condensed milk to give the curry a hint of sweetness but also give it an added creaminess as well. You can use palm sugar interchangeably with the condensed milk but the it will be slightly less sweet so tweak this to adjust this to your taste. If you substitute the condensed milk with white sugar, you will lose a bit of the creaminess – to compensate for that you can add an additional tablespoon of coconut milk. Keep in mind as well that white sugar is a lot sweeter than condensed milk so use half the amount of white sugar and work your way up slowly until it is at the right degree of sweetness for you.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
MY SIMPLE EVERYDAY MEAT MARINADE
Have you ever noticed that whenever you cook any type of thinly sliced chicken or beef they sometimes come out dry and sometimes tough? I have a solution for that – it’s my two ingredient super simple meat marinade that I pretty much use in all my stir fries.
It’s made of salt and water! It’s essentially a mini brine. The salt draws the water into meat and makes it super supple so that it is harder to over cook and dry out the meat. Neat eh? For this marinade, I rarely ever use salt though and I prefer to use either soy sauce or fish sauce instead.
Now THIS is comfort food! 🙂
A warm and comforting creamy coconut red thai curry that’s easy, versatile and quick to put together with many layers of flavours from the shrimp paste, coconut cream, kaffir lime leaves and condensed milk.
Beef & Chicken Marinade
- 1/2 lb beef (or any type of protein)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 3-4 tablespoons oil
- 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (or honey)
- 4 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1-2 teaspoon fish sauce (adjust this to taste)
Toppings & Garnishes (optional)
- basil leaves
- crushed roasted peanuts
- red chili peppers
Prepare the Protein
- If you are using beef, chicken or pork as the protein – Thinly slice the meat and add in the marinade and set aside. The thinner you slice this, the less time it will take to fully cook it.
- If you are using veggies, tofu or fish as the protein cut them up into bite sized pieces and set aside
Putting the Curry Together
- Slice the onion and set aside
- Roughly chop the garlic and set aside
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a pot and set the stove to medium heat.
- Once the pot is hot, add in the onions and saute them until they are soft, then add the garlic in and cook it for 1 more minute until it is soft and fragrant.
- Add in the red curry paste and toast it for 1-2 minutes – it’s okay if some of it sticks to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the coconut cream and gently scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the red curry paste off the bottom of the pot.
- Add in the water, shrimp paste, condensed milk and stir until everything is well combined
- Simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes
- Adjust the heat back to medium low heat
- Add in the protein (beef, chicken, fish, tofu etc) and cook it for 5-8 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through. If you cut the meats thinly it shouldn’t take long for it to cook all the way through
- Add in the fish sauce at the very end and adjust it to your preference of saltiness
- Remove from heat when it is done and garnish it with toppings of your choice and serve it with rice, noodles or rice cakes! Enjoy! 🙂
- You can substitute condensed milk with palm sugar. If you do, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of coconut cream to give it the creaminess it is missing
- If you are substituting the condensed milk with sugar, start by adding only 1 tablespoon of sugar and tweak it to your liking. Sugar is much sweeter than condensed milk. Add in an additional 1-2 tablespoons of coconut cream to replace the missing creaminess
- If you cannot find coconut cream, try to find a coconut milk with high fat content with as little preservatives and chemicals as possible. The ingredient list should ideally just be coconut milk (or coconut extract) and water.
- If you are using fish as your protein, try not to cut it too thin. Fish is super delicate and will break apart in the curry if it is cut too thinly.
- When shopping for shrimp paste, keep in mind that shrimp paste and shrimp sauce is used interchangeably. Look for a brownish grey paste in a glass or plastic jar.
- Serving Size: 1 Serving
- Calories: 477 kcal
- Sugar: 13 g
- Sodium: 1187 mg
- Fat: 35 g
- Carbohydrates: 18 g
- Protein: 20 g
Keywords: red thai curry, thai red curry, coconut curry
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