thai red curry recipe, how to make thai red curry

thai red curry recipe with step by step photos. this is a delicious thai curry recipe made with assorted vegetables including mushrooms. if you have coconut milk ready, then making red thai curry does not take much time. this thai red curry recipe is pure vegetarian as well as a vegan recipe and does not include the addition of shrimp sauce or fish sauce.

thai red curry recipe

thai food is amazingly simple to make and yet aromatic, spicy and delicious. i make thai curries on occasions as i easily get the thai herbs and spices where i live. i have also posted 2 more veg thai curries:

the method for making thai red curry is same as the thai green curry. just instead of green chillies, red chillies are added to the curry. it is spicy and is a great combination with thai lemon grass rice or even with steamed fragrant rice, like jasmine rice or basmati rice. i have even served thai curry with a fragrant variety of rice from maharashtra called as ambe mohar rice (rice having the aroma of mango blossoms).

when making thai food at home, its best to use authentic thai herbs like – galangalkaffir lime leaves, lemon grass stalks and thai basil. all these four herbs cannot cannot be substituted if you want the authentic original thai taste and flavor.

you can compromise on the taste and use ginger in place of galangal and lemon zest in place of kaffir lime leaves. however, the taste and flavors change considerably. since i have made thai curries with substitutes when living in goa, i know this fact.

you can use italian basil instead of thai basil. but do note that thai basil has a delicate aroma as compared to italian basil which is more aromatic. i have given below the substitutes in the notes section of the recipe card.

i have also divided the step by step pictorial into two main parts.

    • first one is making thai red curry paste
    • and second one is making thai red curry.

serve veg thai red curry with a fragrant steamed rice like jasmine rice or basmati rice.

few more popular curry recipes on blog are:

thai red curry

5 from 3 votes
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:25 mins
Total Time:40 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:thai,world
Calories: 280kcal
Servings (change the number to scale):4
spicy and tasty veg thai red curry recipe. tastes awesome with plain steamed rice.

INGREDIENTS FOR thai red curry

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

for the thai red curry paste

  • 2 to 3 bird's eye chilies - red colored
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1 inch galangal
  • 4 to 5 small garlic cloves or 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots or pearl onions
  • 2 to 3 medium sized kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 lemon grass stalks
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon naturally fermented soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest - optional
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk or water

for the thai red curry

  • 2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil or coconut oil
  • 2 cups chopped mix vegetables
  • 1.5 cups water or add as required
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk - 250 ml
  • 1 tablespoon chopped or torn thai basil leaves
  • salt as required - optional
  • ¼ teaspoon palm sugar or unrefined cane sugar - optional

HOW TO MAKE thai red curry

making thai red curry paste

  • take the following spices – 2 to 3 bird’s eye chilies, 2 dry red chillies, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns.
  • also rinse, peel and roughly chop the following herbs – 1 inch galangal (chopped), 4 to 5 small garlic cloves or 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves (chopped), 2 shallots (chopped), 2 to 3 medium kaffir lime leaves (chopped) and 2 lemon grass stalks (chopped).
  • take the spices, herbs, shallots in a grinder jar.
  • add 1 teaspoon naturally fermented soya sauce, ½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional) and 2 tablespoon coconut milk or water. also add salt as per taste.
  • while grinding, scrape the sides and continue to grind. grind to a fine or semi-fine paste. 

making thai red curry

  • in a pot or pan, heat 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil or coconut oil. keep flame to a low. add the prepared thai red curry paste.
  • sauté for a minute on a low flame stirring often.
  • add 2 cups chopped veggies including white button mushrooms. you can add your choice of vegetables. stir and mix everything.
  • now add ½ cup thick coconut milk. mix again. keep flame to a low.
  • now add 1.5 cups water or add as required. mix again. since salt was added in the thai curry paste, it need not be added. but do check the taste of the curry later and if required you can add more salt.

cooking thai red curry

  • cover the pan with its lid. increase the flame to medium or a medium-low. simmer the curry till the vegetables are cooked.
  • in between do check when the veggies are cooking. if water dries up, you can add more water.
  • when the vegetables are cooked and tender, then reduce the flame to a low and add ½ cup thick coconut milk. at this step you can also add ¼ teaspoon palm sugar or unrefined cane sugar. addition of sugar is optional and can be skipped.
  • mix very well and let the entire thai red curry come to a boil on a low or medium-low flame. lastly add 1 tablespoon chopped or torn thai basil leaves. mix and switch off flame. check the taste of thai red curry and if required you can add some salt.
  • serve the thai red curry hot with lemon grass rice or a plain steamed basmati rice or jasmine rice. you can garnish veg thai red curry with basil leaves while serving.

NOTES

*substitutes for the thai herbs:
- galangal: use ginger instead
- kaffir lime leaves: add lime leaves or zest of lemon instead
- thai chilies: substitute fresh red chilies or dry red chilies
- shallots: use small onions instead
- thai basil: italian basil leaves can be used
- lemon grass: no substitute. at the most, you could just do away with the zest of lemon.
- if using ready store brought thai red curry paste, then add 3 to 4 tablespoons of it.
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how to make thai red curry

a) making thai red curry paste

1. take the following spices and keep them aside – 2 to 3 bird’s eye chilies, 2 dry red chillies, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns. the picture is only for illustration purpose.

making thai red curry recipe

2. also rinse, peel and roughly chop the following herbs – 1 inch galangal (chopped), 4 to 5 small garlic cloves or 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves (chopped), 2 shallots (chopped), 2 to 3 medium kaffir lime leaves (chopped) and 2 lemon grass stalks (chopped). the below picture is only for illustration purpose.

making thai red curry recipe

3. take the spices, herbs, shallots in a grinder jar.

making thai red curry recipe

4. add 1 teaspoon naturally fermented soya sauce, ½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional) and 2 tablespoon coconut milk or water. also add salt as per taste.

making thai red curry recipe

5. begin to grind. while grinding, scrape the sides and continue to grind. grind to a fine or semi fine paste.

making thai red curry recipe

6. i switched to another grinder jar as the first one was not doing a good job of grinding well.

making thai red curry recipe

making thai red curry

7. in a pot or pan, heat 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil or coconut oil. keep flame to a low. add the prepared thai red curry paste.

making thai red curry recipe

8. sauté for a minute on a low flame stirring often.

making thai red curry recipe

9. add 2 cups chopped veggies including white button mushrooms. you can add your choice of vegetables.

making thai red curry recipe

10. stir and mix everything.

making thai red curry recipe

11. now add ½ cup thick coconut milk.

making thai red curry recipe

12. mix again. keep flame to a low.

making thai red curry recipe

13. add 1.5 cups water or add as required. mix again. since salt was added in the thai curry paste, it need not be added. but do check the taste of the curry later and if required you can add more salt.

making thai red curry recipe

cooking thai red curry

14. cover the pan with its lid. increase the flame to medium or a medium-low. simmer the curry till the vegetables are cooked.

making thai red curry recipe

15. in between do check when the veggies are cooking. if water dries up, you can add more water.

making thai red curry recipe

16. when the vegetables are cooked and tender, then reduce the flame to a low and add ½ cup thick coconut milk. at this step you can also add ¼ teaspoon palm sugar or unrefined cane sugar. addition of sugar is optional and can be skipped.

making thai red curry recipe

17. mix very well and let the entire thai red curry come to a boil. lastly add 1 tablespoon chopped or torn thai basil leaves. mix and switch off flame. check the taste of thai red curry and if required you can add some salt.

thai red curry recipe

18. serve the veg red thai curry hot with lemon grass rice or a plain steamed basmati rice or jasmine rice. you can garnish thai red curry with basil leaves while serving.

veg thai red curry recipe

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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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38 comments/reviews

  1. Can I use small amount of grated coconut instead of coconut milk as –
    1) I don’t have coconut milk.
    2) My husband not too fond of coconut milk taste.

    • grated coconut won’t work in the recipe. coconut milk is an essential and important ingredient. so nothing can be substituted in place of that. a suggestion would be to grind half a cup of grated coconut with the rest of the spices, herbs and some water to a fine consistency. then saute the coconut paste for a minute or two stirring non-stop. add vegetables, water, salt. cover and cook till veggies are done. add water accordingly.

  2. Dassana, I am your secret admirer since the first recipe I tried from this site…Chole Masala.
    I have tried this thai recipe and many other recipes and keep coming back again and again to checkout something new.
    This time, I was happy to see a revised site that gives recipes as per number of people. Going to try the red Thai curry recipe this evening.
    Thanks for all your efforts of putting awesome recipes.5 stars

    • thanks a lot kavita. i am glad you commented. it does help for me to know if readers are liking the presentation and layout of the recipe. i am still working on the site and many changes will be implemented gradually. thanks again and wish you all the best.

  3. Hi Dassan,

    I loooove your blog and been following your recipes for a while now. I loved each one of your recipe that I tried, but this one blowed my mind away. It was perfect Thai curry and it made my husband fall in love with me all over again. Thank you. And keep the great recipes coming.5 stars

  4. This recipe looks amazing. I was wondering though, the instructions say to “add the shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes” But, I thought they were ground up in the paste. In the picture it looks like scallions or green onions being sautéed. Am I missing something, or hallucinating? Thanks!5 stars

    • thanks. you are not missing something or hallucinating 🙂 i forgot to mention spring onions. either shallots or spring onions can be added while sauteing.

  5. Hello Dassana..
    I simply love to make your recipes..
    I have suggestions about curdling..
    Add little corn flour to coconut milk.. this will solve the problem..
    Thanks

  6. I love your blog, it’s my go to website for all types of cuisine! I’m having one problem with this recipe… My sauce is curdling, what am I doing wrong?

  7. Hi, I am used to buying a Thai curry paste jar which would last me say a month or two, and I am now looking to try making this on my own. How long does a homemade curry paste keep? What can I do to increase its shelf life?

    • it won’t keep for very long as coconut milk is added while making the paste. just for a couple of days. thats it. if you make the paste without coconut milk, then the paste stays for a longer time. i would suggest to saute the paste in sesame oil or any oil, so that the shelf life is extended. generally raw pastes do not have a long shelf life. if the oil covers the paste completely, then the paste does not get spoiled. then when making the thai curry, you just add a bit of oil.

  8. Hi,
    Can you make this without the soy sauce? I am allergic to soy. If so, what would you use in its place? Thanks!

    • soy sauce does give its taste to thai curry. generally fish sauce or shrimp sauce is used. may be, just a suggestion you can add a bit of tamarind pulp. very little not much. just about 1/2 or 1 tsp of it.

  9. Tried this dish with readymade red Thai curry paste brought from a super store. Turned out good even without the kaffir leaves. Supplemented it with a few curry leaves.
    Realized that red capsicum & zucchini used would have been better tasting had I not boiled it along with other veggies and added directly to retain their crispness & flavor.
    Thanks for the procedure explained in such a simple way using pics.

  10. hi, i havent tried making veg thai dishes at home…. i googled and saw ur recipe..it seems v easy and simple… hopin to make it soon..btw with what do u eat this?

    • you have the thai red curry with rice. plain cooked basmati or jasmine rice goes very well with the thai curries. in fact you can have the curry with any good quality rice.

  11. c’d u plz tell me wht is galangal? my children luv thai curry n so i intend to cook it fr them. also where can i get kaffir lime leaves from?

    • galangal is a root from the ginger family. it is not at all like ginger. it has a very strong taste and flavor.

      you can read more about galangal on my post here – galangal tea

      in thai cooking they use a lot of galangal. instead of galangal you can add ginger. the thai curry will not be an authentic thai curry but still very good to taste. when i shifted here, i would not get galangal or kaffir lime leaves. so i started making the thai curry with ginger, lime zest (grated rind of lime), lemon grass and regular italian basil leaves.

      fresh kaffir lime leaves would be not easy to get. you can though buy dry kaffir lime leaves, but they are expensive. if you stay in indian metros like mumbai or delhi than you can get the dry kaffir leaves in super stores. in bangalore i would get all the thai and european fresh veggie stuff from the namdhari’s stores.

  12. Hi Dasssan,

    I plan to make the Thai red curry paste, can you tell me ready made which one to buy ? to get the exact thai taste

    • dear janet, i have never bought ready made thai curry paste. i have seen some thai brands, but never bought them. its better to make the paste at home.

      since you plan to buy, you can ask the store people about the brand or just have a look at the ingredients gone into the product, which country the product is made, the packaging etc, date of manufacture and expiry date. this is how i buy when i buy things or goods which i have never brought before.

      • Thanks Dassana….i better make the paste at home… Ready made is too much of TDS i think

  13. One of the best presentation with pictures which will help any body to understand how it will look at each step of the preparation.
    Thanks.