This delicious Thai Red Curry recipe is both vegetarian and vegan. It is packed full of bright flavors and hearty vegetables. If you have a can of coconut milk at the ready, this recipe will come together very quickly and will deliver a ton of flavor.
Take the spices and set aside– bird’s eye chilies, dry red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns.
Also rinse, peel and roughly chop the following herbs – galangal, garlic cloves, shallots (chopped), kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass stalks.
Take the spices, herbs, shallots in a grinder jar.
Add soy sauce, lemon zest (optional) and 2 tablespoon water or coconut milk. Also add salt.
While grinding, scrape the sides and continue to grind. Grind to a fine or semi-fine paste.
In a pot or pan, heat the toasted sesame oil or coconut oil. Keep heat to a low. Add the prepared thai red curry paste.
Sauté for a minute on a low flame stirring often.
Add the 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 heat to a low.
Next add water. 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.
For a thicker consistency in the curry, add less water.
Cover the pan with its lid. Increase the heat to medium or a medium-low. Simmer the curry till the vegetables are cooked and tender. Keep them slightly al dente if you prefer.
In between do check when the veggies are cooking. If water dries up, you can add more water.
Making thai red curry
When the vegetables are cooked and tender, then reduce the heat to a low and add ½ cup thick coconut milk. At this step you can also add ¼ teaspoon palm sugar or raw sugar. Addition of sugar is optional and can be skipped. For a bit more sweet taste, increase the amount of sugar.
Mix very well and let the entire curry come to a gentle boil on a low or medium-low heat. Lastly, add 1 tablespoon chopped or torn thai basil leaves. Mix and switch off the heat. Check the taste of curry and if required you can add some salt.
Serve the thai red curry hot with lemongrass rice or plain steamed basmati rice or jasmine rice. You can garnish it with basil leaves while serving.
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 or pearl onions instead
Thai basil: Italian basil leaves can be used
Lemon grass: There is no substitute. But 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.
For a spicy Thai curry, increase the number of bird's eye chillies or use dried red chillies that are spicy and hot.
Swap coriander seeds with 1 teaspoon ground coriander. Similarly, use 1 teaspoon ground cumin instead of cumin seeds.
You can use coconut cream, but add water as needed to get the consistency you prefer.
The recipe can be easily scaled to small portion of the curry or a big batch.
The Thai curry paste recipe is also scalable. Make a large portion and freeze it.