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Albuquerque Innsights

Former New Mexico innkeeper knows secrets and tells anyone who will listen.

Thai Red Curry Chicken Recipe – the real thing!

I have seen many Thai Red Curry Chicken, (Gaeng Ped Gai) recipes online and I have to tell you all… anyone who offers you a “quick and easy” way to make this traditional Thai dish is NOT giving you a real recipe. While the Red Curry Chicken recipe I have is easy, it is NOT quick because making red curry paste, fish sauce and coconut milk into a proper curry takes time and patience, not ten minutes. This will take 40 minutes or more total prep and cooking time.

Thai Red Curry Chichen

Thai Red Curry Chicken is a very colorful and aromatic meal.

My husband and I have run this recipe by a Thai chef and he said it was exactly right except for the fact that we used too much chicken. We laughed and told him we like chicken and were not running a restaurant. I could call it Southwest Thai Red Curry Chicken because I use local jalapeños that come right out of our Albuquerque Bed and Breakfast garden instead of Thai or serrano chilis. That’s about as southwest as you can get! Serves six with big appetites.

Thai Red Curry Chicken Ingredients
1 1/2 lb chicken breast
boned, skinned and cut into 1″ pieces

2 1/2 cups chicken stock/broth

2 1/2 cups coconut milk or  2 – 14 oz (400ml) cans (NOT Coco Lopez cream of coconut as used in piña coladas)

Cubed Chicken

2 cups sweet or Thai basil, leaves and a few buds only – not stems

1 or 2 medium size red bell peppers (capsicum) cut into 1″ cubes


2 medium to large size jalapeños peppers, sliced very thin

1 / 8  or 10 oz can bamboo shoots

2 to 3 tbsp prepared Thai red curry paste – more is hotter!

2 1/2 tsp fish sauce

3 tbsp sugar

2 big lime tree leaves, torn or cut with a serrated knife into 1/4″ strips (Kaffir lime leaves are preferred, but since I can never find them we have our own lime tree – more like a bush – that we pilfer leaves from and they work just fine.)

red curry sauce

Pools of red colored oil will form in the sauce

Have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go...

Par boil the cut chicken in the stock (ad some water if you need to cover it), for just a minute or two and remove from water and set aside, reserving the liquid.

Combine curry paste, fish sauce, sugar and one cup of the coconut milk in a wok. (If you are lucky…the coconut milk has been on the shelf long enough to condense thick at one end of the can, and if so use that for this step! The thicker, the better).

Bring to a boil and reduce over a medium-high heat. Scrape sides and mash the curry so it mixed well into the rest of the ingredients. Don’t let it stick to the bottom of the pan. It should become a thick, darkened, pasty consistency after about 15 minutes. Pockets of reddish oil will begin to form, (see picture), but if this doesn’t happen after 15 minutes add  a few tbsp of the reserved stock and reduce some more. Repeat if necessary.

Cook for 10 or so minutes at medium-high stirring and scraping so not to stick to the wok, and then add the remaining coconut milk and a 1/2 cup of the reserved stock.

Thai Red Curry Ingredients

Thai Red Curry Ingredients

Red Bells and Jalapeños

Red Bells cubed and Jalapeños sliced

Just before it boils again add the chicken and cook for a few minutes so chicken is cooked through. Next stir in the bell peppers and jalapeño and bamboo shoots, cooking for a just a few minutes longer so the peppers are no longer raw but a little al dente.

Thai Basil

Thai Basil

Remove the wok from heat and add lime leaves and basil, stir in and serve immediately over cooked Thai basmati rice. I cook about four cups and that is just about perfect for this much Red Curry Chicken.

I have used this exact recipe for Green Chicken Curry, (using Green Curry Paste), and have also substituted shrimp for the chicken, still utilizing the chicken stock. I have been meaning to try the Shrimp Green Curry using clam juice instead of chicken stock for a more exotic seafood taste, and when I do I’ll let you know if that works out. Some people and restaurants use eggplant and pineapple in this mix too, but I can’t find really good eggplant that often and I don’t like the consistency of pineapple in this particular dish. To each his own, I guess.

Enjoy!!! I certainly do.

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17 Responses to “Thai Red Curry Chicken Recipe – the real thing!”

  1. Frances says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! There’s a thai restaurant in Beverly Hills where we order our red curry and I swear this recipe is exactly like their red curry! My co-workers can attest to it and they even requested me to bring this for Thanksgiving potluck. They absolutely love this. Thank you so very much again!

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  3. chad pillai says:

    In the ingredients it says two and a half cup of chicken stock BUT in the cooking process it says to add only half cup of chicken stock. What should we do with the other two cup of chicken stock. I am planning to cook this recipe this weekend please reply sooooooooooooooooooon. THANKS.

    • adobenido says:

      You use it all…recipe says…
      “Par boil the cut chicken in the stock (ad some water if you need to cover it), for just a minute or two and remove from water and set aside, reserving the liquid.”

      so, after you add a half cup of this leftover stock later on you can save whats left for…chicken soup maybe? You probably missed the part about cooking the chicken in the stock. I hope it turns out well for you!

  4. Pete says:

    Can I sub lime leaves with lime zest or juice? Thanks

    • adobenido says:

      I wouldn’t use either, but perhaps a few thinly sliced lime skins would do the trick, minus most of the pith. It is a subtle flavor in the background, so don’t over do it.

  5. Diane says:

    I am making this once again for some friends tonight. I tried a lot of curry recipes to duplicate the wonderful curry at my favorite restaurant. This might be better! I have made it 7 times for different guests and they all agree that this is the BEST Thai Curry recipe on the internet. Thank you so much for the recipe. A BTW, I’m trying your Stuffed Poblano recipe tomorrow even tho I think I already make KILLER Fresh Shrimp and Pepper Jack Stuffed Poblanos!
    Cordova AK

    • adobenido says:

      Diane – you just made my day. And I want your recipe for poblanos. Can you send it to me?

  6. Matt says:

    Why do you par boil the chicken? It seems like an odd step.

    • adobenido says:

      Sometimes the oily pockets don’t form and if you add in some of the juice from the par boiled chicken it helps. It also speeds up the process to par boil.

  7. Evan & Kevin says:

    What a delicious recipe! My son and I made this for my wife and her friend tonight, and everyone thought it was as good as our favorite local Thai restuarant. We used the Jalapenos, and next time will add Zuchini. We added lemon grass, as well. It’s good to put it in sort of early so it can loosen and give it’s flavor before serving. THANK YOU for sharing such a yummy and simple to cook meal. Bon Appetito’

  8. Don says:

    I was raised in Thailand and can attest to the author’s claim that this recipe is authentic. While I am sure it is delicious, I have never tried it on Basmati as you have here (Thai people use Jasmine rice). But I have served it over medium grain rice (Like that used in Japan and Korea – which tends to stick together) which is used in Northern Thailand.

  9. Tressa R says:

    I made this tonight for my siblings who all LOVE Thai Read Curry Chicken, and are all very harsh critics. They could not stop eating it! 🙂

    My red curry paste had enough heat that I didn’t add any jalapenos/chilies. I also added some zucchini, carrots and red onion to the vegetables and added some chopped cilantro to the herbs. It was beyond good!

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! Better than any restaurant Thai food I have tried…and I have tried a lot. 🙂

  10. Kim Porter says:

    Honestly, the closest thing to restaurant quality curry I’ve EVER had. I substituted shrimp, and didn’t have any kaffir lime leaves. Do you know you can freeze these FOREVER and they don’t turn brown? Unfortunately, I was out… Thanks so much for a fabulous recipe!

  11. aileen sutter says:

    I have made about 4 different variations on the “Red Curry Chicken” theme. All of them good. This Beats them all!! The additional time it takes to meld the curry at the beginning is so worth it: much richer and fuller flavor! My Family was stunned at how good this was (they are my tasters from all trials!). Kafir lime leaves a must! Look for dried ones in specialty stores or Asian markets…I guarantee you will be amazed that the “missing” nuance is found. I hope you have other great recipes…

    Loved it!!!

  12. TT says:

    Thanks for making this for me. It was fantastic! Rol, just say, “thank you”. It truly was. I’ll bring the lime leaves anytime…

  13. Evelyn says:

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe!! This was my 1st time making it and it came out absolutely delicious! I received lots of compliments on how yummy it was! This was as close a recipe that I could find for what I was looking for. Out of 5 stars this recipe gets 7 stars!

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

    -Evelyn, from Sunny San Diego 🙂

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