Jan 23, 2013

Any Day Coconut Curry

We love curry in our house. Thai curry to be specific. Thai curry is typically more mild than your average Indian curry. By mild I don't necessarily mean it has less heat, but the spices are less powerful. Coconut milk is used as the liquid which also serves to mellow out the curry a bit. My favorite versions are usually lightly sweetened. If you have only ever tried Indian curry and you think you don't like curry, I encourage you to try this recipe. Start out with less curry powder if you are new to the curry realm.

Curry powder is just a name for a blend of spices that is typically used in South Asia. There are various blends of curry powders, but to the undiscerning Western palate, they all work great in this dish. In Thai cuisine there is green curry (made with green chilies), red curry (made with red chilies) and yellow curry (made with turmeric). Most curry powders get their bright yellow hue from tumeric. My recipe here would be considered a yellow curry.

Thai coconut curry is a good example of a traditional food that is very nutritious. I am glad it is becoming more popular in the United States. Though my version my not necessarily be authentic, the spirit if the dish remains the same and the meat, curry, coconut milk, and veggies offer many nutritional benefits.

A few notes about the recipe:

Because most curry recipes call for unusual or hard-to-find ingredients I have spent some time working on this recipe to achieve a sauce that tastes very close to something you'd find at a restaurant, but uses every-day ingrediants. I've also including many meat and veggie options so no matter what you have on hand any day of the week,  you should be able to make this sauce. Because of the versatility of this dish, however, the recipe may seem a bit confusing. I tried to explain everything as clearly as possible, but I do suggest you read through everything a couple times before making the meal.

What kind of curry powder you use does not matter. The cheapest option available at your grocery store will work fine.

Curry is usually served over rice. I love it over brown Jasmine rice personally. I have also eaten it over lightly steamed Normandy blend frozen vegetables when trying to lose weight. Eating it over veggies would also work well for someone on a grain-free or Paleo diet.

Any Day Coconut Curry

Step 1. Marinate meat.
Step 2. Saute veggies and cooked meat, if using
Step 3. Saute marinated meat.
Step 4. Heat and combine curry paste.
Step 5. Mix everything back together, adding sauce ingredients.

Step 1. Marinate meat.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or approximately 1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped raw chicken, or about 1 lb thinly sliced beef or meat of your choice
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground, or freshly grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 Tablespoon corn starch or arrowroot starch, optional. (This will make the sauce thicker later. You can also use about 1 Tablespoon coconut flour, but add this later in the recipe.)

Mix all ingredients together in a container with a cover and allow to marinated in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

(I usually make a big batch of this meat and marinade when boneless-skinlesss chicken breasts are on sale. I divide the chicken into meal-sized ziplocks and put them in the freezer to use at my conveinince. This saves a lot of time and makes for a quick and delicious supper later on.)

For already cooked met use 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked chicken, beef, or meat of choice, or 1/2 to 1 pound smoked sausage. Skip the marinating part.

Step 2. Saute veggies.

1 Tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 - 2 cups sliced or coarsely chopped vegetables such as bell peppers (I usually use one bell pepper), zucchini or summer squash, eggplant, or thinly sliced carrots. I have even used frozen green beans and shredded kale stirred in later on.

In a medium skillet melt the coconut oil or butter and saute veggies until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. If using cooked meat you can add it at this time.

If using marinated meat, remove the veggies and keep warm in a covered bowl. If using cooked meat proceed to step 4.

Step 3: Saute marinated meat.

In the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter. Add the marinated meat and saute over medium to medium high heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Some of the meat juices may stick to the bottom of the pan, but don't worry about it. These will be lifted after you mix in the coconut milk.

Step 4. Make homemade curry paste.
In a small saucepan combine the following ingredients and heat just till it boils, stirring constantly.
Photo credit.

2 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter
2-3 teaspoons curry powder (start out with the lesser amount if you are new to curry or don't like your spices quite as strong)
1 teaspoon ginger powder or grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper powder, optional, (I love chipotle) if you like more heat.

Step 5. Mix everything together adding sauce.

1 can coconut milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole cane sugar, regular sugar, real maple syrup or 2 packets (2 tsp) stevia

1/4 cup finely chopped basil, if desired.

Stir coconut milk into your skillet with the meat. Add the salt, sweetener, and homemade curry paste. Stir over medium heat until well combined and beginning to boil, scraping bottom to lift off any meat particles that may have stuck. Add the veggies and the basil, if using (adds great Thai flavor!). Serve right away as the heat of the sauce will continue to cook the veggies until they are very limp, which you don't want!

Serve over brown Jasmine or Basmati rice, steamed Normandy blend vegetables (for a low carb or paleo option), or rice of your choice.

Preparation and cook time: 20 minutes to prepare and marinate meat, about 25 minutes to assemble and cook the recipe. Serves: about 4.


  1. We have made your recipe a bunch of times and it is very good. We normally don't have time to really marinate anything, but it comes out fine anyway. We have made it with all sorts of different meats. Tyler likes Jamaican Curry. It does seem spicy. Where do you find Thai Curry? I have not seen it at the grocery stores that we frequent.

  2. I am glad this recipe has been a hit! Even if you don't have time to marinate, I think it still enhances the flavor to toss the meat in the marinate before cooking. But whatever works for you guys!

    I was able to find actual Thai curry powder at Earth Fare.

  3. This looks SO DELICIOUS!!!! I can't wait to go to the grocery store and stock up so I can make this!
    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday.

  4. I'm definitely going to try making this here in Cambodia! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Yum--this looks so wonderful! I spent some time in Thailand in high school, and I waitressed in a Thai restaurant through college. Thai food is one of my absolute favorite culinary choices, and one thing I actually crave during pregnancy.

    The Thai restaurant I waitressed at used to feed me and my boyfriend (now husband) at least three times a week (the authentic stuff, not the American versions they put on the menu ;). Because of this, my husband was very spoiled with authentic Thai, Chinese, and Laosian food, and less than thrilled with my less authentic versions. Recently I've been experimenting more with Asian dishes, and this one is definitely next on my list to try.


    1. I think you'll really like this recipe, Eryn. It's the closest I could get to tasting like authentic Thai curry using every-day ingredients.

  6. I've made this several times and it is now pinned as one of my favorite recipes! I love curry of all kinds but do have a penchant for Asian food having lived in Okinawa, Japan as a child. If you have not already tried this, you definitely should. I usually just stick to tri-color peppers and onions but this time I added green peppers and some frozen green beans. Looking forward to trying it with kale.