Today we feature Thailand’s most popular meal, or so it seems, given it is almost certainly on every Thai restaurant menu. Green curry with chicken is the quintessential Thai dish. Slightly sweet, coconut milk and coconut cream blends brilliantly with our own Thai green curry paste as the base. It is just a matter of adding some sliced chicken, vegetables, a few other odds and ends and you are there!
Vegetarian? No problem, just omit the chicken and use mushrooms, tofu or some other vegetables instead. Because the Thai green curry paste has such great “attitude” it will provide a great base for vegetable curries. Beef, pork and fish are other popular choices with Thai green curry paste, so there are plenty of options there.
We also discuss some of the other, popular Thai curries. What’s your favorite? Red? Yellow? Massaman? Or is green your preference?
Read on to find out more about these classic, Thai curries.
Thai Curry Pastes
I suspect almost every Thai restaurant in the world offers green curry chicken, beef, fish and vegetables, as well as red curry chicken, beef, fish and vegetables. Some would also offer pork. But what are the relative merits of the most popular Thai curries? Today we provide some information on that subject.
What makes Thai curries so different is their use of coconut milk (originated in central Thailand). There is little doubt that this mellows out most of the heat from the curry pastes and delivers thickened, creamy and a slightly sweet taste. Harmony is important in Thai cooking. On the Thai chili heat scale, green is hotter than red and short is hotter than long.
Red curry is certainly milder than green curry. One source I discovered, suggested that it is the most popular Thai curry. I make my red curry with long, dried red chilies which have been re-hydrated and seeded. Coconut milk is used in this preparation.
Yellow curry contains many of the component spices you might find in some Indian curries, think turmeric, cumin, coriander and cinnamon (there are many others). Most often this curry is served with coconut cream and coconut milk. It is often served with duck, shrimp and fish.
Massaman curry is a Thai Muslim curry steeped in history. There is competing conjecture as to the origin of this curry. Massaman curry is most commonly made with beef and potato, but can also be made with duck, tofu and chicken. It is of mild taste and slightly sour (in a good way).
Green curry is likely the hottest of the major Thai curries but it’s impact is mellowed out by the use of the coconut milk. In Thai the word for green curry means “sweet green” but the sweet refers to the color not to the taste!
And so onto our recipe.
Green Curry with Chicken and Eggplants
One of the unheralded delights of this dish is the use of small, Thai eggplants. They are slightly bitter and provide great contrast in the dish. I used two different types. One type was the size of a golf ball. (You can see these in the nearby picture). The second type was about the size of a pea and I cooked those whole. (Check out the ingredients picture further down the post.)
If you live near an Asian grocer, I urge you to investigate. Often times they stock many of the fresh vegetables and herbs that will give your Asian cooking such a lift and you won’t believe how much better the food tastes when you use the traditional ingredients. If you can’t find Thai eggplant, then use the common eggplants we see in the West.
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Other Asian Dishes with Some Warmth
Do you enjoy some spice in your diet? You might try these recipes, also on Compass & Fork:
You can’t go wrong with our most popular, curry dish on Compass & Fork. Fish Amok is the national dish of Cambodia for good reason.