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Green Chicken Curry - Curry vert au poulet

We haven't had curry for a quite some time now... so I decided to cook something different. I have been wanting to try my hands at cooking green curry for years, well, ever since I got this cook book from my ex colleague but I never really dared to try it... when I see the (long) list of ingredients - I usually chicken out. So this time, I was determined to do it and satisfy my hunger pangs for green curry.:-)

In Thai cuisine, curries are a paste used in meat, fish or vegetable dishes. They use local ingredients such as chili peppers, Kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Galangal and coconut milk, and as a result tend to be more aromatic than Indian curries. Thai curries are often described by colour; red curries use red chilis while green curries use green chilis, and yellow is closer to the Indian one.

Home-made curry pastes have of course more flavour than prepackaged. As such I decided to make my own paste and write this recipe is in two parts: first the green curry paste itself, then the Green Chicken Curry.

Green Curry Paste
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp dried shrimp paste (pâte de crevette)
  • 8 large fresh green chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup French shallots, chopped
  • 5 cm fresh galangal (peeled and pounded or chopped)
  • 12 small cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves (feuilles de Combava), chopped
  • 3 stems lemon grass (citronnelle), white part only - finely chopped
  • 2 tsp grated lime rind
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
Directions
  1. Place the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan and heat for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan constantly.
  2. Place the roasted spices and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or clean coffee grinder and work them until they are finely ground.
  3. Wrap the shrimp paste in a small amount of foil and cook under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes, turning the package twice.
  4. Process the grounded spices and shrimp paste in a food processor for 5 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and process for 20 seconds at a time, scrapping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula each time, until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
  5. You'll get approximately 1 cup of curry paste.
Green curry chilli
Note

Fresh green curry paste will keep for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Alternatively, place tablespoonful in an ice-cube tray, cover and freeze for several hours; then store the cubes in a freezer bag and use them when required. Allow to defrost for 30 minutes at room temperature before using. Frozen paste will keep for up to 4 months.

For this paste, I didn't have coriander nor cumin seeds, so I used grounded ones instead - the same for the black pepper. I also run out of French shallots so I used 2 French shallots and 1 medium size onion. As for the green chillies, I used only 4 as you can see they are extremely big. If you are not used to spiciness, use 6 instead of 8 and also remove the inside core to lessen the spiciness.

I also couldn't find kaffir leaves so I substituted them with 1 tbsp of kaffir lime zests (equals to about 6 kaffir leaves). Another alternative is to use 1 tbsp of lime zests. Note that fresh Kaffir leaves can be frozen, while dried leaves are much less flavourful, so use twice as many as the recipe calls for if you're substituting them for fresh leaves.

Green curry paste
Green Chicken Curry

(taken from Thai Cooking)

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1½ cups or 375 ml coconut milk
  • ½ cup or 125 ml water
  • 500 g chicken thigh, fillets (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 100 g green beans (cut into short pieces)
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves (feuilles de Combava)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (nuoc-mâm)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lime rind
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a wok or a heavy-based pan. Add onions and green curry paste to the wok and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the coconut milk and water to the wok and bring to boil.
  3. Add the chicken pieces, beans and kaffir lime leaves to the wok; stir to combine.
  4. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  5. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and rind, and brown sugar to the wok; stir to combine.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves just before serving. Serve with steamed rice.
Green chicken curry ingredients
The Verdict

I didn't know what to expect actually, while cooking this curry, the aroma of kaffir lime and coconut flavour filled the whole house... very delightful and mouthwatering.

The chicken curry turned out pretty delicious I must say (a pat on my own back). For the first time, I'm actually satisfied with my own curry.:-) The verdict from Pierre : Nice, fragrant. He likes it. It is spicy but not overly spicy.

I must say that although the long list of ingredients to make this curry (especially the green curry paste) looks daunting, it is rather simple, just put everything into the food processor and let it do the work for you.

Note

Chicken thigh fillets are sweet in flavour and a very good texture for curries. You can use breast fillets instead if you prefer. Do not overcook fillets or they will be tough.

I replaced kaffir leaves and lime zests with kaffir lime zests like I did with my paste. Trying not to waste, I used the kaffir lime juice instead of lime. And I used brown sugar instead of soft brown sugar (I didn't have any of that in my cupboard).

Many of the above ingredients can be tricky to find in western countries, but I have had good success finding them in local Asian groceries.

Green chicken curry currie vert au poulet
17 comments.
#1, by Keropokman (06/23/2007)

I like Green Curry!
2 weeks ago was in Bangkok! Ate like mad, including all the diff curries. Yellow curry is my fav!

#2, by aria (06/23/2007)

this confirms my need to feed on green curry, this recipe looks delicious.

i just made a yellow fish curry, this looks goooot!

#3, by JennDZ - The Leftover Queen (06/23/2007)

Now that is impressive! Making your own green curry paste!

#4, by tyree white (06/23/2007)

I tell you what, it sure activates the tastes buds.

#5, by wokandspoon (06/24/2007)

Great job. I'm usually too lazy to make my own green curry paste and end up buying it!

#6, by The Cooking Ninja (06/24/2007)

@JennDZ & wokandspoon: Now that I have made it. I can tell you that it's not that troublesome or difficult to make. The recipe above lets you make a big bowl of green curry paste (approx 7 rounds of curry) and you only need a 2-3 tbsp of it for 1 curry of 4. The rest you can freeze and use it whenever you want curry again.:-)

#7, by tigerfish (06/24/2007)

I like Thai Green Curry too. The ingredients for making the paste sure looks daunting but just because I won't be buying so much spices/herbs and storing them :O ...
This really goes well with steamed rice...very drool-worthy.

#8, by Kelly Mahoney (06/24/2007)

Do you eat it like a soup then?

#9, by The Cooking Ninja (06/24/2007)

@Kelly Mahoney: No, it is more of a gravy. We like to spread the gravy over our rice. But some prefer to have the gravy by the side of their rice and not on top of it.

#10, by The Cooking Ninja (06/24/2007)

@tigerfish: If you are living near me, I would have gladly made a batch for you to store in your freezer.:-)

#11, by ming the merciless (06/24/2007)

I have to admit, Thai green curry is one of my favorite curries ever. I can eat that for days.

#12, by Little Corner of Mine (06/24/2007)

You are so hardworking, making your own curry paste! But the end result sure looks darn good though!:-)

#13, by Olivier (06/25/2007)

alors là, je fonds, j'adore ça. je vais noter et essayer de faire (mais je suis pas tres tres tres doue pour la cuisine). Ton site, un paradis pour les gourmands


then there, I melt, I adore that. I will note and try to make (but I am not very very very endows for the kitchen). Your site, a paradise for the greedy ones

#14, by Judy (06/25/2007)

Thanks for dropping by my blog. You taught me something new....bourdin blanc. Do you live in France?
Anyway, this recipe looks absolutely delicious. I might try it one day when I manage to get all the fresh ingredients.

#15, by Stella (06/26/2007)

Hi! thanks for visiting my blog!
Your green curry paste looks really good & authentic, I'm taking note of your recipe!
btw, you've made a fantastic tarte tatin!!:)

#16, by The Cooking Ninja (06/27/2007)

@Oliver: Merci pour votre compliment.:-) Ce n'est pas trop difficile a faire cette cuisine. Je ne suis pas très doué pour la cuisine non plus. J'ai commercé à cuisiner seulement depuis 2003.

@Judy: I'm originally from Singapore but I have been living in France for about 5 1/2 years now.

@Stella: Thanks:-)

#17, by eat me, delicious (06/28/2007)

Wow okay you do make it seem easy to make your own green curry paste! I am definitely bookmarking this page.:-) And I love all the notes you wrote about what you can do to replace things. I had no idea you could substitute lime zest for the lime leaves. The only thing that might cause a problem for me is the shrimp paste, since I'm vegetarian. Any suggestion for what I could replace it with? I'm not sure how crucial of an ingredient it is to get the right taste for curry.

Thanks for stopping by my blog (and directing me here so I will try making my own curry paste!)