Red curry was the very first Thai dish I ever tried, and I’ve never really been able to get enough of it. I decided years ago that it was something I absolutely had to learn how to make at home, but it ended up taking a lot of trial and error.
My husband and his tastebuds grew up in Thailand, but he didn’t learn to cook much of the food. We’ve loved learning to cook Thai food together through plenty of experimentation. When I attempt a dish, he gives me some feedback on what might improve it because he knows what tastes right to him.
Red curry took a little more experimenting than some of the stir fry dishes we’ve tried. (More on those in a later post–they’re delicious!) My first attempt to make curry was actually using a slow cooker while I lived in a dorm room, but I wasn’t a fan of how it turned out. I lacked knowledge of a few key ingredients, and the flavors didn’t really come through. The second attempt tasted not unlike hot mayonnaise, but thanks to Oliver’s input and a few tricks we learned, the third time was a charm!
The most important trick I’ve picked up on to make this curry work for us is patience. Curry is made up of bold flavors, and they develop much better if they’re allowed plenty of time. So take it slowly! Another thing that makes an epic curry is BASIL. Add a few handfuls of leaves a couple minutes before taking it off the heat.
Lastly, pay attention to the curry paste you’re using. If you’re using an American brand like Thai Kitchen, found in the average grocery store, you will need to use more of it than if you were using a Thai brand. The Thai brands you can pick up at an Asian market tend to deliver much more heat! It won’t take nearly as much curry paste before your tongue is begging for relief from the fire you set to it. You’ve been warned.
Let me also give you a quick disclaimer that I won’t claim authenticity in this recipe (or any “international” recipes, for that matter). I was never actually taught how to cook a real Thai curry, and I don’t have access to the exact ingredients available in Thailand, which means this is by no means “just like the real thing.” I will, however, claim that we really like it! Oliver approves of it, which is good enough for me. If you’d like to trust us, jump in and give it a shot!
If you try this Red Curry with Veggies at home, I’d love to hear what you think! Share pictures with me on social media by tagging @thesavvyplate on Instagram or by mentioning my page The Savvy Plate Blog on Facebook!
Red Curry with Veggies
This bold and flavorful curry recipe is full of vegetables and comes together in about 30 minutes, making it a great choice for a weeknight dinner.
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1-3 tbsp red curry paste (depending on the brand**)
- 13.5 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 green bell pepper (cut into chunks)
- 1 zucchini (sliced into 1/2" thick semi-circles)
- 8 oz. mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp fish sauce
- handful fresh basil leaves
- jasmine rice and fresh lime juice for serving
Heat oil in a deep frying pan on low. Add curry paste and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Add 2 tbsp of coconut milk to pan with curry. If your can of coconut milk has settled and separated, use the thick cream at the top for this step. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add sugar, fish sauce, and salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring and making sure the sugar does not stick to the pan and burn.
Add chopped veggies, and slowly add in remaining coconut milk.
Bring to a simmer and cook until veggies soften, allowing at least 10-15 minutes for flavors to intensify. Add basil in the last 2-3 minutes before serving.
Serve with jasmine rice and lime wedges.
**Depending on the brand of curry paste you use and the level of spice you can tolerate, you could end up needing anywhere from 1 to 3 tablespoons of curry paste. If you're using an American brand like Thai Kitchen (offered in several grocery stores), you'll likely find that it's much less spicy than the more authentic curry pastes you'll find at an Asian market.