Gaeng Het

Thai Mushroom Curry


Mushrooms are often touted to be the ‘meat’ among vegetables, because of their firm, chewy texture and naturally savoury flavour. In the street food category, you’ll find two versions of this curry—one made rich with coconut cream, and another without. This simple but hearty curry will satisfy even the appetite of a hardcore meat lover.


  • 6 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 500 g fresh oyster mushrooms
  • cups (435 ml) water
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 stalk polygonum leaves
  • 10 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coconut cream, mixed with 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Curry Paste

  • 4 green chillies
  • 20 bird’s eye chillies
  • 8 shallots, peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 coriander roots
  • 1 small kaffir lime, grated for zest
  • teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, ends trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1-cm knob galangal, peeled and sliced
  • 1-cm piece dried prawn paste (gapi), roasted and crumbled


  1. Prepare the curry paste. Using a mortar and pestle or blender, pound or process the ingredients into a fine paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok and add the curry paste. Stir-fry until the curry paste is fragrant.
  3. Add the mushrooms and water. Bring to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the kaffir lime leaves, polygonum leaves and bird’s eye chillies. Mix well.
  5. Add the coconut cream, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Stir to mix, then lower the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes. Dish out and serve hot with rice.