Thai Curry Model

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:



Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

This basic model can be used for seafood, poultry, red meat, or vegetables. Meats, poultry, and seafood can be browned first or simply simmered directly with the stew’s liquid ingredients. Poultry, seafood, and tender cuts of meat can be quickly stir-fried or sautéed before they are simmered in the curry, but tough cuts of meat should be gently braised in stock or water in the same way as for a European-style stew. The stewing liquid is then used as the liquid component in the curry.


Main Ingredient to be used alone or in combination
lb/1 kg (6 oz/175 g per serving) of one of the following, cut into 2 × ½-inch (5 × 1 cm) strips:
boneless chicken breasts
firm-fleshed fish such as swordfish or shark
tender cut of beef such as sirloin, flank, or sirloin strip or shellfish such as scallops, left whole or cut into disks
squid, cut into rings
shrimp (left whole)
peanut or vegetable oil (if meat or seafood is being browned first) 2 tbsp 30 ml
Cooking Oil, Basic Flavoring, and Cooking Liquid
peanut or vegetable oil 1 tbsp 15 ml
red or green thai curry paste ¼ to ½ cup 60 to 125 ml
appropriate liquid or water 1 cup 250 ml
fish sauce 2 to 6 tbsp 30 to 90 ml
ENRICHER and Thickener
coconut milk or fresh coconut milk 1 (14-oz) can or 2 cups 425 ml or 500 ml
Sweet-and-Sour Ingredients
juice of 2 limes or tamarind extract (see note) or wine vinegar or cider vinegar or ½ cup or 2 tbsp or 125 ml or 30 ml
sugar (optional) 1 to 2 tbsp 15 to 30 ml
Slow-Cooking Aromatic Ingredients optional
makrut lime leaves 6 6
peeled galangal, sliced ¼-inch (5 mm) thick 3 slices 3 slices
Garnitures to be used alone or in combination
bamboo shoots
sweet bell peppers
broccoli, cut into florets
eggplant, peeled, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
long beans or string beans
pineapple, cut into wedges or cubes
tofu, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
Fast-Cooking Aromatic Ingredients optional
cilantro or thai basil leaves, whole or coarsely chopped, or mint leaves, torn into pieces 3 tbsp 45 ml


  1. If desired, brown the main ingredient in oil in a skillet or wok. Set it aside on a plate. Pour off the used oil.
  2. Heat the cooking oil (in the same skillet used for browning the main ingredient) and stir the curry paste over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until it smells fragrant. Stir in the liquid and fish sauce and bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, the sweet-and-sour ingredients, and the slow-cooking aromatic ingredients, if using, and bring back to a simmer.
  4. Add one or more of the garnitures and simmer until almost done.
  5. Add back the main ingredient and simmer until done or heated through.
  6. Stir in the herb, if using. Simmer for 30 seconds. Serve immediately.