Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Veggie Thai Red Curry

This Thai curry has been a recent favorite at my place. We both are loving this, made quite often, with varying veggies, mushrooms, tofu etc. Thai cuisine is a close cousin of Indian cousin, with many spices used in common. Also use of coconut milk makes it especially closer to the South Indian cuisine. Eaten with sticky Jasmine rice or any other cooked ice, it makes a wholesome meal.

However, the combination of spices along with some not used in Indian curried and the method of cooking makes it quite different in taste from Indian curries. Most of the Thai curries are generally not vegetarian. And even the veggie ones often contain fish sauce, shrimp paste, making me hesitant to try one at restaurants.

So searching for recipes and experimenting on combinations, this is the one I have come up with and have stuck with it for quite sometime. We're happy with the taste of this customized, vegetarian home made Thai red curry. Here it is....

Veggie Thai Red Curry

Coconut milk - 1 can
Bell pepper / capsicum - Chopped, 1 cup, a mix of red, green, yellow
French beans - a handful (optional)
Sugar snap peas - a handful
Baby corn - a handful
Firm Tofu - 200g, washed and drained, chopped into bite sized pieces
Eggplant - chopped (optional - i don't use it as i don't like it)
Carrot - 1, chopped (my addition)
Mushrooms - 1/2 cup, halved
Thai basil leaves - a handful
Soy sauce - 1 Tbsp
Sesame / any other oil - 2 Tbsp
Salt to taste - abt 1 tsp
Red curry paste

Red curry paste:
Dry red chilies - 3-4 (vary according to your spice tolerance)
Cumin- 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
Kafir lime leaves / bay leaves - 1-2
Fresh coriander leaves/stalks - chopped, a fistful
Brown sugar - 1/2 to 1 Tbsp
Fresh lemongrass - 2-3 Tbsp. minced
Shallots / red onion - 1/4 cup, sliced
Garlic - 2-3 cloves
Galangal / ginger 1 inch piece, grated
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Lime / lemon zest - 1/2 tsp
Tomato ketchup / tomato puree - 2 Tbsp (optional)
Fresh lime juice - 2 Tbsp

For the paste:

  • Boil 1/4 cup water and turn off the heat. To this, add the dry red chilies and let them sit for 5-10 min.
  • After it is cool enough to handle, grind the soaked chilies with the rest of the ingredients for curry paste into a smooth mixture.
  • This is the Thai red curry paste. This can be made ahead the previous day and stored in the refrigerator.

For the curry:

  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add half the oil.
  • Optionally marinate the tofu pieces in some soy sauce, salt and pepper powder
  • Shallow fry the tofu in this till the raw smell is gone, sprinkle some salt if not marinated and keep aside. 
  • In the same pan, add the remaining oil and fry the red curry paste prepared, on low flame
  • Once the oil starts separating from the mixture, add the coconut milk, salt and bring to a boil
  • Meanwhile add the chopped vegetables, mushrooms and let cook in the coconut milk curry
  • Mix in the fried tofu as well and boil for a few minutes
  • Add soy sauce and basil leaves
  • Make sure the veggies are still crunchy and just cooked. Overcooking makes the veggies soggy.
  • Serve hot with some piping hot jasmine rice and enjoy!


  • Some of the ingredients mentioned in the list may not be easily available in an Indian kitchen - like galangal, kafir lime etc. These I usually substitute with the mentioned alternative ingredients like normal ginger, bay leaves, etc. I don't see much of a difference.
  • I add vegetables of my choice to this curry usually and do not always stick to the original Thai veggies.