Thai Red Coconut Curry with Chicken

This delicious Thai dish is full of fresh, bright flavors and is the perfect balance between spicy, sweet and savory.  It also comes together in about 30 minutes, making it the perfect dish for a busy weeknight or some time when you don’t want takeout but aren’t wanting to spend a ton of time in the kitchen either.  Enjoy!

Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy
Cost: About $4/plate (depending on which pantry essentials you have on hand)
Serves: 4-6


  1. 2-3 lbs chicken breasts, cubed
  2. 2 TBSP red curry paste
  3. 1 small onion, diced
  4. 1 small shallot, diced
  5. 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  6. 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  7. 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  8. 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  9. Zest of 2 limes
  10. 1 TBSP fresh ginger, grated (or 2 tsp dried powdered)
  11. 1 TBSP anchovy paste or 2 TBSP Thai Fish Sauce (because umami!)
  12. 2 TBSP sweet Thai chili sauce
  13. 2 TBSP soy sauce
  14. 1 cup cheap saké (or chicken stock, if you don’t want to use alcohol), for deglazing
  15. 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  16. juice of 2-3 limes
  17. 1 TBSP brown sugar
  18. 1 cup fresh basil, leaves roughly torn
  19. Garnish:  Freshly squeezed limes and cilantro (optional)
  20. White rice, for serving


  1. In a medium bowl, mix curry paste and cubed chicken and set aside
  2. Prepare ingredients 3-7, combine, and set aside in a medium bowl (this is your base)
  3. Prepare ingredients 8-10, combine, and set aside in a small bowl (these are your aromatics)
  4. Prepare ingredients 11-13, combine, and set aside in a small bowl (this is your umami bomb)
  5. Measure out saké or chicken stock
  6. Open cans of coconut milk
  7. Measure out brown sugar and lime juice and mix together in a small bowl
  8. Prepare basil and set aside


  1. Add about 2-3TBSP coconut or olive oil to a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking.  Add chicken with curry paste and sauté until chicken is ever so slightly browned (it doesn’t need to be cooked through) and fragrant.  Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve (it’s fine to put it back in the same bowl, you’re going to finish cooking it in the sauce later anyway).
  2. Lower heat to medium.  Add your base (ingredients 3-7) and sauté until onions are translucent and peppers have become quite soft, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add your aromatics (ingredients 8-10), and continue to sauté until very fragrant, 1-2 minutes
  4. Add saké or chicken stock (flambé if you like), and bring to a boil, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer.
  5. Add umami bomb (ingredients 11-13) and stir well to incorporate
  6. Stir in coconut milk and brown sugar/lime-juice-mixture, and continue to stir until sauce is well incorporated.  Bring sauce to a boil and allow to reduce by approximately 1/3
  7. Add chicken (and any juices) back to the sauce and stir in.  Allow to simmer, 8-10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  8. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, stir in the fresh basil and cook for 1 minute.  Off the heat, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes to give flavors a chance to marry.
  9. Serve over white rice and garnish with a few squeezes of fresh lime juice and fresh cilantro.

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