A fast and easy Thai chicken curry with coconut milk loaded with exotic flavors and healthy vegetables that you can enjoy any day of the week.
Weekdays at the Gavin House mean quick meals that are delicious. A healthy meal is imperative, but I often find myself short on time after a long day at work. Stopping to grab takeout on the drive home sounds like the perfect shortcut, but I’ve got a go-to Thai chicken curry recipe made with coconut milk that is both quick and nutritious.
Making curry paste from scratch is the best way to enjoy the freshest and most intense fragrant flavors. But who’s got the time? Thankfully, I can pick up a bottle of Trader Joe’s Thai Red Curry Sauce and make this meal before my boys get Hangry.
How to make Thai chicken curry
Three cooking methods are used to make this 30-minute meal: saute, stewing and steaming. I like to build flavor in the pan with sauteed garlic, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and chicken, then gently simmer in the red curry sauce and coconut milk. You can vary the amount of liquid. However, I like my curries on the mildly spicy and sweeter side, so I use an entire can. I typically use Chaokoh Coconut Milk for my Thai dishes because it’s super rich, creamy and naturally sweet!
To quickly cook the vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots, and zucchini are steamed while the chicken gently stews. Each veggie needs different amounts of cook time, but the extreme temperature of the steam tenderizes the ingredients very quickly.
A variety of vegetables is essential because they provide tons of flavor and texture to the dish. I like to add zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, and sweet potato, but any vegetable will taste great!
Steaming is an excellent way to quickly cook your vegetables without the added fats and with minimal loss to all of the beneficial nutrients. You can also spice the dish up by adding some fresh Thai chili or jalapeno for a hotter kick. To make this Thai chicken curry a complete meal, serve with either brown rice or quinoa to make the dish even healthier.
If you’ve got the time, check out the instructions in the recipe section below on how to make a homemade curry sauce. If you like this meal, then you might also like my Thai-spiced shrimp with vegetable noodles or coconut curry chicken satay. The curry paste is extremely versatile, and you should give it a try!
What are the typical ingredients used in a Thai red curry paste?
During culinary school, I got the chance to make the most intense and delicious curry paste. It was a labor of love, grinding the ingredients with a mortar and pestle but the flavor was unforgettable! I used dried chiles, galangal, lemongrass, lime zest, cilantro roots, shallots, shrimp paste, black peppercorns, and vegetable oil. These ingredients are concentrated in flavor then balanced with sweet coconut milk, fish sauce, and fresh Thai sweet basil. The perfect sauce for any of your favorite protein and vegetable combinations! Although, you can buy a decent pre-made curry paste , which can be a huge time saver.
Thai Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1 1/2 cups bell pepper, 1/4-inch thick slices (about 2 peppers)
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1 pound chicken breast, sliced into 1/2-inch by 2-inch strips
- 11 ounces red curry sauce, (1 bottle from Trader Joe's)
- 13 1/2 ounces coconut milk
- 1 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 cup carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 cups zucchini, 1/4-inch thick slices
- In a medium-sized pot, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the pan is hot.
- Add garlic and onions, sauté over medium heat for 3 minutes, until tender.
- Add bell pepper, sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add mushrooms, sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add chicken, sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until cooked through.
- Add curry sauce and coconut milk to the chicken mixture. Bring to a boil then quickly reduce to a low simmer. Meanwhile, steam the remaining vegetables.
- In a steamer, cook sweet potatoes (7 minutes), carrots (5 minutes), zucchini (3 minutes) or until tender (will vary with size).
- Add steamed vegetables to the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Serve with rice or quinoa.
- Want to create your own sauce? Simply add 2 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste , 2 tablespoon honey, maple syrup or brown sugar and 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional) to the pan, with one can coconut milk (13.5 ounces). Mix to combine and bring to a simmer with the chicken and sauteed vegetables.
- To make a one pan curry (no steamer): In a medium-sized pot, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the pan is hot. Add garlic and onions, sauté over medium heat for 3 minutes, until tender. Add sweet potato and saute for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and bell pepper, sauté for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, sauté for 3 minutes. Add chicken, sauté for 3 minutes until just cooked through. Add sauce and coconut milk and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through about 10 to 15 minutes.