Make your own fragrant green curry spice paste from scratch for this Thai Green Curry Chicken with pea eggplants. So delicious with steamed Jasmine rice.
I was totally bowled over the first time I tasted Thai Green Curry Chicken as a young adult in a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Even though Thailand is just north of the Peninsula, there were few Thai restaurants until the 1980’s. Curry is not new to me because we cook and eat curry at home regularly. Many of these curries have appeared on this blog. Most are Nyonya, Malay, and Indian style curries with a rich red gravy. Some are deliciously creamy, while others are appetizingly tangy. They are all to die for eaten with a heaping plateful of rice.
On the other hand, green curry is different. The only curry I can think of that comes close to it in taste is Chicken Korma. While green curry is not bright green in color, it definitely has a greener shade of color. It is deceivingly mild but do not underestimate its heat level. It can pack just as great a punch, if not more than their red counterpart. Those tiny bird’s eye chilies used in the spice paste measures around 100,000–225,000 Scoville units, which is at the lower range of the hotter habanero chili. Fortunately, the desired heat level can be specified at most restaurants.
One of the ingredients found in most Thai green curries is pea eggplant. These eggplants are green in color and resemble green peas. However, there is no mistaking the bitter taste of these eggplants for peas. As such, it is often substituted with green peas to give the dish the same “look”. You can say it is an acquired taste but they can be quite tasty eaten in small quantities with the creamy sauce. I was pleasantly surprised to find them at the farmer’s market here in downtown Minneapolis. Please feel free to substitute the pea eggplants with green peas or the bigger sweet Thai eggplants as seen in this Tofu Eggplant Curry.
In the recipe below, I used a mix of 2 serrano chilies and 3 bird’s eye chilies for a milder tasting curry. If you prefer it spicy, please use 10 to 12 bird’s eye chilies or any combination of the two. Unless you grow your own cilantro (a.k.a. coriander), the roots are hard to come by. Please use the leaves as well as stems of store bought cilantro for a stronger flavor. Thinly sliced beef, pork, fish, or shrimps will also work in this recipe.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1½ lbs (675g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup (240ml) coconut milk
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup (80g) pea eggplants
- 2 serrano chilies, cut into small pieces**
- 3 green bird’s eye chilies**
- 3 shallots, cut into small pieces
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 stalks cilantro (coriander), including stems and roots
- 2 stalks lemon grass, slice bottom third into rings
- 1 inch galangal or ginger root
- ½ inch cube belacan (shrimp paste), toasted
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Blend spice paste ingredients (except for ground coriander and cumin) with 2 tablespoons of water. Slowly add vegetable oil and blend until smooth.
- Transfer spice paste to a bowl. Mix in ground coriander and cumin.
- Heat oil in a medium sized pot and stir fry ground spice paste until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add chicken and stir till chicken turns opaque, about 3 minutes.
- Pour in coconut milk
- Add kaffir lime leaves and fish sauce. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add salt and pea eggplants. .
- Cook for another 3 minutes. Turn off the stove.
- Allow curry to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
This fragrant and delicious Thai Green Curry Chicken is best served with steamed Jasmine rice. Do give it a try.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎