This Thai Green Curry Pork Tenderloin feels special, but comes together so quickly and easily! Perfect for a weeknight dinner or special enough for company.
I don't think I've ever hidden my love of pork tenderloin. It just has so much going for it. It's always tender and delicious. It's small, so it cooks quickly. And one pork tenderloin is the perfect amount when cooking "for two" (as I do most of the time).
So I have sought out a lot of different ways to cook up pork tenderloin, including this quick, easy and delicious Green Curry Pork Tenderloin. If you are a lover of Thai curries, this one's for you!
While it's a bit unconventional in it's use of pork tenderloin, it's faithful to the wonderful flavours of Thai curry, this one using Thai green curry paste.
A Bit About Thai Curry Pastes: The Red, Green and Yellow
While it is definitely an option to make your own Thai curry pastes from scratch, I love the ease of prepared Thai curry pastes. I keep all three Thai curry pastes in my fridge - Red, Green and Yellow - and I will often decide which one I'm going to use when I open the fridge. The colour of Thai curry paste you use is completely up to you, your mood and your tastes (or the tastes of those you are cooking for) and you can successfully substitute red for yellow or green for red etc. in most dishes.
I don't really consider Thai curries pastes ever to be overly hot and/or spicy. What heat they deliver is a small hit, tasted up front, rather than sitting around and building as you eat more. You can also control the hot and spicy quite easily by increasing or decreasing the amount of curry paste you add to dishes. So here are the basic differences in the three curry pastes ...
Thai Green Curry Paste: "Sweet Heat". As it is made with fresh, young green chilis, it has a spicy kick and is technically the hottest of the three Thai curry pastes. That said, it also has a very subtle sweet note that comes along with the use of the young chilis. I find Green Curry Paste a lovely complex flavour, with both the savoury and sweet with the heat.
Thai Red Curry Paste: "Pure Heat". This one uses the bigger red chilies as it's base, that are moderate in heat, with little of the sweet bits of the young green chilis. It's more of a pure, savoury spice. Compared to the green curry paste, it has a bit less heat and less of the sweet notes.
Thai Yellow Curry Paste: "Mellow Yellow". Yes, the yellow one is made with plenty of tumeric, cumin and mustard, along with notes like nutmeg, so that results in a richer, mellower and milder flavour than either the red or green curry pastes.
Cook's Notes for Thai Green Curry Pork Tenderloin
I made this one with Thai green curry paste, but you can easily substitute Thai red or yellow curry paste.
Feel free to skip the pumpkin seeds if you don't have any on hand.
I love the touch of red that those little Thai peppers bring to dishes, so I added a few for my photos, but honestly, I can't eat those things. They are seriously hot! Too hot for me. So be forewarned if you add some and if you are heat-averse, you may want to skip them.
Handy Kitchen Tools
An instant read thermometer is such a handy tool when cooking meat. When it comes to pork tenderloin, you'll want to cook it to 140-145F when measured in the thickest part of the meat. This will ensure fork tender and delicious meat. If you don't have a thermometer yet, what are you waiting for? Why guess :) Here are a few great choices if you might like to add one to your kitchen ...
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Thai Green Curry Pork Tenderloin
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp lime juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil (toasted or regular)
To Cook Pork:
- 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin (trimmed of fat and silverskin removed)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1 medium shallot (finely chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup green curry paste
- 1 14.5oz can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- Fresh cilantro leaves (chopped)
- Unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds (roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- Marinade the Pork: Combine the soy sauce, lime juice, maple syrup and sesame oil in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the prepared tenderloin. Close bag, pressing out the air. Flip a few times to coat the pork in the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and let marinade 2-8 hours. When ready to cook, remove tenderloin from marinade and discard marinade. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Cook the Pork: Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear tenderloin in hot oil, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of tenderloin registers 135 - 140F, 10-15 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest at 5 minutes before slicing.
- Prepare the sauce: While the pork is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallot and garlic, stirring regularly, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is slightly darkened in colour and very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lime zest, brown sugar and lime juice and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering until reduced and thickened.
- To Serve: Slice pork in to 1/4-inch slices and arrange on a a deep serving platter. Spoon warm sauce overtop. Garnish with chopped cilantro and pumpkin seeds. Serve with rice, if desired.