The best Thai Red Curry Chicken, that has been tested and tweaked to perfection over years of making it!
I know the internet is full of Thai Red Curry Chicken recipes, but this is mine and I think it’s pretty darned good. And I never order Thai Red Curry Chicken take-out out anymore, because I like mine homemade version better. And I thought it was about time I shared this recipe with you.
My version includes, among the usual ingredients of carrot, red pepper and chicken, the addition of greens (I used spinach here), sliced canned bamboo shoots (love the crunch) and chunks of canned pineapple (maybe my favourite addition!).
I love the sweet and tangy flavours that pineapple brings to the dish and if you are thinking you might just skip it, I urge you to try it at least once.
As for the bamboo shoots, look for them in a can in the Asian food section of your grocery store (or sometimes in with the canned vegetables or fruit, for some reason). And if your store is anything like mine, you’ll find them with a bit of dust on the top of the can, because I don’t think they’re big sellers. I know I don’t have much call for them, but I make a point of keeping them on hand just for this curry. They’re another ingredient worth including. While they don’t add a ton of flavour, they add a wonderful crunch to this curry.
If you are going to skip anything, you could leave out the greens, without affecting the integrity of this curry’s flavour. I just like to add them as it’s an easy opportunity to add more greens to my diet.
This Thai red curry chicken is a great way to use up left-over cooked chicken, or start with fresh chicken and cook it up quickly in a skillet before you make the curry. Even chicken from a store-bought rotisserie chicken will work here, for a super quick version.
Cook’s Notes for Thai Red Curry Chicken
This recipe adapts beautifully for different proteins (try shrimp, salmon, beef or tofu).
I’m not always a mise en place gal, but this is one recipe where I find that having everything cut and ready and all the other ingredients out and ready really pays off. I like to start my rice cooking and then I get the chicken in a skillet. While the chicken is cooking, I get all the vegetables cut and the other ingredients out and ready. When it comes time to make the curry, it’s really just dump and stir.
Make this Thai Red Curry vegetarian by skipping the meat and upping the amount of veggies. For the vegetarian version, simply substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce.
Freeze your leftover canned pineapple and bamboo shoots! I portion them together in pre-measured amounts in small freezer bags. So the next time I made this Thai Red Curry Chicken, I just grab a bag from the freezer. No waste and always ready to go!
How to Cut Carrots in Matchsticks
Cutting carrots into matchsticks doesn’t need to be a time-consuming adventure. Simply follow these easy instructions for an easy and painless way to cut carrots into matchsticks.
- Peel carrot and cut into 2-3 inch lengths
- On a cutting board, with a sharp knife, carefully cut the rounded side off the right side of the carrot.
- Place the now flat, cut side down and make thin, 1/8-inch or less slices in from the side until you reach the centre.
- Flip the carrot again, placing the flat edge at the centre down and make more slices as above, flipping to the flat edge once more.
- Take your carrot “planks” and using the tip of a sharp knife, cut into thin slices. (You can stack two planks together and cut, but any more than that and they get difficult to keep together as you slice).
Thai Red Curry Chicken
- 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces (or start with about 2 cups of leftover cooked and cubed chicken )
- 1 medium carrot cut into matchsticks
- 1 medium red pepper cored and cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 small onion cut into thin slices
- 1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp red curry paste I usually use 1 heaping Tbsp
- 14 oz can full fat coconut milk about 1 3/4 cups
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce, for vegetarian
- 1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots cut into matchsticks
- 1/3 cup canned pineapple chunks each chunk cut into 2 or 3 pieces
- 2 cups baby spinach or other greens such as chopped baby bok choy leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: Chopped basil or cilantro leaves and lime quarters, for juicing over finished dish
- Start your rice cooking.
- (Skip if you are starting with pre-cooked chicken) Heat 1/2 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add uncooked chicken pieces and cook, stirring, until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables and bamboo shoots, cutting all into matchsticks of equal length (about 2-inches long). Assemble your other ingredients.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil in skillet and raise heat to medium high. Add carrots first, and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add red peppers and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, but carrots and red peppers are just tender crisp.
- Add the ginger, red curry paste and a tablespoon of the cream from the top of the coconut milk to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the rest of the can of coconut milk, the lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce. Return the cooked chicken to the pan (or add cooked chicken, if you are starting with pre-cooked chicken). Add the bamboo shoots and pineapple. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on medium-low heat, until chicken is heated through and carrots are softened a bit more, about 3-5 minutes.
- *Note: Thai curries have a sauce that's very soup-like, so the sauce won't be thick. The curry is typically served in bowls, to be spooned over hot rice.
- Taste sauce and season with a bit of salt and pepper, as needed. You can also add a bit more curry paste at this point, if you feel it needs more.
- Remove skillet from heat. Scatter spinach (or other chopped greens) overtop. Let stand 30 seconds, then stir in to curry until greens have wilted.
- Serve with jasmine or basmati rice, garnished with chopped basil or cilantro and lime wedges for drizzling.