Authentic Thai Green Curry Recipe (แกงเขียวหวาน) by My Mother-In-Law

Authentic Thai Green Curry Recipe (แกงเขียวหวาน) by My Mother-In-Law

In this Thai green curry recipe you’ll learn exactly how to make authentic Thai green curry (cooked by my Thai mother in law).

We’ll start from scratch by pounding Thai green curry paste, chopping up a whole chicken, and finally combining it with coconut cream, for Thai green curry that’s loaded with flavor.

Follow this recipe if you’re ready to make authentic Thai green curry!

First, watch the video:

If you have a few minutes, first press play to watch the entire video of this recipe to see all the steps and techniques of making Thai green curry.

(If you can’t see the video, watch it on YouTube here)


Thai green curry recipe ingredients

Let’s quickly begin by going over the ingredients you’ll need to make Thai green curry.

Thai green curry ingredients

For the green curry chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken – 1.4 kg. in total weight (ไก่บ้าน) – I think a free range chicken gives you the best Thai green curry taste
  • 2 cups of water to first boil the chicken
  • green curry paste (เครื่องแกงเขียวหวาน) – all of the green curry paste below
  • 2 – 3 cups of coconut cream (หัวกะทิ)
  • 6 – 10 Thai eggplant (มะเขือเปราะ)
  • 6 – 10 stems of Thai sweet basil (โหระพา)
  • 2 red spur chilies (พริกชี้ฟ้าแดง)
  • 20 kaffir lime leaves (ใบมะกรูด)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (เกลือ) – or salt to taste when you’re cooking your curry

For the green curry paste (เครื่องแกงเขียวหวาน)

  • 150 grams Thai green chilies (พริกขี้หนูเขียว)
  • 1 head garlic (กระเทียม)
  • 3 shallots – small shallots about 2 tbsp in total (หอมแดง)
  • 1 thumb sized chunk of galangal (ข่า)
  • 5 cilantro roots (รากผักชี) coriander
  • 1 kaffir lime – just the peel (ผิวมะกรูด)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (ตะไคร้)
  • 1 tbsp. white pepper corns (พริกไทยขาว)
  • 1 tsp. coriander seed (ลูกผักชี)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed (ยี่หร่า)
  • 1 tsp. salt (เกลือ)
  • 1 tbsp. shrimp paste (กะปิ)

To make Thai green curry, there are three main steps:

  1. Pound the curry paste
  2. Prepare the chicken
  3. Cook the curry paste with the chicken and coconut cream

Note: At this point if you want to immediately get cooking and straight to the recipe, you can scroll below to the recipe box for direct instructions. However, you can keep reading below to get more in-depth cooking instructions, photos, and a more thorough explanation about Thai green curry.

best Thai green curry recipes

Why is green curry green?

Why is Thai green curry green?

There’s a common misconception that Thai green curry is green in color from all the Thai basil used in the recipe.

While there is often Thai sweet basil tossed into the curry, the real green color of the curry comes from Thai green chilies that are the main ingredient of the Thai green curry paste used to make the curry. So the greenness comes from green chilies.

The green chilies are bird’s eye chilies, but only the green ones are used for this recipe.

One more thing I’d like to point out is that in Thai, green curry is known as gaeng keow wan (แกงเขียวหวาน), which directly translates to curry green sweet, so this is typically known throughout Thailand as a sweeter tasting curry, rather than a spicy curry like for example southern Thai yellow curry.

Some recipes add extra sugar to make green curry sweeter, but other traditional Thai green curry recipes just rely on the coconut cream to provide the sweetness — I prefer the latter without adding extra sugar.

Thai green curry paste recipe

A few of the ingredients you’ll need

1. Thai green curry paste

Like with many Thai recipes, especially curries, the paste is the most important flavoring of the entire dish.

The curry paste is a mixture of ingredients that are pounded together until all the oils are released and the ingredients are fully pureed into a paste in texture.

how to make thai green curry

Peel the garlic and shallots

The first step in this Thai green curry paste recipe is to prepare all the ingredients to pound.

Peel the garlic and shallots, and slice the galangal and cilantro roots into small pieces.

For the kaffir lime, we’ll only be using the fragrant peel, so slice it off thinly, only the peel, leaving the fruit behind. For the lemongrass, slice off the top half and discard (it doesn’t have any flavor), and finely slice the bottoms of the stalks to make them easier to pound.

For the cumin and coriander seeds, to bring out their fragrance, dry fry them in a hot skillet for about 30 seconds and then set them in a bowl aside. They will smell amazing and dry frying them will enhance them.

Thai green curry paste

Pounding all the ingredients is the hardest part of making green curry

To pound Thai green curry paste, you’ll need a good stone mortar and pestle, and you can toss in the ingredients however you like, just making sure all the ingredients are added, and that they are all pounded together.

The only ingredient in this Thai green curry paste to leave out until the end of the pounding is the shrimp paste, which you’ll add at the very end.

how to make thai curry paste

Keep on pounding and pounding!

This is by far the most time consuming part of this recipe — it took me about 1.5 hours to pound this green curry paste — but I can assure you the end result will be worth every minute of pounding and every drop of sweat.

NOTE: You could use a food processor to make Thai green curry paste much faster, and that would work well and would still be better than buying canned green curry paste. However, when using a blender or food processor you won’t be able to extract all the flavor oils from the ingredients unless you pound them by hand slowly. But I do understand if you don’t have the time to pound.

how to make thai green curry paste

Add shrimp paste at the end of pounding

When your Thai green curry paste is just about completely done, the final step is to add the shrimp paste, and give the paste a final pound and stir to make sure the shrimp paste is evenly distributed.


Thai green curry paste (เครื่องแกงเขียวหวาน)

After about 1.5 hours or so you’ll have your Thai green curry paste made from scratch.

It probably won’t be as fine as store bought curry paste, but that’s alright, you’ll make up for it in flavor. Green curry paste should be nice and green in color, and have an amazing green chili aroma with a hint of cumin.

Thai green curry chicken recipe

I like to use a free range chicken for this recipe

2. Prepare your chicken

For this Thai green curry recipe, I made it with chicken, which is one of the most common meats to make green curry with in Thailand. However, you could make this green curry recipe with any meat of your choice, or even make it vegetarian and substitute tofu or more vegetables.

I used an entire free range thicken for this recipe, so it was a whole chicken but on the small side. My entire chicken was 1.4 kg.

The Thai way to cut chicken for curries is to chop up the entire chicken into bit sized pieces. You do sometimes get bone shards in your chicken this way, but I think it also adds to the character and flavor profile of green curry chicken.

Thai free range chicken

Chop up the entire chicken into bite sized pieces

However, you can feel free to chop your chicken however you want — or just make this using normal chicken cuts like drumstick, thighs, breast pieces or chicken tenders etc.

If you are using a whole chicken, make sure you gut and clean it nicely, and then chop it up using a Thai or Chinese cleaver.

chicken curry

Boil the chicken in the curry paste until soft

3. Cook your green curry

Now that you’ve got all your ingredients ready, comes the easy part of making this Thai green curry recipe: cooking it.

Thai curries are often very easy to cook, because much of the intensive work is already done when making the paste.

For this recipe, my mother in law first added about 2 cups of water to a pot and added in all the curry paste and the chicken pieces.

Thai green curry recipe

Toss in the kaffir lime leaves

She mentioned to me that she really wanted to boil the chicken for a few minutes to ensure the chicken was nice and tender before adding the coconut milk.

At this stage you want to also tear up a handful of kaffir lime leaves and add them to the curry just to give it a nice fragrance as you boil.

Boil the chicken in the green curry paste water for about 10 – 15 minutes or so, or until you think the chicken is tender.

Thai eggplant

Thai eggplant

While the chicken boils, you can prepare the final ingredients.

For the Thai eggplant, cut them in quarters, so they are bite sized. For the red spur chilies, slice them into thin strips.

Thai red spur chilies

Slice the spur chilies into thin strips

Finally, for the Thai sweet basil, you can just take a good handful of the leaves off the stem. Set everything aside for later on in the cooking process.

how to make thai green curry

Boil the chicken until it’s soft and most of the water has evaporated

At this point most of the water should have boiled out. And if not, you might want to keep on boiling at a high heat for a few more minutes. You want most of the water to have evaporated so you’re left with mostly the tender boiled chicken, and all that condensed green curry paste.

coconut cream

We’ll be using only coconut cream for this recipe

My mother in law was pretty insistent on telling me that for her Thai green curry recipe, she was only going to use thick rich coconut cream rather than coconut milk, which in Thai is called hua kati (หัวกะทิ).

She mentioned that using just regular coconut milk would cause the oil to separate from the coconut milk, which wouldn’t be good for green curry.

In Thailand it’s very convenient to go to the local market and buy fresh coconut cream. But if you can’t get fresh coconut cream, I think the best option is Aroy-D coconut cream in a box, instead of the one in the can.

Add a good 2 full cups of coconut cream to your curry to start with. Then stir gently for a few minutes.

authentic thai recipes

Once the curry comes to a boil, add in the eggplant and spur chilis

Once the coconut milk begins to slow boil, you can toss in the eggplant and the sliced red spur chilies (mostly for decoration so there’s some red in the green) and boil for just 2 – 3 minutes.

Just before you turn off the heat, toss in a big handful of fresh Thai sweet basil.

Again, since the pounding already brought out the flavor of the spices and herbs, all you have to do is cook your green curry for about 5 minutes from the time it boils, and you’re ready to eat.

One thing I’d like to also point out again is that some Thai green curry recipes call for sugar. While you can add white sugar or palm sugar to your green curry, for me, I like to rely on the natural sweetness of the coconut cream for the sweetness. But if you like sweeter curry, feel free to add some palm sugar for seasoning.

Additionally, when my mother in law and I made this pot of green curry, we added only about 1/2 tsp. salt because there was also salt and shrimp paste in the green curry paste. But you need to taste test your green curry, and adjust the salt as necessary. Also, my mother in law said for Thai green curry it’s best to use salt instead of fish sauce for saltiness.

Thai green curry: home-cooked vs. street food

Thai green curry is a type of Thai curry that was never really my favorite to eat in Bangkok.

That’s because when you order green curry (แกงเขียวหวาน gaeng keow wan) on the streets, it can sometimes (not always) be watery, overly sweet, and even bland (there are many exceptions no doubt, but I’m talking in general).

Rightfully so though, in order to reduce the costs of cooking, green curry at street food stalls can be less creamy from coconut cream, and often less curry paste is used in the recipe to reduce costs.

Anyway, so I just wanted to mention that I think the best Thai green curry you can eat, is to make it at home, where you can cook an authentic recipe, and use buttery coconut cream and green curry paste at its full strength.

Then Thai green curry can be a truly superb dish, I and absolutely love it when my mother in law makes it from scratch.


Thai green curry recipe (แกงเขียวหวานไก่)

One of the best things to remember to do when you’re in the middle of making Thai green curry, is to make sure you start cooking a pot of rice. That way as soon as your curry is ready, you’ll be ready to eat it along with rice.

Thai green curry recipe (แกงเขียวหวานไก่)

Time: 2 – 3 hours, but most of the time it takes you to make this recipe will come from pounding the green curry paste
Recipe size: 1 full chicken of curry, can feed about 3 – 4 people
Cooking utensils: pot, in Thailand we use Kiwi knives

4.8 from 88 reviews
Authentic Thai Green Curry Recipe (แกงเขียวหวาน) - Best Taste!
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In this Thai green curry chicken recipe (แกงเขียวหวานไก่) you'll find step by step instructions about how to make authentic home style Thai green curry. We'll first pound the green curry paste by hand, clean and chop the chicken, and boil it with rich coconut cream. The result of making your own Thai green curry is amazing!
Recipe type: Thai recipes
Cuisine: Thai food
Serves: 1 pot
Green curry
  • 1 whole chicken (ไก่บ้าน) - I used a free range chicken that was 1.4 kg.
  • 2 cups of water
  • green curry paste - all of the paste below
  • 2 - 3 cups coconut cream (หัวกะทิ)
  • 6 - 10 Thai eggplant (มะเขือเปราะ)
  • 6 - 10 stems of Thai sweet basil (โหระพา)
  • 2 red spur chilies (พริกชี้ฟ้าแดง)
  • 20 kaffir lime leaves (ใบมะกรูด)
  • ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
Green curry paste
  • 150 grams Thai chilies, green color (พริกขี้หนูเขียว)
  • 1 head garlic (กระเทียม)
  • 3 shallots (หอมแดง) - small Thai shallots
  • 1 piece of galangal (ข่า) - about a thumb sized piece
  • 5 cilantro roots (รากผักชี)
  • 1 kaffir lime peel (ผิวมะกรูด)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (ตะไคร้)
  • 1 tbsp. white peppercorns (พริกไทยขาว)
  • 1 tsp. coriander seed (ลูกผักชี)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed (ยี่หร่า)
  • 1 tsp. salt (เกลือ)
  • 1 tbsp. shrimp paste (กะปิ)
  1. The first step is to prepare your ingredients to pound your green curry paste. Remove the stems of the Thai green chilies, peel the garlic and shallots, thinly slice the galangal, cilantro roots, and lemongrass. For the kaffir lime, delicately slice off all the green bumpy peel. For the cumin and coriander seed, dry roast them in a hot skillet for 30 seconds to bring out the aroma.
  2. Pound all the green curry paste ingredients in a stone mortar and pestle, apart from the shrimp paste, which you'll add at the very end. Pounding can take 1 - 2 hours, and you're looking for a smooth pureed paste. One good measure of a Thai curry paste is that you shouldn't see any chili seeds remaining in your paste, they should all be pounded out.
  3. Once your paste is finished, add the shrimp paste, and mix and mash until it's evenly mixed in. Set your green curry paste aside.
  4. Prepare your whole chicken by gutting and cleaning it. Chop the entire chicken into bite sized pieces. Alternatively, you could use typical pieces like drumsticks and thighs, or boneless chicken breast.
  5. In a pot, add 2 cups of water, the green curry paste, your pieces of chicken, and toss in about 10 kaffir lime leaves broken in half (this is for a citrusy fragrance).
  6. Boil the chicken for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and most of the water has evaporated, leaving mostly the thick curry paste and chicken at the bottom of the pot.
  7. While the chicken is boiling, prepare the Thai eggplant by cutting them into quarters. Pluck the Thai sweet basil off the stems so you just have the leaves and set them aside. And finally julienne the red spur chilies.
  8. After about 10 minutes of boiling the chicken, add in the coconut cream, and bring to a boil, stirring delicately. At this stage you can taste test your curry to see if it needs more salt. Add salt accordingly, I added in about ½ tsp. of salt.
  9. Next add the Thai eggplant and red spur chilies and boil for just 2 - 3 minutes.
  10. The final step is to toss the the Thai sweet basil, turn off the heat, and just let the sweet basil wilt into the curry.
Thai green curry chicken (แกงเขียวหวานไก่) is an amazing Thai dish and a unique Thai curry. After you're finished cooking a pot of green curry, eat it along with freshly steamed rice.

thai green curry recipe

You’re going to love this Thai green curry!

If you follow this authentic Thai green curry recipe, and pound the green curry paste from scratch, you’ll have one of the best bowls of green curry you’ll ever taste.

You can taste all the ingredients that went into the paste — the green chilies, the cumin and coriander seed, the kaffir lime peel — all wrapped up in the richness and natural sweetness of the coconut cream.

This recipe is relatively easy to make, apart from taking some time, but the end result is well worth your effort.

Thai green curry recipe

Thick and rich from the curry paste and coconut cream!


Green curry (แกงเขียวหวานไก่) is a very common Central Thai dish that is made with a base of curry paste that gets its green color from Thai green chilies.

In this Thai green curry recipe you’ll learn step by step how to make green curry chicken from scratch, starting from the green curry paste, chopping up a whole chicken, and cooking the curry with coconut cream.

If you make this green curry recipe, which comes right off the top of my Thai mother in laws head, you’ll have a new love for green curry!

how to make Thai green curry

Authentic Thai green curry chicken recipe!

Check out more authentic Thai recipes here..

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