This delicious Thai red curry is made with a quick homemade paste for a fantastic bold flavor. Plus, it’s a great way to use leftover meat.
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If you are anything like me, you need a few Holiday leftovers recipes that are tasty and delicious to get you through the post turkey or whatever-else-you-had phase. Plus any time you may have roast chicken, for example. Those times when you know you should use it up but don’t want the same old thing again.
This Thai red curry recipe is the perfect option as it is so different from a roast but full of delicious flavor. The sauce pairs with a wide range of meats, too. The only one I can’t picture is ham, but maybe that’s just me.
You don’t have to use leftovers, either. This can just as easily be made with fresh meat or simply lots of veg if you fancy a vegetarian meal.
An easy homemade Thai red curry paste
I would forgive you if you have had enough of cooking and opt for a ready-made Thai red curry paste. But first, do at least take a look at this recipe as it really doesn’t take that long to prepare and it is so much tastier than a bought version.
Don’t be put off by the relatively long list of ingredients – you just chop the things that need cut up a little then throw everything in the food processor or blender. That’s it.
Can you make the paste ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the paste in advance of when you are going to use it. It will keep a day or two refrigerated without a problem. Just place it in a covered container or jar to avoid it making the whole fridge smelling!
If you prefer a hotter curry, you might want to increase the chili in this as I’ll admit, we aren’t as accustomed heat as we used to be. But it will also depend what kind of chilis you use – traditionally they’d be Thai red chili.
Steps to make this curry (and variations)
- Blend together the paste ingredients (if using homemade).
- Chop vegetables and meat.
- Pre-cook meat if using fresh.
- Cook the curry paste a minute or two then add vegetables.
- Add coconut milk and let simmer.
- Add meat, cook a minute then serve.
I have added sugar snaps and carrots here, but lots of other vegetables would work as well, such as green beans, baby corn or zucchini/courgette batons.
This recipe works with a variety of meats, like chicken, turkey, duck and while I haven’t tested, I can see beef working too. Oh and if you’re feeling like a meatless meal, take a look at my vegetarian Thai red curry.
This is one of those meals where my toddler son has a slightly modified version, as he is not quite on to hotter curries yet. Sometimes he has rice with vegetables and coconut milk, but it’s so easy to quickly heat his veg and add in some of the spare coconut milk and rice that I am cooking anyway. Other times I make a version of my fragrant chicken curry for him.
This Thai red curry is pretty quick recipe to prepare, even with the homemade sauce (which I highly recommend!). It is bold with a lovely depth of flavor, with no weird ingredients. Plus perfect to enjoy some leftovers that are deliciously different. Whatever you add, enjoy them smothered in the tasty sauce; you won’t regret it.
Try these other tasty Thai dishes:
- Beef massaman curry (slow cooker) with or without homemade massaman curry paste
- Thai green curry shrimp
- Easy pad Thai
- Thai beef salad (nam tok)
- Plus get more ideas for Southeast Asian recipes in the archives.
Thai red curry (perfect for leftovers)
For the spice paste
- 2 red chilis
- 1 tbsp ginger approx 1 ¼in/3cm piece
- ¼ red onion or 1 shallot
- 3 cloves garlic or 4 if smaller
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 1 tbsp cilantro coriander – stalks only
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp chili powder or more if you want it hotter
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp tomato paste puree
- 2 tbsp coconut milk
- 2 tsp tamarind paste less if concentrated
- 4 oz sugar snaps 115g, trimmed (or eg green beans)
- 3 ½ oz carrots 100g, cut into battons (1 small-med carrot)
- 1 cup coconut milk 240 ml
- 1 cup greens e.g spinach, dandelion greens, kale (optional)
- 6 oz cooked chicken 170g, chopped (or other meat, or use fresh, see below)
For Thai red curry paste
- Remove the stem from the chilis, peel the ginger, onion/shallot, garlic and lemongrass, trim the coriander stalks and cut all of them pretty small. You want to break up the fibrous bits that the food processor/blender may struggle with.
- Place all of the above along with the remaining sauce ingredients in the food processor or blender and pulse until a smooth paste. Refrigerate until ready to use, as required.
To make curry
- When ready to cook, heat a little oil in a wok or medium skillet/frying pan. If using fresh meat, pre-cook it first and remove from pan while you follow the rest of the steps. Fry the curry paste for a couple minutes, stirring to stop it burning.
- Add the beans and carrots and stir to coat in the paste. If using fresh meat, add at this point.
- Allow to cook for a few minutes then add the coconut milk. Stir to mix then bring to a simmer.
- Cook for around 5-10mins until vegetables are tender.
- Add the greens (if using) and cooked meat, stir and cook for a couple more minutes. Add a little extra coconut milk if it seems to have become too dry then serve over rice or noodles.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store.
This post was originally shared in January 2015 and has been updated, primarily with new photos.