How to make it: Kay Plunkett-Hogge’s green chicken curry 

Food writer Kay Plunkett-Hogge has spent more than half her life in Thailand, cooking and collecting recipes. According to her, this is the one curry paste you should always make from scratch.

By Kay Plunkett-Hogge
Published 15 Mar 2020, 14:30 GMT
Thai green curry
A fresh Thai green curry paste usually contains white pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, fresh galangal, lemongrass, shallots, green chillies, coriander root, garlic, Thai shrimp paste and kaffir lime zest.
Photograph by Steven Joyce

Takes: 40 mins 


For the paste
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp white peppercorns
1 tbsp galangal, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemongrass, finely chopped
2 Thai shallots or 1 regular shallot, peeled and finely chopped
12 green Thai bird’s eye chillies, de-stemmed and chopped
2 long green chillies, de-stemmed and finely chopped
4 tbsp fresh coriander root (with some stem attached), finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2cm piece fresh turmeric, finely chopped zest of 1 kaffir lime
1 tsp kapi (shrimp paste)

For the curry
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
350g chicken thighs, cut into 2cm chunks
1-2 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce), plus extra to serve
pinch of caster sugar (optional)
65g pea aubergines 
2 Thai round aubergines, quartered
100g bamboo shoots, chopped
2 long red chillies, cut diagonally into thirds
large handful of Thai sweet basil
1 long orange chilli (optional)
jasmine rice, to serve


1 For the paste, grind all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar (starting with the hardest ingredients, as listed, and working down to the softest), until you have a uniform paste. Alternatively, blitz the ingredients in a food processor or a blender, adding around 1 tbsp water to bring it together. 
2 To make the curry, heat the oil in a wok or saucepan and fry the paste for around 1 min until it smells fragrant. Add half the coconut milk and slowly bring to the boil, stirring gently. Once the paste has dissolved, let the coconut milk simmer a little until you see oil appearing on the surface, then add 200ml water and bring to the boil. 
3 Add the chicken and bring back to the boil, then pour in the remaining coconut milk. Bring to the boil again and simmer for around 6 mins. Add the nam pla and the sugar, if using, and some seasoning. If it’s a little thick, add more water — you want a soup consistency rather than a thick gravy.
4 Tip in the aubergines, bamboo shoots and one of the long red chillies and simmer for another 3 mins or so. Add the basil, remaining red chilli and the orange chilli, if using, and serve with the jasmine rice and more nam pla. 

An edited excerpt from Baan: Recipes and Stories from My Thai Home (£20, Pavilion)

Published in issue 8 of National Geographic Traveller Food

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