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This easy, authentic Thai green curry recipe (Kaeng Kiew Waan Kai) beautifully marries spicy-hot, salty, subtly sweet, and bright flavors in a coconut milk-based sauce. Chicken makes it filling, and serving it with jasmine rice makes it a hearty meal.

overhead view of bowl of green curry chicken recipe served with rice

When I visited Thailand a few years ago, I had the best green curry on the face of the planet (mind-blowingly good) at the resort where we stayed in Thailand.

Late one afternoon, we took a private cooking class on the beach at the resort. We made green curry (and a few other things), and then got to enjoy dinner at sunset at a table next to the ocean. After the class, they gave me a little recipe booklet with all the recipes we made in it, and told me to have fun. They knew me well, lol!

I got the recipe booklet home and the first chance I had, dove into making the curry. Ever since then, this dish has been one of my favorites. Not only because of the wonderful memories it evokes, but also because it’s a lovely balance of fresh, bright flavors, spicy heat, and rich creaminess.

Thai green curry is magic.

close up top view of pot of thai green curry chicken

Why This Recipe Is a Winner

  • Even the base is packed with flavor! We start by frying the green curry paste in coconut oil. This helps the flavors blend and makes the sauce intensely aromatic.
  • It’s pretty easy! Even if it’s new to you, don’t be intimidated to make this recipe.
  • It’s packed with flavor and absolutely mouth-watering. Yes, Thai green curry is spicy, especially in Thailand (it’s actually spicier than Thai red curry and Thai yellow curry!). But this dish features a very balanced flavor profile. Full-fat coconut milk adds rich creaminess and tames the spice level a bit, and additionally, coconut sugar balances it. Plus chicken and vegetables soak up some of the spicy flavor. And serving this dish with jasmine rice mellows it even more.
  • You can easily swap out the protein in this recipe for whatever you like. Or keep it vegan by using vegetable stock or water instead of chicken broth, omitting the chicken, and using vegan green curry paste and vegan fish sauce.
thai green curry paste and aromatics

Ingredients

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

  • Virgin coconut oil – We fry the curry paste in coconut oil to develop the flavor. You can use refined coconut oil instead of virgin coconut oil if you want to reduce the taste of coconut.
  • Thai green curry paste – This lends a ton of flavor to this authentic curry!
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs – Or you can use boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • Garlic and galangal – These aromatics are traditional ingredients in Thai cuisine. Look for galangal at your local Asian grocery store; it has a more piney flavor than ginger, but in a pinch you can use ginger instead.
  • Chicken broth – Or water.
  • Thai eggplant – You can also use Japanese eggplant or baby eggplant.
  • Canned unsweetened full-fat coconut milk – Coconut milk adds rich creamy texture and subtle sweetness.
  • Makrut lime leaves – These are formerly known as kaffir lime leaves, and they might be labeled as such in your local Asian market.
  • Coconut sugar – Or you can use light brown sugar.
  • Fish sauce – This adds salty umami flavor.
  • Sea salt – In Thailand, it’s common to use only fish sauce for salty flavor. However, of course there’s an underlying fish flavor that comes with it! That’s why I reduce the amount of fish sauce a bit and add a touch of salt for salty flavor without intensifying the fishiness.
  • Sliced bamboo shoots – Look for fresh bamboo shoots in the fresh produce area of your local Asian supermarket, or you can use canned bamboo shoots.
  • Red Thai chile peppers – I get these at my local Asian grocery store. We only use a little bit of red peppers here for a pop of bright red color. As a side effect, they also add more heat, so if you want the color without the heat, use thinly sliced red bell pepper instead.
  • Fresh lime juice – This adds a bright tart flavor and helps create balance.
  • Fresh Thai basil leaves – Thai basil adds a fresh punch of peppery, anise flavor.

Instructions

Step 1: Fry the Curry Paste

frying green curry paste

Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Once hot, stir in the green curry paste and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. (Try not to breathe the fumes; it’s hot!)

Step 2: Sear the Chicken

Add the chicken in an even layer, and cook 2 minutes without stirring. Stir in the garlic and galangal, and cook 20 seconds, stirring constantly.

Step 3: Simmer

Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Stir in the eggplant, coconut milk, lime leaves, coconut sugar, fish sauce, and salt. Bring it back up to a simmer, turn the heat down so it’s simmering gently, and cover the skillet with the lid ajar (or just drape a piece of foil over the top). Let it simmer until the eggplant is tender, about 8 minutes.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

top view of skillet with authentic thai green curry recipe with chicken

Remove from the heat and stir in the bamboo shoots, red chile peppers, lime juice, and basil leaves.

Serve along with jasmine rice with any garnishes you like.

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

stoneware bowl with jasmine rice and green thai chicken curry

Tips

Thai Green Curry Paste

You can use homemade or store-bought. Homemade is of course preferred for the best flavor.

For store-bought, if you aren’t allergic to shellfish, Maesri is a highly-recommended option (and you can get it on Amazon!).

However, if you’re allergic to shellfish, a good vegan choice is Mekhala Green Curry Paste (which is also available on Amazon) if you don’t have time to make your own.

Thai Eggplant

chopping thai eggplants

This eggplant is green and white-colored, and about the size of a golf ball. You can look for it in the fresh produce area of Asian grocery stores.

However, if you can’t find Thai eggplant, you can substitute with other types of eggplant, such as Japanese eggplant (thinly sliced) or baby eggplant (sometimes also called Indian eggplant).

Kaffir Lime Leaves

peeling lime
If you can’t find kaffir lime leaves, use the peel of a regular lime instead.

Now called makrut limes, these can sometimes be difficult to find, even at Asian markets. I went to three local Asian grocery stores in my area when I wanted to make this dish and I still couldn’t find these leaves!

Instead, I used three strips of peel from regular limes.

Bamboo Shoots

slicing bamboo shoots

Look for fresh bamboo shoots in the fresh produce area of an Asian grocery store. If you buy them fresh, you can cut them into slices, half-moons, or strips. Alternatively, you can find canned bamboo shoots in the canned goods aisle (or find canned bamboo shoots on Amazon).

Red Thai Chile Peppers

These are mostly just for a little pop of red color in green curry! However, they also add spicy heat. If you want to add a pop of color without adding more spicy heat, you can use 1/4 of a thinly-sliced red bell pepper instead.

front view of bowl of authentic easy thai green chicken curry

Easy Thai Green Curry Recipe FAQs

Which Thai Curry is the Spiciest?

You found it; green curry is the spiciest of the Thai curries!

A main difference between green and red curry is that green curry uses green Thai chile peppers and red curry uses red Thai chile peppers. These peppers start out green, and as they mature, they turn red and their flavor mellows a bit.

What Does Thai Green Curry Taste Like?

The paste (which is the base flavor of the curry) is fresh and bright with the flavors of lemongrass, lime, garlic, and galangal (which is similar to ginger). It has a spicy heat thanks to the green Thai chiles in the paste. There is saltiness from fish sauce and sweetness from coconut sugar. Rich and creamy coconut milk is the ingredient that marries all the flavors together.

What Vegetables Are in Green Curry?

You can use any number of vegetables in this dish! Go with what you like or have on hand. I like to keep everything green or white in a green curry (except the pop of color from the red chiles!).

Here are a few different vegetables that go well in green curry:

  • Thai eggplant
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Mushrooms
  • Green beans
  • Snap peas
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
top view of thai eggplant with other aromatics on wooden table

More Curry Recipes to Make

front view of stoneware bowl with thai curry and rice

Let’s Connect

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Authentic Thai Green Curry Recipe with Chicken (Kaeng Kiew Waan Kai)

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
This easy, authentic Thai green curry recipe (Kaeng Kiew Waan Kai) beautifully marries spicy-hot, salty, subtly sweet, and bright flavors in a coconut milk-based sauce. Chicken makes it filling, and serving it with jasmine rice makes it a hearty meal.

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Ingredients
 

Garnish Ideas:

  • Fresh lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions
 

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Once hot, stir in the green curry paste and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. (Try not to breathe the fumes; it’s hot!)
  • Add the chicken in an even layer, and cook 2 minutes without stirring. Stir in the garlic and galangal, and cook 20 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Stir in the eggplant, coconut milk, lime leaves, coconut sugar, fish sauce, and salt. Bring it back up to a simmer, turn the heat down so it’s simmering gently, and cover the skillet with the lid ajar (or just drape a piece of foil over the top). Let it simmer until the eggplant is tender, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the bamboo shoots, red chile peppers, lime juice, and basil leaves.
  • Serve along with jasmine rice with any garnishes you like.

Notes

  • Nutrition Information: The nutritional information for this recipe was calculated without the jasmine rice for serving or the garnish ideas.
  • Net Carbs: 13g per serving (without the jasmine rice for serving)
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Thai Green Curry Paste: You can use homemade or store-bought. Homemade is of course preferred for the best flavor. If you aren’t allergic to shellfish, Maesri Thai Green Curry Paste is a highly-recommended option (and you can get it on Amazon!). However, if you’re allergic to shellfish, a good vegan choice is Mekhala Green Curry Paste (which is also available on Amazon).
  • Thai Eggplant: This eggplant is green and white-colored, and about the size of a golf ball. You can look for it in the fresh produce area of Asian grocery stores. However, if you can’t find Thai eggplant, you can substitute with other types of eggplant, such as Japanese eggplant (thinly sliced) or baby eggplant (sometimes also called Indian eggplant).
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves: Now called makrut limes, these can sometimes be difficult to find, even at Asian markets. I went to three local Asian grocery stores in my area when I wanted to make this dish and I still couldn’t find these leaves! Instead, I used three strips of peel from regular limes.
  • Bamboo Shoots: Look for these fresh in the fresh produce area of an Asian grocery store. If you buy them fresh, you can cut them into slices, half-moons, or strips. Alternatively, you can find canned bamboo shoots in the canned goods aisle (or find canned bamboo shoots on Amazon).
  • Red Thai Chile Peppers: These are mostly just for a little pop of red color in green curry! However, they also add spicy heat. If you want to add a pop of color without adding more spicy heat, you can use 1/4 of a red bell pepper cut into thin slices instead.
  • Vegan Version: Use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken broth, omit the chicken, and use vegan green curry paste and vegan fish sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 453kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 883mg | Potassium: 698mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2083IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: Authentic Thai Green Curry, Easy Green Curry Recipe, Easy Thai Green Curry Recipe, Green Curry Chicken, Green Curry Chicken Recipe, Green Thai Chicken Curry, Kaeng Kiew Waan Kai, Thai Green Chicken Curry, Thai Green Curry, Thai Green Curry Recipe, Thai Green Curry with Chicken

Share it with me on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

easy green curry recipe pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on September 12, 2014 and updated on August 10, 2022.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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9 Comments

  1. I’m so glad that you had a positive experience with a food you normally dislike! And even better that you were able to recreate it at home. Looks delicious!

  2. This will be a new flavor for my family, it looks great!

  3. Yum! This looks great. I love green curry, although sometimes it borders on too spicy for me. That’s interesting about the cilantro root–I LOVE cilantro, and recently found out cilantro root is a key ingredient in the sauce for kratiem prik thai. ONE time at my local Whole Foods they were selling entire cilantro plants with the roots still attached, so I used them to make the dish (and loved it). I also read online that you can substitute the stems if you can’t find the roots, but that is probably a moot point if you don’t like cilantro :)

  4. I love eating thai green curry’s but have never made my own from scratch before. You have definitely inspired me to do so now.. I definitely will be making the recipe and using prawns instead of chicken.

  5. Beth @ Tasty Yummies says:

    I love this recipe. Such a perfect meal! Yum.

  6. Michelle @ Healthy Recipe Ecstasy says:

    My husband is obsessed with green curry. Like you, I always thought I didn’t like it, but since we’ve been together I’ve been sneaking bigger and bigger bites of his green curry takeout. I’ve been looking for an authentic green curry recipe to make for him. This is perfect! Pinning now!

  7. This is one of my favorite Thai curries. Delicious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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