Thai royal green chicken curry

Tom Kime's fragrant curry sauce can be used for shellfish, beef or vegetables as well as chicken
By Tom Kime
Thai royal green chicken curry
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the curry

  • 300 ml coconut cream
  • 8-12 new potatoes, cut into 3
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2.5 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 strings young green peppercorns, (optional)
  • 2 stems lemongrass, root trimmed, tough outside leaves removed, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • 1 orange, juice only
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 150 g trimmed green beans, or mange tout or asparagus)
  • 20 coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 15 Thai basil, coarsely chopped
  • 2 small green chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • lime wedges, to serve

For the cooked curry paste

  • 4 stems lemongrass, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 root galangal or ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 lime leaves, torn
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 limes
  • 6 green chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 6 coriander roots, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 small Spanish red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 400 ml coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce

Tips and Suggestions

If you dont have a food processor you could make the paste by hand in a pestle and mortar or in a blender.

Most of these ingredients are in your store cupboard and all are widely available.

When you are cooking out the paste, because the harder ingredients contain less water, they will become aromatic last, so you will smell the onion and lime first, then the green chilli and coriander root and finally, the lemongrass and galangal at the end of the cooking out.


1. For the cooked curry paste: put the lemon grass, garlic, galangal, lime leaves and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground.

2. Zest one of the limes, then remove the pith and cut the flesh into small pieces. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime and set aside.

3. Add the green chilli, coriander root, onion, lime zest and flesh. Continue to process into a semi-smooth paste, adding a splash of water if necessary, to help the ingredients bind. (The paste can now be cooked immediately, or stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, or frozen.)

4. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the curry paste, stir in the turmeric and cook over a low-medium heat, stirring to avoid it sticking, for about 15-20 minutes. It will dry out, becoming more concentrated and aromatic.

5. Stir in the coconut cream and simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by about one-third.

6. Stir in the reserved lime juice and fish sauce. (At this stage, the paste can be used for the curry or stored in the fridge for up to 1 week, or frozen in portion sizes see Cooks tips below).

7. For the curry: heat 150g of the cooked curry paste over a medium heat until steaming.

8. Stir in half the coconut cream and bring to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook until softened.

9. Season the chicken breasts with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

10. Pre-heat a griddle pan or grill and grill the chicken for 3 or 4 minutes on each side until golden brown, bar-marked and caramelised. (It does not need to be cooked all the way through.) Set aside.

11. Add the ginger, peppercorns (if using) and half of the lemon grass to the sauce and simmer gently on a low heat stirring occasionally to stop from sticking. Take care to stir gently so that you do not break up any of the ingredients. Thin the paste with a little water if necessary.

12. Stir in the tamarind pulp, half the lime juice, orange juice and fish sauce.

13. Slice the grilled chicken and add it to the simmering curry sauce. Add the green beans and half the coriander and basil and continue to gently simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced. Before serving, taste the sauce and adjust the balance of seasoning if necessary, adding more lime juice, if necessary.

14. To serve, sprinkle the finished curry with the remaining chopped herbs, reserved lemon grass, chopped green chilli, spring onions and lime wedges.

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