Recipe: Thai Red Curry

The real essence of this dish lies in its curry paste which is an exotic blend of fresh herbs and spices.

Madiha Hamid March 05, 2013

Known as ‘Panang Gai’ in Thailand, Thai Red Curry is one of the most popular Thai dishes. The real essence of this dish lies in its curry paste which is an exotic blend of fresh herbs and spices such Kaffir lime, galangal, lemongrass, garlic, onion and red chilies. Although, these ingredients are not readily available in Pakistan, an imported Thai curry paste can be the perfect substitute to get those aromatic flavours of an original Thai curry.

Note: Avoid using dried versions of kaffir leaves, galangal or basil. That will only ruin the flavour.


Red curry paste 2-3 tbsp

Water 250 ml

Coconut milk 500 ml

Kaffir lime 4 leaves

Pumpkin cubes (optional) 200g

Clear chicken broth (optional) ½ cup

Fish sauce 6 tbsp

Chicken (sliced thinly) 400g

Basil 20 leaves


•  Take half of the coconut milk in a pan and bring it to boil.

•  Add curry paste into the boiling coconut milk and mix it well.

•  Add kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and meat to the mixture. Also pour in the chicken broth if you’re using it and cook till the meat is tender.

•  Pour the remaining coconut milk to the curry along with water and pumpkin cubes. Cook till the pumpkin is soft. (You can add more water if pumpkin is still undercooked)

•  Place some Thai basil leaves in the curry and let it simmer for 2 minutes.

•  Serve hot with steamed rice.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Serves 3 people

Madiha Hamid is a digital media professional. She loves the food traditions unique to families. She is running a food blog for Pakistani and regional cuisines called

Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, March 3rd, 2013.

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Asad | 8 years ago | Reply

@Madiha Hamid: Thanks Madiha, will definitely try it out with Thai basil next time! By the way, do you use condensed coconut milk or canned milk?

Madiha Hamid | 8 years ago | Reply

Thanks Asad for sharing the tips. I agree that at times paste leaves lumps but if whisked well it can mix together. Instead of coriander, i would suggest using thai basil leaves (niaz bo in urdu). It gives an authentic flavour and also adds colour contrast.

In my experience, good coconut milk plays a huge rule in flavouring the red curry.

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