Thai Green Curry

Thai curries can be a lifesaver on busy days. Or at the very least a timesaver. I usually have jars of homemade Thai curry pastes — red and green — sitting around in my freezer, and I pull one out for those nights when I don’t have much time to fuss around with a fancy recipe, but want something extraordinarily delicious anyway.

If you invest some time in making the paste and freezing it beforehand, it takes just moments to chop up some veggies, pull out a can of coconut milk, and whip up a lipsmacking curry that makes for a very special meal when served with nothing more than simple boiled rice.

While it’s easy enough to just buy the curry paste from any Asian grocery store (it keeps forever in the refrigerator), I make my own for two reasons: I like making things from scratch, and– importantly– most store-bought versions are not vegetarian.

The paste recipe does require some special ingredients from the Asian store: lemon grass, for instance, and galangal, a ginger-like rhizome with a unique flavor. You can substitute this with ginger, at a pinch. Once you have assembled the ingredients, you will have enough paste to make the curry many times over.

I substitute the shrimp paste that’s usually found in Thai green curry paste recipes with some Worcestershire sauce (make sure you get the vegan kind because there are non-vegetarian versions out there) or just Tamari, as I did this time. If removing the shrimp paste makes a difference, I haven’t noticed it.

I made this Thai-style curry for Harini or Sunshinemom’s Food in Colors: Green event. True to its name, the curry has a lovely, pale-green hue complemented by the dark green basil and the zucchini.

So here you go, first with the paste and then with the curry. Enjoy!

Thai Green Curry Paste


1 tbsp tamari soy sauce

3 stalks of lemon grass. Discard the tough outer leaves and use the lower part of the stalks. Chop.

1-inch piece of galangal, grated (can substitute with ginger)

Zest of one lime

4-5 hot green chillies, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

6-8 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

20-25 peppercorns, powdered

1 tsp coriander seeds, powdered

5-6 cloves, powdered

1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

Grind all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. If needed, add some more oil. Put in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in refrigerator or in the freezer, if you intend to hold on to it for a while.

Thai-style Green Curry


3 yellow potatoes, diced and then boiled until just tender (you can leave out the potatoes and use any mix of vegetables in the curry including green beans, bell peppers, carrots…)

2 medium zucchini, diced

1 large onion, sliced finely

1 tbsp grated ginger

2 small hot green chilies, finely minced

1 package silken extra firm tofu, cut into 1/3 inch cubes (make sure you get the SILKEN extra firm — I used Nasoya brand–because the texture makes all the difference. Soft or even firm tofu won’t hold their shape in the curry and regular extra firm tofu is too textured for my liking. The silken extra firm tofu also does a great job of sucking in the wonderful flavors of this curry.)

1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

2-3 heaping tbsp green curry paste (recipe above)

1 14-oz can coconut milk

1 tbsp sugar

Salt to taste

8-10 basil leaves, rolled up and cut into ribbons

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and stir for a few minutes until translucent but not brown.

Add the ginger and green chillies and stir for a minute.

Add the green curry paste and fry, stirring constantly, until the paste becomes fragrant and begins to express the oil.

Add the potatoes and stir for a few seconds

Add the zucchini and stir again until the vegetable starts to tenderize

Add half the coconut milk and salt to taste. Let the curry simmer on low heat until the zucchini is just tender with a slight bite.

Add the remaining coconut milk, tofu, sugar and salt and just warm through before turning off the heat.

Add the basil and stir in.

Serve hot with plain boiled rice. A squirt of fresh lemon or lime juice tastes great with this.
Here’s a recipe for Thai Red Curry Paste, and more Thai-inspired recipes.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Hi Vaishali, Again a totally new recipe for me, with all the more new ingredients. Learning a lot from your blog:-)Hope i get to taste them too sometime! I came across thai curry in A_and_N’s blog too sometime ago. Should try to make this myself and see. great effort and patience in making all the pastes from scratch. did i say the pic is tempting too?:-)

  2. says

    That’s cool that you can substitute the shrimp paste with Worcestershire sauce or tamari. Good to have that info on file! My gigantic Asian grocery store carries vegan fish sauce too, but I don’t always have it around. I think it’s mostly made up of fermented soy & some sugar. Your curry looks so good, especially for a cold cloudy day. :o)

  3. says

    Shreya, Thanks. I do enjoy making pastes and masalas from scratch because the flavor is much better. It also doesn’t take that much time.

    Destiny, Thanks. Vegan fish sauce? That’s something I’ve never seen before. Sounds intriguing.

    Usha, thanks for your kind words, dear.

    Raaji, Lemongrass is easily available in Asian or Thai grocery stores. I am sure you must have one in your area. I even remember seeing it sold in Bombay markets when I lived there.

  4. says

    Thanks for the recipe to the green paste (I haven’t tried this dish yet!) and for sending it to FIC. I was going to make a dessert this weekend, and we ended up making it yesterday – infact its my son who made it – will be sending it your event soon – got to take better pictures:)

  5. says

    Good one !! A wonderful vegan twist to the original one with fish sauce. Am looking forward to making itthis way. And I truly classify this curry as comfort food in winter. Steaming rice or pad thai with this curry. Yummy. Again nice post.

  6. says

    yup, total live savers. I even add them to rice/couscous aka fried rice style sometimes, hehe. I bought some coconut milk powder a few months back cos I don’t use up a whole can of coconut milk in one go and have to start scurrying for recipes to use the rest. I just got done with my stock of pastes, a perfect time to try your recipe.

  7. says

    my fav, but i like red one better. u r right abt homemade one tasting better than store bought. there u know what exact ingredient goes into making it.

  8. says

    This looks just delicious … and seems reasonably easy to prepare. Thank you for sharing it … I can’t wait to try it! I’ve added your blog to my blog roll … I don’t want to miss any of your recipes. Thanks, again! :-)

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