I remember having a Thai red curry with mangoes many, many years ago when we were on vacation - it was a small restaurant and the owner's wife was Thai, so there were some Thai inspired dishes on the menu and this red curry was one of them. The very fact that I remember it after all these years should tell you how delicious the curry was!
When I started thinking about making a mango curry, I didn't want to use a canned paste, instead, I wanted to play around with some of the Thai pantry essentials that I had in my kitchen. I love the combination of kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass in a curry - if you have never smelled them sauteing in your kitchen, you are seriously missing out on something! After that it was dash of fish sauce, a glug of mushroom soy sauce (this is the sauce used in making Pad see ew) and some rice vinegar and this curry came together in no time at all! The addition of the mangoes gives it an additional layer of sweet and tart flavor, which helps to balance out the spiciness of the curry. Enjoy! —Madhuja
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe results in a delicious combination of hot, sour, sweet and savory. As authentic Thai as I’ve ever prepared. There is a bit of prep work, but once you have your mise en place it comes together in no time and simmers just long enough to cook the rice. (I used basmati, but jasmine would have been the bomb). The two elements that really shine are the curry paste and the mango. My mangos weren’t ideally ripe so I opted to add the optional brown sugar. I probably didn’t need to because as the mango heated through during the last few minute’s simmer, they became just soft enough and even seemed to sweeten up a bit. Due to ingredient availability I used jalapeno peppers completely seeded with ribs removed. (I like very spicy food and this was plenty hot for me.) I used jarred shredded kaffir lime leaves and galangal paste I found at my local Indian grocery as they were out of fresh. I was skeptical but these ingredients worked quite well. (The products’ website is www.thaitaste.us.com). I also used a Vietnamese chili garlic sauce, Tuong Ot Toi by Hoy Fong (the Rooster Sriracha people) and homemade chicken stock. I love Thai food and Madhuja’s recipe really impressed me with its fresh, bright and spicy flavors. Definitely a keeper. —Gmarkb
stalk lemongrass, white and pale green parts only, roughly chopped up
Kaffir lime leaves, thick stalk discarded, roughly torn up
shallots, roughly chopped up
Serrano peppers, roughly chopped (seeded, if you like less heat)
1" piece of galangal, thickly sliced (can be substituted with 1 tbsp of ginger paste)
red bell peppers, small diced
chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
chili-garlic paste (I use Sambal Oelek)
mushroom soy sauce (available in Asian grocery stores)
low sodium chicken stock
coconut milk (about 1 can)
ripe mangoes, but not super mushy, falling apart kind of ripe, cut into big cubes (I prefer Ataulfo)
Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, Serrano peppers and garlic cloves to a food processor and blend it to a smooth paste.
Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to a big pot and on medium heat start sauteing the paste. You won't believe how good this is going to smell! Throw in the sliced galangal in the pot (or the ginger paste) and stir frequently. Don't let the garlic burn!
After sauteing the paste for 5-8 minutes, add the diced bell pepper. Saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the chicken and saute for about 3-5 minutes.
Add the chili-garlic paste, rice vinegar, fish sauce, mushroom soy sauce, chicken stock and coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover with a lid and bring the heat down to medium low. Let it simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
Add the mangoes and let it simmer it for a few more minutes. Don't let the mangoes disintegrate! Depending on how sweet your mangoes are, add the brown sugar and taste for seasoning. You can fish out the hard pieces of galangal at this point, because those are not meant to be eaten.
Garnish with crushed peanuts, chopped cilantro and serve immediately with steamed rice. Enjoy!