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Author Notes: Making green curry paste from scratch is fun, and surprisingly easy. Homemade green curry paste is tastier and more beautiful than any jarred product you can buy from the supermarket. This recipe yields about 2.5 cups of green curry paste, so freeze the extra green curry paste in ice cube molds, and then use one cube for serving 2-3 people.
This green curry recipe features shrimp and baby bok choy, but please feel free to get creative and substitute and combination of protein and vegetables you want.
This recipe is meant to be accessible and easy to make on weeknights, so some traditional Thai ingredients are omitted because they might be hard to find for many home cooks (shrimp paste, galangal, cilantro root). Instead, I have substituted fish sauce, fresh ginger, and cilantro leaves.
The recipe below doesn't include rice as an ingredient, but I do recommend serving this curry over warm rice. —Josh Cohen
Serves 2-3 people
To Make the Green Curry Paste
- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
- 3 stalks lemongrass, tender bottom parts only
- 3 ounces serrano peppers
- 1 bunch Thai basil, just the leaves
- 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems
- 5 shallots, cleaned and roughly chopped
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 knob ginger (about 1 inch), peeled and sliced
To Make the Curry
- canola oil
- 1/2 pound shrimp, shell removed and deveined
- 1 can of coconut milk (13.5 oz)
- 2 tablespoons green curry paste
- 2 lime leaves (optional)
- 2 heads baby bok choy
- 2 limes, cut in half
- 1 handful cilantro leaves
- 1 handful Thai basil leaves
- To make the green curry paste, begin by toasting the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and white peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the fragrance of the dry spices becomes noticeable, remove the skillet from the heat. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder and blend until they are finely ground.
- Add the ground spices to a food processor. Roughly chop the lemongrass and serrano peppers, and add them to the food processor, along with the Thai basil leaves and the cilantro (leaves and stems). Pulse the food processor until the ingredients are roughly chopped. If you can't fit all the Thai basil and cilantro in the food processor at one time, add and pulse it in batches.
- Add the shallots, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, and ginger to the food processor. Blend all the ingredients for 2-3 minutes, until the curry paste looks homogenous and fairly smooth. Pause the food processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- You should have about 2.5 cups of curry paste. If you want, you can freeze it in ice cube molds, and it will last in your freezer for months. To make a portion of green curry, you will need about 1 ice cube worth of curry paste (about 2 tablespoons).
- To make the curry, set a large pot or dutch oven over high heat and add just enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pot. When the oil just begins to faintly smoke, add the shrimp in a single even layer. Let the shrimp cook, undisturbed, until the underside of the shrimp looks nicely caramelized (about 2-3 minutes). When the underside of the shrimp looks golden brown, flip the shrimp and cook one additional minute, so that the shrimp are just cooked through. Shut the heat but leave the pot on the burner, and use tongs to remove the shrimp to a plate. Set the shrimp aside for now.
- Add the can of coconut milk to the pot on the stove and return the heat to low. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot, releasing any flavorful caramelized shrimp bits. Add the lime leaves (if using) and add 2 Tablespoons of curry paste. Stir to mix the curry paste in with the coconut milk, and let the coconut milk simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
- While the coconut milk is simmering, cut the stem off each head of bok choy, separate the leaves, and wash the leaves thoroughly under cold running water. Cut the thick white stems into 1/2 inch pieces, and cut the tender green leaf into wider 1 inch pieces. By the time you're done prepping the bok choy, the coconut milk will likely have been simmering for about 10 minutes, so add the bok choy to the pot and cook with the lid on for about 3-4 minutes, until the greens have wilted and the white stem pieces are cooked through.
- Remove the lid and add the shrimp back into the pot. Add the juice of one and half limes, along with a pinch of salt. Stir the curry. Taste the curry. Add more lime juice and/or more salt as necessary. If you have a half of a lime left over, save it for later and squeeze it into your water when you want a refreshing drink.
- Right before serving the curry, add the cilantro leaves and Thai basil leaves. Serve immediately. Enjoy.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!