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Enjoy Your Favorite Take-Out Tastes With This Vegan-Friendly Thai Green Curry

I love Thai food! Even chefs love getting take-out, but some of our favorite dishes may not mesh with all diets. Authentic recipes can have ingredients that may not work with your body chemistry. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. This Thai green curry recipe is guilt-free as it’s vegan-friendly and showcases the magic of fresh ingredients, color, and authentic Thai flavors. 

As a Chinese-American chef, I love sharing my culture with everyone. But, I’ve also had to make alterations. There’s wheat in everything! My sister Elena has celiacs. To keep her from missing out, I committed myself to capturing all of the flavors of our family’s cuisine while making those meals accessible to her. And I do the same with all of my favorite dishes. 

As a chef, I love being able to travel the world from the comfort of my kitchen. I like to make it all even though I may have dietary restrictions. I love making my favorite Chinese classics gluten-free for my sister around the holidays. I love to cook authentic Italian pasta, even though I choose not to eat dairy. I even went through a period where I was obsessed with making Hungarian food. 

Thai food is a personal favorite! Thai curry is a yummy classic and a culinary superstar that showcases the unique flavor profile of Thailand.  I hope that this recipe gives you the chance to enjoy the authentic Thai flavors but still accommodate any dietary restrictions, health choices, or diet limitations. I’ve even included a recipe for green Thai curry paste. 

Thai Green Curry Recipe 

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cup ​brown basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2 ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (can sub with rice vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced or finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 small white onion (sweet onions work too)
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 4 tablespoons of Thai green curry paste (store-bought is okay or scroll down for my Thai curry paste recipe)
  • 14 oz coconut milk (use full fat for richer, creamier version; light coconut milk for a lighter version)
  • ¼ cu[ broth or water (can omit for a heartier sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos (Can substitute with gluten-free tamari, soy sauce, or regular aminos )
  • 1 cup baby spinach, rough chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 1 cup asparagus, ends removed and cut into 2” pieces
  • Himalayan pink salt or sea salt, to taste

 

Vegetable Substitutions 

You can use the above-listed veggies or substitute them with whatever you have on hand. You can also use bell peppers, mushrooms (I love shiitakes), zucchini, green beans, peas, bamboo shoots, or bok choy. Curry is often about the blending of flavors and any veggies can give a unique twist. Feel free to try different vegetables each time you make this recipe. 

 

Optional Garnishes, Substitutions, and Additions

- 2 Thai chilies, chopped (for extra heat)​​

- Fresh cilantro, rough chopped

- Red pepper chili flakes

- Extra-firm tofu, cubed (please choose organic, non-GMO for your healthiest tofu option)

- Your Protein of choice (tempeh, seitan, chicken, fish, or shrimp)

- Can substitute rice for cauliflower rice, broccoli rice, quinoa, wild rice, instead of brown basmati rice

- Chili garlic sauce or sriracha can be added for extra flavor

- Fresh basil or mint

- Toasted nuts (cashews, etc)

- Fresh lime wedges as a garnish

 

How to Cook Rice 

 Rice is the perfect co-star for this meal. Here are my tips for cooking rice. Recipes can vary but I think that preparing 

When using a rice cooker, be sure to follow the instructions for the brand of rice cooker you have. 

To cook rice on a stovetop using this ratio (1 ¼ cup of rice to 2 ½ cups of water). 

If cooking on the stovetop: Use a large pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add rice to the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and allow the rice to cook for about 30-35 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed and the rice is fully cooked and will fluff with a fork. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

 

Instructions

  1. Prepare and cook the rice. 
  2. While the rice is cooking, place a large saute pan or skillet over medium-low heat and add oil.
  3. Sweat the ginger, garlic, and onion with a touch of salt for about 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is slightly golden. Sweating is cooking under low heat as the ingredients release moisture or sweat. This helps bring out the flavor of these important ingredients.
  4. If using vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, or asparagus, add to the skillet and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the curry paste and chilies (optional) and bring the heat up to medium. Stir frequently for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour the coconut milk (and optional broth) into the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow the vegetables to cook until tender for about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Once the vegetables are cooked, add tofu (optional) to warm, and add the spinach and stir into the mixture until the spinach has wilted. 
  8. Remove the curry from heat.
  9. Season the curry with the aminos (tamari or soy sauce), lime juice, lemongrass (optional), and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve over rice and add fresh herbs, pepper flakes, toasted nuts, and lime wedges as garnish
  11. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

 

Green Thai Curry Paste Recipe 

The main star of curry is the curry paste. Making your own can ensure that every part of the recipe fits the flavors you enjoy. Also, if you’re like me you may enjoy taking time to slowly make every part of your meal. 

Ingredients 

2 hot green Thai chilies 

1 tablespoon chopped shallots

1 teaspoon chopped galangal 

1/2 teaspoon chopped kaffir lime rind

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass

1 tablespoon chopped krachai

1/4 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon roasted coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until they form a paste. For a more rustic version, you can use a mortar and pestle to crush the spices. 

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