What is Green Curry?

A Kaminsky

A mixture of spices and aromatics, curry is a catch-all name for the spice blends so popular in Asian cooking. Most people are familiar with the yellow curry of India, redolent with cumin and turmeric. However, Thai cuisine also features curry, and one of the more popular kinds is green curry.

Thai basil is often used in Thai green curry.
Thai basil is often used in Thai green curry.

Like all curry blends, green curry varies in composition and flavor, depending on the cook. A basic recipe includes green chiles, onion, coriander, lime juice and rind, lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce, cumin and ginger. It is usually sold as a paste in stores. A cook will “fry” the paste in order to release the aromatics and will mix it with coconut milk, chicken broth or other liquids to create a curry entrée.

Green curry typically includes garlic.
Green curry typically includes garlic.

Thai green curry differs from Indian curry in more than color. While Thai curry also includes cumin, the cumin flavor is not nearly as dominant in this dish. Green curry has a sweeter, more complex flavor. With the addition of the lime and lemongrass, there are also citrus undertones. Often, keffir leaves and basil leaves are added to the dish right before serving, in order to maximize their aromas.

A dish made with this seasoning may include a variety of ingredients, including rice, noodles, meat and vegetables. A common Thai dish is green curry noodles with some kind of meat or chicken. It may be mild or hot, depending on the amount of hot peppers it contains, and according to the cook’s preference. It is usually one of the milder curries in Thai cuisine.

Thai green curry paste is found in most supermarkets with an Asian foods aisle, in small jars. It should be kept refrigerated. Making a green curry blend from scratch, however, will probably require a trip to a local Asian market for items like keffir leaves and lemongrass.

Coriander is often included in green curry.
Coriander is often included in green curry.

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Discussion Comments


How does green curry taste with mutton? I know it's not as spicy as the red curry, but it's still a bit hot I think.

Maybe I should try the yellow curry instead. I've never had any of them and I'm not sure what to expect.

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