Lemongrass Coconut Noodles with Shrimp

This Thai-inspired noodle stir-fry is tossed with fresh veggies, tender shrimp, and a zesty lemongrass coconut sauce. Easy to make and full the best bright and citrusy flavors! Say hello to the lemongrass coconut noodle stir-fry that we have been loving here lately. ♡ It’s loosely inspired by Thai tom kha (coconut soup), which happens […]

This Thai-inspired noodle stir-fry is tossed with fresh veggies, tender shrimp, and a zesty lemongrass coconut sauce. Easy to make and full the best bright and citrusy flavors!

Lemongrass Coconut Noodles with Shrimp

Say hello to the lemongrass coconut noodle stir-fry that we have been loving here lately. ♡

It’s loosely inspired by Thai tom kha (coconut soup), which happens to be my husband’s all-time favorite soup and one that we’ve both been craving lately now that it’s finally cooling off and feeling like autumn here in Barcelona. Instead of simmering those classic creamy, citrusy, earthy, sweet and slightly-spicy flavors into a big pot of soup broth, though, they are condensed into a rich coconut stir-fry sauce and tossed with a simple stir-fry and rice noodles for this recipe. And the end result is bursting bright, fresh flavors and absolutely delicious.

Fresh lemongrass — with its uniquely citrusy, minty, earthy flavor — is the starring ingredient in this coconut sauce and one that you definitely won’t want to skip. So the next time you’re at the market, be sure to pick up a few stalks of fresh lemongrass or a tube of lemongrass paste to brighten up that creamy coconut milk sauce. Along with it, we will simmer a generous amount of fresh ginger, the juice of one fresh lime, your desired amount of brown sugar and a splash of fish sauce for extra umami flavor. To be sure, this list of ingredients is notably different than those used in the broth of authentic Thai tom kha gai (which traditionally uses galangal in place of ginger, kaffir limes in place of fresh lime juice, palm sugar in place of brown sugar, etc — any of which I would completely encourage you to sub into this lemongrass coconut sauce recipe if you’d like). I initially just improvised this recipe one evening with the ingredients that I already happened to have stocked in my kitchen, so the recipe is written accordingly below.

Since my husband is pescatarian, we’ve typically been turning to shrimp as the main protein for our stir-fry. But the lemongrass coconut sauce recipe included here is actually completely vegan (also gluten-free), so feel free to swap in crispy tofu to make this recipe completely plant-based, or you can of course substitute any other meat in place of the shrimp, such as chicken, steak or pork. Feel free to also toss in whatever veggies you love best that happen to be hanging out in your crisper drawer. And if you can, I highly recommend tracking some some fresh Thai basil to fold into the stir-fry too — it’s optional but so, so good.

Alright, grab that lemongrass and let’s get to stir-frying!

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Thai Basil Fried Rice

Thai basil fried rice is a delicious way to use this fragrant herb! Thai basil infuses a delicate anise flavor…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Thai basil fried rice is a delicious way to use this fragrant herb! Thai basil infuses a delicate anise flavor into this satisfying dish.

Thai basil fried rice

Got Thai basil? Here’s a great way to use it: Thai Basil Fried Rice! We have an abundant Thai basil plant in our garden, along with our Italian sweet basil. It’s got purple stems and a delicate black licorice flavor that’s absolutely irresistible. Add it to fried rice, and it infuses an irresistible aroma that makes it impossible not to take another bite. It’s a great way to use this herb if you have it on hand! We could not stop sneaking bites of this one.

What is Thai basil?

Thai basil is a type of basil with an anise or black licorice flavor that’s native to Southeast Asia. It has a purple stem, purple flowers, and thin, dark green leaves. It’s used in Southeast Asian cuisine, including Thai, Cambodian, Lao, and Vietnamese recipes.

How to use Thai basil in recipes? Try it in this Thai Basil Noodle Bowl, a spin on a spring roll in bowl form, in Fresh Spring Rolls, or to garnish Coconut Shrimp Curry. But one of our favorite ways? In this Thai basil fried rice.

Thai Basil

Ingredients in Thai basil fried rice

Thai basil fried rice is a delicious way to use fresh Thai basil. The dish itself is a popular mix of cooked rice, egg and vegetables that you’ll find in many Asian cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Cambodian, Indonesian, and more. This recipe is a spin on our basic fried rice that adds fresh Thai basil (it’s not a traditional Thai-style fried rice). Here fish sauce adds big savory flavor and pairs well with the Thai basil. You can omit it if you prefer to keep it vegetarian, but it adds a distinct savory flavor. Here’s what you need for this fried rice:

  • Veggies: onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, peas
  • Sesame oil
  • Eggs
  • Jasmine rice
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Thai basil
Thai basil fried rice

Start with day old rice

The most basic adage when you’re making fried rice? Use day old rice. What’s the purpose of this:

  • Freshly cooked rice has a lot of moisture. Try using fresh rice in fried rice, it clumps together and turns out soggy.
  • Day old rice is dried out. The grains stay separate and form that signature fried rice texture. Use leftover rice stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • What if you don’t have day old rice? Well, we usually forget to cook it in advance. Here’s a trick…

Shortcut: freeze the rice 10 minutes!

Often when we’re craving fried rice, we don’t have leftover rice on hand. Here’s a little shortcut if you want to make up a fresh pot for this Thai basil fried rice:

  • Make the rice. Here’s How to Make Jasmine Rice (or make it in an Instant Pot).
  • Spread on a tray and freeze 10 minutes: Spread the freshly cooked, steaming rice onto a rimmed sheet pan or tray. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for about 10 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.

Vegan variation

Want to make Thai basil fried rice but want it to be plant based? You can substitute a tofu scramble for the egg! Simply make this Easy Tofu Scramble before you make the rice, making the pieces of tofu very small. Then make the rice without the egg, and add the tofu crumbles in the very last step.

Thai basil fried rice

Make it a meal: how to serve Thai basil fried rice

Once you’ve made up this batch of Thai basil fried rice, how to make it into a meal? Here are a couple ways to round it out:

This Thai basil fried rice recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print
Thai basil fried rice

Thai Basil Fried Rice


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow or white onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (about 1 inch nub)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice, at least 1 day old or cooled using the shortcut below*
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup Thai basil leaves
  • Optional: 1 pound medium small shrimp (size 51 to 60), shelled and deveined, frozen or fresh**

Instructions

  1. Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Mince the ginger. Peel the carrots, then dice them.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil medium high. Sauté the carrots and onion for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the rice, peas and salt for 1 minute.
  3. Push the rice to the side. Add 1 tablespoon more oil. Add the eggs and pinch of salt, and scramble them in for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce, if using. Taste and add additional soy sauce if necessary. Heat for a minute or two, stirring, until all rice is coated. Add the Thai basil and turn off the heat, stirring until it wilts. Serve hot.

Notes

*Trick: If you don’t have day old rice, here’s a shortcut. Make the rice. Then spread it onto a rimmed sheet pan and put it into the freezer. Freeze for about 10 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.

**If serving with shrimp, sauté the shrimp before making the rice: Pat the shrimp dry. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil on medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook about 1 minute per side until just opaque cooked through, turning them with tongs. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Remove to a bowl and set aside while you cook the rice, then add them to the rice when it’s done.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian inspired

Keywords: Thai basil fried rice

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

How to Cook Like Pepper Teigen (& Eat Like Chrissy)

Pepper Teigen’s new release, The Pepper Thai Cookbook: Family Recipes from Everyone’s Favorite Thai Mom, is exactly what our cookbook libraries need right now. Penned with Los Angeles food writer and cookbook author Garrett Snyder, the Instagram-famous…

Pepper Teigen's new release, The Pepper Thai Cookbook: Family Recipes from Everyone's Favorite Thai Mom, is exactly what our cookbook libraries need right now. Penned with Los Angeles food writer and cookbook author Garrett Snyder, the Instagram-famous mom of Chrissy Teigen shares her most beloved recipes from her childhood in Isaan, Thailand, dishes she crafted specially for husband Ron's bar in Washington, and family favorites from the Teigen-Legend home in Los Angeles. This is definitely one book to cook your way entirely through.

The stories behind each plate, bowl, and skewer will entice you to pull the fish sauce, tamarind paste, and coconut milk from your pantry and use each one to its fullest potential. We emailed with Pepper, and she answered every question we had until we were satisfied (although she's so entertaining and such a talented cook that we may never truly be satisfied).

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Coconut Tofu Curry

This tofu curry recipe is a family favorite! Coconut and red curry paste pack a punch in this quick healthy dinner idea. Here’s a dinner that takes just 30 minutes and results in so much flavor…you’ll put it on your regular rotation immediately. Try this Tofu Curry recipe! The brilliant red broth is flavored with coconut milk and red curry paste, with the zing of lime and a hint of spicy sweetness. The Thai-style flavors are the perfect way to introduce tofu to those wary of it. And if you’re already a lover (like us!), you’ll appreciate this delightfully colorful way to serve it. Here’s what to know! What’s a curry, anyway? The word “curry” is actually a Western invention to poorly describe the nuance of what colonizers observed in foreign cuisines (see Bon Appetit). Today, the word is used to describe a dish with a spiced sauce and meat or vegetables, often eaten with rice or flatbread like naan. “Curry” is made in many countries, including India, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and England. In this recipe, we honor the flavor traditions of a Thai-style red curry. After traveling in Southeast Asia and experiencing the flavors of the region, we […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This tofu curry recipe is a family favorite! Coconut and red curry paste pack a punch in this quick healthy dinner idea.

Tofu curry

Here’s a dinner that takes just 30 minutes and results in so much flavor…you’ll put it on your regular rotation immediately. Try this Tofu Curry recipe! The brilliant red broth is flavored with coconut milk and red curry paste, with the zing of lime and a hint of spicy sweetness. The Thai-style flavors are the perfect way to introduce tofu to those wary of it. And if you’re already a lover (like us!), you’ll appreciate this delightfully colorful way to serve it. Here’s what to know!

What’s a curry, anyway?

The word “curry” is actually a Western invention to poorly describe the nuance of what colonizers observed in foreign cuisines (see Bon Appetit). Today, the word is used to describe a dish with a spiced sauce and meat or vegetables, often eaten with rice or flatbread like naan. “Curry” is made in many countries, including India, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and England.

In this recipe, we honor the flavor traditions of a Thai-style red curry. After traveling in Southeast Asia and experiencing the flavors of the region, we were impressed by the way Southeast Asian curries capture a wide rainbow of flavors. Coconut milk, ginger, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, chili peppers, sugar, and lime are traditional in Thai and Cambodian curry. Together these flavors make an irresistibly tasty broth! While we don’t have Thai or Cambodian heritage, but this tofu curry recipe honors some of the flavor combinations typical in recipes of that region.

Tofu coconut curry

Ingredients in this tofu curry recipe

This tofu curry recipe is modeled after a Southeast Asian red curry, using red curry paste and coconut milk. It’s also packed with veggies that are typical of this style of curry: that happen to pack a big nutritional punch, too. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tofu: look for firm or extra firm for this recipe
  • Yellow onion
  • Bell pepper: A medium red bell pepper provides 169% of your daily vitamin C (source)
  • Garlic
  • Fresh green beans: You can find long fresh green beans in the produce section in bulk or packaged
  • Bamboo shoots: Look for them in the canned section! They add a tangy flair that’s uniquely tasty
  • Red curry paste: The flavor maker! See below for more about this special ingredient
  • Brown sugar, soy sauce and lime: these make the perfect tangy sweet combination; substitute tamari if desired
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil adds a nice coconut scent; we typically use refined but unrefined also works
  • Coconut milk: Use only full-fat or regular here for the right richness and body
  • Sambal oelek: Customize your heat level with this hot sauce

More about red curry paste: what to look for & brands

Red curry paste is a jarred paste that takes all the flavor of a Thai curry and concentrates it into a paste. It’s a shortcut for Western kitchens: In traditional Thai cooking, you’d make it with the real ingredients! Curry paste is made with chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, cumin, coriander, and more. It brings incredible flavor and lasts for months in the fridge. This tofu coconut curry is a red curry, so you’ll need red curry paste. A few notes on this ingredient:

  • It ranges from mild to medium spicy, based on the brand. We like Thai kitchen curry paste because it’s very mild but brings big flavor. But there are many great brands to try. Make sure to taste your curry paste before using it! If it’s very spicy, use less than the recipe specifies.
  • Find it near the Thai products in most grocery stores. It keeps for months in the refrigerator and you can use it in lots more recipes. You can also buy it online: Thai Kitchen red curry paste.
Tofu curry recipe

Add back the heat with sambal oelek or Sriracha

The base of this tofu curry recipe is pretty mild. If you love Thai food, you know: it can be very spicy. We love the heat over here, but more of a medium level. Because we’re always cooking for a 4 year old too, we generally keep our base curry recipe mild and then add hot sauce at the table. Here are some notes about the heat in this tofu red curry:

  • Use hot sauce to taste! The 1 teaspoon hot sauce in this recipe adds a mild amount of heat. If you’d like medium, double it. For very spicy, use as much as you’d like! As we mentioned, it’s nice to do this in your bowl vs the entire pan: but it’s up to you.
  • Hot sauces that work well here include:
    • Sambal oelek, an Indonesian chili sauce made of chili peppers, garlic, ginger and lime. It has a chunky texture and little to no sugar.
    • Sriracha, a smooth hot sauce that originated from Thailand made of chile peppers, vinegar, garlic and sugar
    • Garlic chili sauce, similar to Sriracha with a chunkier texture, made with chilies and lots of garlic. It tastes a little brighter than Sriracha and has more nuance.

What to serve with tofu curry: jasmine rice and more

This tofu curry is a Thai-style red curry, so it’s most authentic to serve it with rice. Don’t add naan: that’s for an Indian-style curry! Here’s the best type of rice to serve alongside:

  • Jasmine rice (best fit): Jasmine rice is also called Thai fragrant rice: because of its beautiful popcorn-like nutty flavor. Try Stovetop Jasmine Rice or  Instant Pot Jasmine Rice.
  • Basmati rice (also works): Basmati rice also works, but it’s less fragrant and more often used for Indian curries. See Stovetop Basmati Rice and Instant Pot Basmati Rice.
  • Jade rice (for fun!): Jade rice is a fun option: it’s naturally dyed green using bamboo extract and has a fluffy texture almost like couscous. We served the squash curry this way and it was excellent. 

And that’s it! Let us know what you think of this tofu coconut curry. It’s become a favorite around here, and we hope you love it too!

Tofu red curry

Is tofu healthy?

Last up: let’s clear up one thing. There’s a lot of misinformation around tofu! But eating tofu several times per week is part of a healthy diet. Per to the Harvard School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an alternative to red meat and processed meat. For more, go to Straight Talk About Soy and Is Tofu Good for You?

More great tofu recipes

While we used to avoid tofu, but it’s now one of our favorites for quick and easy plant based meals! This tofu curry recipe is a whole food plant based dinner that’s full of huge flavor and lots of nutrients. Here are some of our other favorite ways to eat tofu:

This tofu curry recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free

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Tofu curry

Coconut Tofu Curry


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This tofu curry recipe is a family favorite! Coconut and red curry paste pack a punch in this quick healthy dinner idea.


Ingredients

  • Jasmine rice, for serving
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, divided 
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cups long green beans
  • 1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, drained
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 15-ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice 
  • 1 teaspoon Sambal oelek, Sriracha, or chili garlic sauce (optional), plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. Start the jasmine rice (use Stovetop Jasmine Rice or Instant Pot Jasmine Rice).
  2. Pan fry the tofu: Pat the tofu dry with a towel. Cut it into large cubes (about 1/2 inch x 1 inch). Melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the tofu cubes and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and cook 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom. Briefly remove the pan from the heat to reduce spitting and flip the tofu with a spatula. Return the heat to medium high and cook another 5 to 6 minutes until browned. Remove the tofu to a bowl and set aside. 
  3. Prep the veggies: While the tofu cooks, mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Thinly slice the bell pepper
  4. Cook the curry: In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute 5 minutes, until it is translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper and green beans and saute for 3 minutes. 
  5. Add the bamboo shoots, red curry paste, coconut milk, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and Sambal oelek (if using). Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the tofu and cook about 5 to 8 minutes until the sauce is thickened and the veggies are tender. Taste and add additional Sambal oelek to your desired spice level.
  6. Serve: To serve, spoon the tofu and sauce over rice. Store refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Thai inspired

Keywords: Tofu curry, Tofu curry recipe, Tofu red curry, tofu coconut curry

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Wet Markets Are Essential to Thai Cooking. So Why Are They Disappearing?

In the harrowing early days of the pandemic, Prin Polsuk, a preeminent chef and scholar of Thai cuisine, could source many of his ingredients directly from farms and suppliers outside of Bangkok. But still, he visited Khlong Toei, one of the largest we…

In the harrowing early days of the pandemic, Prin Polsuk, a preeminent chef and scholar of Thai cuisine, could source many of his ingredients directly from farms and suppliers outside of Bangkok. But still, he visited Khlong Toei, one of the largest wet markets in Thailand, almost every day.

“The market makes me feel alive,” he tells me over a choppy video call, his youthful face framed by salt-and-pepper scruff. “I go there to get inspired.”

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Ghee-Smoked Chicken That Comes Together on Your Grill

“It started with—let me set the scene—me eating at a stateside Thai restaurant many years ago,” cookbook author Leela Punyaratabandhu writes in the introduction of her recently released Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill.

“As I examined a skewer of …

“It started with—let me set the scene—me eating at a stateside Thai restaurant many years ago,” cookbook author Leela Punyaratabandhu writes in the introduction of her recently released Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill.

“As I examined a skewer of chicken satay in my hand, I knew it had been cooked on a griddle hours in advance and reheated in a microwave, which prompted me to let out a small sigh over the wretched fate of how such an iconic grilled dish had become so dry, bland, and utterly devoid of smokiness.” This moment spurred Punyaratabandhu to develop not only a stellar satay recipe, but an entire book on Southeast Asian grilling.

Read More >>

Vegan Green Curry Veggie Kabobs

These Vegan Green Curry Veggie Kabobs are made with a green coconut curry marinade. They’re great for summer grilling, but work well on indoor grills too. What Happened on the 4th of July Something terrible happened on the 4th of July.

Green Curry Veggie Kabobs
These Vegan Green Curry Veggie Kabobs are made with a green coconut curry marinade. They’re great for summer grilling, but work well on indoor grills too. What Happened on the 4th of July Something terrible happened on the 4th of July.

Vegetarian Thai Veggie Burgers

I’ve lived in a vegetarian household for over seven years now, and it’s fair to say I’ve made my share of veggie burger recipes. Some have been insanely good, some meh, and some downright disgusting. Two qualities are necessary for a …

I’ve lived in a vegetarian household for over seven years now, and it’s fair to say I’ve made my share of veggie burger recipes. Some have been insanely good, some meh, and some downright disgusting. Two qualities are necessary for a good veggie burger: the right texture and, of course, incredible flavor. If you achieve only one of these, your burger will probably fall into the “meh” category—you don’t like it and you don’t hate it, but you probably won’t ever make it again. And if you’re missing both flavor and texture, forget it. Then you have the veggie burgers that have it all, like these sturdy Thai veggie burgers—made all the better because they’re piled high with Thai pickles and finished off with a generous smear of curried cashew cream. They’re a little bit involved, so they’re not your everyday kind of veggie burger, but they’re perfect for a Saturday evening when you’ve got time on your hands and you want to make a dinner that will impress. The secret to perfect veggie burgers Inspired by a Thai Turkey Burgers recipe from Epicurious, these veggie burgers are packed with flavor thanks to Thai spices, toppings, and sauces. And the texture is just right—nice and firm so that they hold up to being topped, sauced, […]

Coconut Shrimp Curry

This easy shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant in under 30 minutes! It’s a Thai red curry flavored with coconut milk and curry paste. This one left us speechless. Really! Because this shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant, but it’s a quick and easy dinner you can make at home. There is so much flavor going on here: rich coconut milk, aromatic curry paste, tangy lime and peppery basil surrounding tender, juicy shrimp. Serve it over jasmine rice and your friends and family will be singing your praises. This one is a keeper and even better: it’s a healthy dinner in less than 30 minutes. There are a few secrets to making this Thai red curry: here’s what to do! Keys to making shrimp curry It’s so easy to make a shrimp curry! To make it taste like a Thai red curry you’d get at a restaurant, here are some tips on the most important ingredients in this easy dinner recipe: Thai red curry paste: It’s a paste made of chiles and aromatics like garlic, ginger, and lemongrass and absolutely essential to the flavor! It’s not too spicy and only adds a gentle heat. See below for more. […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This easy shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant in under 30 minutes! It’s a Thai red curry flavored with coconut milk and curry paste.

Shrimp curry

This one left us speechless. Really! Because this shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant, but it’s a quick and easy dinner you can make at home. There is so much flavor going on here: rich coconut milk, aromatic curry paste, tangy lime and peppery basil surrounding tender, juicy shrimp. Serve it over jasmine rice and your friends and family will be singing your praises. This one is a keeper and even better: it’s a healthy dinner in less than 30 minutes. There are a few secrets to making this Thai red curry: here’s what to do!

Keys to making shrimp curry

It’s so easy to make a shrimp curry! To make it taste like a Thai red curry you’d get at a restaurant, here are some tips on the most important ingredients in this easy dinner recipe:

  • Thai red curry paste: It’s a paste made of chiles and aromatics like garlic, ginger, and lemongrass and absolutely essential to the flavor! It’s not too spicy and only adds a gentle heat. See below for more.
  • Large shrimp: Using shell on shrimp is nice because they come out even more flavorful and juicier; or use tail on shrimp if desired.
  • Full fat coconut milk: Use only full fat coconut milk here: it’s gets that essential creaminess to the broth.
  • Fish sauce: It might sound odd if you’ve never cooked Southeast Asian style cuisine, but it’s absolutely essential to adding that authentic flavor in Thai and Cambodian food.
  • Basil or Thai basil: If you can find it, Thai basil is most authentic and has a subtle licorice flavor. If not, whatever fresh basil you can find works!
Shrimp curry

What is Thai red curry?

Alex and I spent time in Cambodia together years ago, and the flavors of this shrimp curry instantly brought us back to Southeast Asia! Cambodian cuisine features curries very similar to Thai red curry.

What is it? Thai red curry is a Thai dish with a sauce made with red curry paste and coconut milk. It can be made with different proteins like chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu. Then what’s red curry paste? If it’s not part of your cooking repertoire, you’ve got to add it: stat.

Thai red curry with shrimp

The secret: red curry paste

Red curry paste is a jarred paste that makes it easy to make a Thai red curry. It has all the flavors you’d find in the broth, without needing to buy them separately: chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, cumin, coriander, and more. Alex and I use it in all sorts of dishes and it has the best flavor. We highly recommend adding it to your fridge! A few notes on red curry paste:

Do I really need fish sauce?

To many home cooks in North America, fish sauce might sound odd or scary. But here’s the thing: it’s the secret to many Southeast Asian recipes! When Alex and I visited Cambodia, they put fish sauce in just about everything. Why? It adds an incredible depth and savory umami flavor to everything from broths and salads.

Fish sauce is made from fermented fish. Yep, not the biggest selling point! But you can think of it more like a Southeast Asian-style soy sauce. When you add it to the broth in this shrimp curry, it adds a noticeable authentic Thai flavor. Don’t leave it out!

Shrimp curry

Use shell on shrimp for big flavor.

The best shrimp for shrimp curry is shell on or tail on shrimp: mostly because it looks the prettiest! Shell on shrimp has the best flavor: both because it gets the juiciest when cooked in the shell, and because the shell adds a little flavor to the broth. But if the thought of peeling shrimp isn’t desirable (we get it!), tail on shrimp is great too. (Want more shrimp recipes? Here are 10 Healthy Shrimp Recipes.)

Best rice for shrimp curry? Jasmine.

The perfect pair for this shrimp curry is rice: but not just any rice. Jasmine rice! Jasmine rice is also called Thai fragrant rice: because of its beautiful popcorn-like nutty flavor. When Alex and I used it for this shrimp curry, it was the finishing touch that transported us back to Southeast Asia. Try our jasmine rice recipes: How to Cook Jasmine Rice and Instant Pot Jasmine Rice.

If you can’t find jasmine rice, basmati rice works too! Or any type of medium or long grain rice. You can use brown rice too (it has more nutrients), but here we wanted to be ultra-authentic and served it with sticky white rice.

Thai Shrimp Curry

More curry recipes

Love curry? We do too. Once you’ve made this shrimp curry, here are a few more to try! There are lots of types of curry from all over the world: most of the recipes on this site are Indian or Thai-style curries:

  • Easy Chickpea Curry One of our top recipes, this 20-minute chickpea curry is Indian style (made with curry powder, not paste).
  • Vegetable Curry This vegetable curry is the best way to eat your veggies! Cauliflower, bell pepper and chickpeas swim in a flavor-packed broth.
  • Coconut Lentil Curry This fast and easy dinner idea that’s healthy and full of flavor. It has similar flavors to this shrimp curry!

This shrimp curry recipe is…

Pescatarian, gluten-free and dairy-free.

Print
Shrimp curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This easy shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant in under 30 minutes! It’s a Thai red curry flavored with coconut milk and curry paste.


Ingredients

  • Jasmine rice (or basmati rice), for serving
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 15-ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Zest of 1 lime (plus lime wedges to garnish)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shell on or tail on (wild caught if possible)
  • 5 leaves fresh basil or Thai basil, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Start the jasmine rice (or basmati rice).
  2. Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Cut the pepper into thin strips.
  3. In a large skillet, pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic & red pepper and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the curry paste and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add coconut milk, fish sauce, turmeric, lime zest, water, and kosher salt and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the shrimp and cook about 4 to 5 minutes until the shrimp is tender and opaque, depending on the size of the shrimp. Stir in 5 large leaves basil.
  5. To serve, spoon the shrimp and sauce over rice. Garnish with additional chopped basil and lime wedges.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: Shrimp curry, Thai red curry, Thai shrimp curry, Coconut curry

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