Gaeng Keow Wan is our favourite Thai coconut curry prepared with fragrant green curry paste.
It is also known as Thai Green Curry Chicken, is a traditional entree from Thailand, which is typically paired with a bowl of steamed jasmine rice.
We’ve traveled extensively through Thailand and eaten at all of the best Thai restaurants in Toronto. We’ve taken Thai cooking classes in Chang Mai and learned expert cooking techniques courtesy of the executive chef at JW Marriott Phuket Resort.
Cooking Thai food at home is quick and easy. Our flavourful gluten free Green Chicken Coconut Curry recipe takes under 45 minutes to prepare and keeps in the fridge for several days. You’ll love loitering over these spicy Gaeng Keow Wan leftovers! We think they taste even better the next day!
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Travel to Thailand by Making Gaeng Keow Wan at Home
On my first visit I spent over a month backpacking through Thailand. I’ve revisited Thailand two times since as a food and travel journalist and always love to discover new regional dishes. Over the years I’ve explored Thai destinations such as Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Chiang Khong, Chang Mai, Sukothai and Bangkok.
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Where To Eat Gaeng Keow Wan
Haven’t traveled to Thailand before? It may be helpful to first sample Thai Green Chicken Curry at a local Thai restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can also assess the variety of ingredients used and sample the correct texture before trying to make authentic Thai Green Curry Chicken at home from scratch.
I spent months researching the best Thai restaurants in Toronto, visiting popular restaurants that serve authentic Thai dishes such as Sabai Sabai, Sukothai, Khao San Road, Pai, Kiin, Bangkok Garden, Mengrai Thai and Favorites Thai BBQ. If you’re looking to sample authentic Thai Green Chicken Curry in Toronto try visiting one of these award-winning restaurants.
What Is Gaeng Keow Wan?
Gaeng Keow Wan, translates to “sweet green curry” and is a traditional coconut curry from Central Thailand typically served with thinly sliced chicken breast or fish.
The name green curry derives from the colour of the dish, which comes from pounding fresh green chillies in a mortar and pestle. Since this is a Thai curry prepared with coconut milk and fresh green chillies, the colour appears creamy mild green or, as this colour is called in Thai, “sweet green”.
Thai Green curry recipes were popularized during the reign of King Rama VI and Rama VII, between the years 1908-1926.
Apart from the main protein, typically chicken breast or fresh white fish, the dish consists of coconut milk, green curry paste, palm sugar, fish sauce, Thai eggplant, Pea eggplants and fresh basil.
The consistency of the green curry sauce varies depending on how much coconut milk is used. If you want to enjoy a richer mouth feel that is thicker add a few scoops of coconut cream.
Indian vs Thai Curry
The two countries that are most associated with curry are India and Thailand. Each nation prepares curry in a unique way. In general, the term refers to a savoury meat, seafood or vegetable dish cooked in a sauce that is accompanied by rice, flatbread or fresh salads.
In India, curry (or masala) encompasses a variety of dishes that use a complex combination of spices or herbs, usually including ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and fresh or dried chilies. You’ll find unique regional takes on the Indian curry concept in neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and The Maldives.
Indian curries generally do not feature beef, as the cow is considered a sacred animal. The only region in India you are likely to find beef on a menu is in Kerala, which was colonized by the Portuguese and later by the Dutch. You can enjoy beef dishes in the colonial city of Cochin as well as luxury resorts like Coconut Lagoon.
Types of Thai Curry
In Thailand, curry refers both to dishes in Thai cuisine that are made with various types of curry paste and to the pastes themselves. A wet Thai curry is made from curry paste, coconut milk, meat, seafood, vegetables and herbs.
Popular Thai curries include Green, Red, Yellow, Penang and Masaman. Most Thai curries are categorized by the colour of the curry paste. The colour of the chilies and other ingredients gives each curry its distinct hue. Traditionally, all Thai curries were made with the same ingredients except for one thing: the chilies. Usually green curry is the mildest, red is the hottest and yellow falls somewhere in between.
Masaman Curry uniquely influenced Thai cooking thanks to visiting Persian traders. Masaman is a broken translation for Muslim. It originated in the south of Thailand near the border of Malaysia and is a thick sauce with a mild, slightly sweet flavour. Massaman curry dishes distinguish themselves by the inclusion of several whole spices and peanuts.
Penang Curry is sweeter than its sister, spicy Thai Red Curry. It is named for the island of Penang off the west coast of Malaysia and is served sometimes topped with coconut cream.
Most Thai curry paste recipes are made with spicy chilies, garlic, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, shallot, fish sauce, shrimp paste, cane sugar, lime, spices and coconut milk.
We use Thai green curry paste when cooking homemade Green Chicken Curry.
Homemade Thai Green Curry Paste
Feel free to use your favourite store bought Thai curry paste at the grocery store or prepare from scratch in your kitchen. Use a mortar and pestle to grind all the ingredients together until you’ve created a smooth and fragrant mixture. This homemade Thai green curry paste recipe yields 4-5 tablespoons.
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted until brown
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, roasted until brown
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp galangal, skin removed and chopped
- 3 tbsp lemongrass, chopped
- 1 tsp kaffir lime peel, chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander root, chopped
- 2 tbsp shallots, chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 1 tsp turmeric, skin removed, chopped
- 20 small green chillies
- 30 g sweet basil leaves
Tips for Making Thai Green Chicken Curry
If it’s your first time making homemade Green Chicken Curry we suggest you start by reading the ingredients list and recipe directions below.
Thai Green Chicken Curry is the perfect quick & easy Thai entree to prepare when you’ve got a busy week and find yourself unable to cook for hours on end. From start to finish it takes under 30 or 40 minutes to cook the recipe at home in your kitchen.
Thai curries are always prepared first by frying coconut cream with a fragrant paste. Once the coconut oil is bubbling hot it helps release the aromas in the green curry paste. Once the curry paste is cooked, more coconut milk with flavourful ingredients like sugar, fish sauce and hot peppers.
In European and North American cooking traditions chicken breasts are usually sautéed in oil before being added to a sauce, giving the meat a distinct crispy brown appearance. In Thai cooking, thinly sliced chicken breast is dropped into the coconut curry sauce and cooks without direct contact to fat. This is why chicken pieces in Gaeng Keow Wan are plump, juicy and white in appearance.
In Thailand, Green Chicken Curry is typically prepared with small Thai eggplants, which are the size of a golf ball or large marbles. Thai eggplants are often hard to find in North America but your best bet is an Asian grocery store. The next best thing are slender Japanese eggplant.
What To Serve with Gaeng Keow Wan
Thai Green Chicken Curry is typically enjoyed as a main dish, served alongside a bowl of steamed jasmine rice.
If you’re hosting a large dinner party, pair homemade Green Curry Chicken with stir fried noodles, papaya salad and a selection of other entrees including our favourite curries such as Thai Beef and Pumpkin Curry, Thai Red Prawn Curry and Pad Kra Pao.
Thai Green Chicken Curry keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days so store it in an airtight container.
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Best Gaeng Keow Wan Recipe
Gaeng Keow Wan Thai Green Curry with Chicken
- Wooden spoon
- French knife
- measuring spoon
- measuring cups
- 600 g Chicken breast thinly sliced
- 2 cup Coconut cream
- 2 cup Coconut milk
- 1/2 cup Green curry paste
- 2 cup Thai eggplant cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 tbsp Brown sugar
- 4 tbsp Fish sauce
- 4 Kaffir Lime Leaves thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Basil leaves
- 1 Large green chili sliced
- 2 Large red chili sliced
- Put coconut cream in a large wok and cook over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the coconut oil begins to separate.
- Add green curry paste and stir for 1-2 minute until well combined.
- Add sliced chicken and cook 2-3 minutes until meat turns white.
- Add coconut milk and once it boils add eggplant. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, until eggplants soften.
- Add sugar, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and half of the basil leaves.
- Turn off the heat and serve garnished with green and red chillies and remaining basil leaves.
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