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Recipe for Thai green basil curry with chicken, asparagus and spinach

Thai green basil curry chicken

As much as I love Thai red curry paste, I've been slow to shower affection on green curry paste. I should love it, because it's hotter than the red, and you know how much I love spicy food. I've kept my distance because of one ingredient: cilantro. A.k.a. fresh coriander. A.k.a. soap. (That's how it tastes to me.) I don't have the same issues with ground coriander, and several store-bought green curry pastes use that instead of fresh cilantro. I've recently discovered Mae Ploy brand, which comes in a little 14-ounce tub (their red curry paste is my absolute favorite). It's made from all-natural ingredients, it's easy to find in any Asian grocery store (or online). This recipe calls for fresh basil or Thai basil, and there's no substitute for that; I grow both in my herb garden, but at this time of year I rely on supermarket basil. If you're a cilantro lover, go ahead and add a tablespoon or two of roughly chopped cilantro at the end.

Thai green basil curry chickend

Thai green basil curry with chicken, asparagus and spinach

From the pantry, you'll need: canola oil, onion, chicken breasts, green curry paste, coconut milk, brown sugar, lime, reduced-sodium soy sauce.

Serves 2-3; can be doubled.


1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
8-10 medium asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste (I use Mae Ploy brand)
1 13-oz can coconut milk
2 tsp brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 oz baby spinach leaves
4-6 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper


In a small Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion and chicken, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chicken is beginning to brown slightly. Add the asparagus, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the curry paste plus 1/4 cup of water, and stir to distribute evenly. Then, add the coconut milk, and stir well. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes (check every few minutes to make sure the chicken isn't sticking to the pan).

Combine the brown sugar, lime juice and soy sauce in a small glass measuring cup. Pour the mixture into the pot, and stir. Cook for 2 minutes. Add all of the spinach and basil leaves, and stir them into the curry. As soon as the spinach is wilted, taste, and add black pepper to taste.

Serve hot, over rice.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Thai chicken curry
Green chicken curry with eggplant
Salmon choo chee
Green shrimp or fish curry
Egg curry

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
In a hurry green curry, from 101 Cookbooks
Thai green curry with vegetables and tofu, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Green curry beef with pineapple and coconut rice, from Healthy Delicious
Green curry soup, from Taste with the Eyes
Thai green curry shrimp risotto, from The Sugar Bar

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This looks so yummy. I'm a soap fan (cilantro:) so I'll add it. I wish I were a decent gardener, regular basil is okay but nothing beats the flavor of Thai basil.

I'm going to have to try this. I'm looking for new recipes with spinach which is growing profusely in my garden at the moment. I don't have any Thai basil and haven't seen it in the local grocery. I'm a cilantro fan and feel sorry for those, like you, that have the genetic disposition that translates the flavor to soap. Bummer. Thanks for this lovely recipe.

There is a remedy for the cilantro affliction. Read this question and discussion:

I'm like you -- I prefer the red over the green. Maybe because it's sweeter? Based on my experience in Thailand, the different flavored curries go well with different veggies -- eggplant is really good with the green.

I love cilantro, but I also prefer the red curry paste. But I do like the sound of this a lot!

Well I do not like cilantro in any way, but its income (without cilantro, of course) is wonderful, I loved

I love finding new curry recipes, such a simple yet exciting dinner option! Perfect for all the gorgeous spring asparagus I can't resist buying up.

Looks delicious! Husband and I enjoy Thai food but I rarely make it at home. This may be the exception!

MyKids, I love having a Thai basil plant in my herb garden. It's hard to find in the grocery stores, so growing your own is a great option.

Donna, you are weeks ahead of us in the gardening. I wish I had tons of spinach in my garden now.

Susan, thanks! Fascinating. I would love to get over my cilantro issues.

Julia, I think of the red curry paste as my all-purpose. But there are so many wonderful Thai curries to enjoy, and I'm definitely trying to branch out in my home cooking.

Kalyn, I do love this curry paste because it uses dried coriander, which doesn't have the same effect on me as the fresh cilantro does. I think if you make this and add a bit of cilantro at the end, it will be delicious.

Silvia, try this curry. I bet you'll love it.

Ashley, if I'd had more green things on hand, I might have tossed them into this dish. The greener, the better!

Knitstamatic, I don't know why I make Chinese food so much more than Thai, when Thai is just as easy if you start with curry pastes instead of making from scratch. Just be sure that your store-bought curry paste is all natural and not filled with artificial food colorings.

wow-wow-wow you always make a scary dish seem so easy - this I can do!

Carol, this really is not scary, because you aren't making the curry paste from scratch. Just be sure to buy a brand that's all-natural. I really love the Mae Ploy brand, both the green and the red. Chinatown markets in Boston will have it.

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