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Thai curry base recipe

Quick enough for a weeknight dinner, and delicious enough for entertaining even very snobby guests, this recipe has what it takes to be a regular in your kitchen. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 tbsp curry paste (any colour. If using massamum, add a tablespoon of peanut butter as well)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced thickly
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • small handful kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • chopped coriander

coconut milk

  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1-2 tsp soy lecithin

Protein (pick one, or add your own)

  • Cooked chicken
  • Can of chick-peas (for a vegetarian curry)
  • fried prawns
  • Soft boiled eggs
  • Rare beef strips


  • Start by frying the curry paste, garlic, onions, lime leaves and sugar in oil in a wok or large frying pan/pot, until fragrant, but before the onions go too soft - you want a slight bite.
    If you are making a massamum curry, add a tablespoon or 2 of peanut butter.
  • Blend the coconut, hot water and the lecithin in a food processor until totally smooth. 
    Throw through a cheesecloth, pour the cold milk through the cheesecloth as well and wring it out with your hands. 
    Add this to the wok along with the fish sauce, lemon juice and your protein choice.
    Taste and season with more sugar or fish sauce if needed. 
    Bring up to a simmer and remove from heat immediately, top with chopped coriander and serve with sticky jasmine rice or rice noodles.