Vegetarian Thai Yellow Curry Recipe

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No lack of flavour here.  Guaranteed to excite your senses.  There is something very satisfying about using the mortar and pestle to make the curry paste; adding one ingredient at a time and grinding it down, releasing its full flavour.  Take the time to do this instead of a food processor.  Don’t rush through it.  Enjoy the process of preparing your food.  Put some love into it.

I have done some research into making Thai curry paste to find authentic ingredients.  This paste is my version.  It is by no means the 100% authentic thai yellow curry paste recipe.  Although I am sure different people have different recipes like in any cuisines, I do know that this curry was absolutely delicious, so I am confident in sharing this recipe with you. 

In Thailand, they use kaffir lime peel instead of leaves, but I read it is okay to substitute.  I also read that in yellow curry they don’t use the kaffir lime but I decided to put it in anyways.  I saw many recipes that included ginger as well as other spices like cumin and coriander.  You can experiment with different ingredients yourself.  Traditional Thai curry paste uses shrimp paste, but since this is a a vegan recipe, this was left out.  I added a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk to provide a little moisture that was missing without the shrimp paste.  This really helped bring all the ingredients together to form a paste.

Some of the ingredients are not easy to find in our North American supermarkets. However, if you head to an Asian grocery store you will be sure to find lemongrass stalk, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves.  Asian stores are also great places to buy beautiful mortar & pestles. The big stone ones are what you are looking for here.

You can adjust the level of spiciness by adding less or more chillis.  The recipe included here makes a fairly spicy curry with a lot of flavour, well balanced.  I think it is a good starting point.

Vegetarian Thai Yellow Curry

Serves 3


Note: vegetables used here can be substituted with others depending on availability and season

For the paste

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 tbsp)
3 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass, 1 stalk, white parts only
1 tbsp finely chopped galangal
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots (approx. 1 small shallot)
6 fresh red chills, (or dried soaked in water for 15 minutes)
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp coconut milk

For the Curry

3-4 cups brocoli florets + chopped stems
2 cups green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut in strips
2 cups of carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, peeled and cut in quarters
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in bite size pieces
1 cup bamboo shoots
2 cans good quality coconut milk
2 tbsp raw cane sugar
2 tbsp coconut oil

lime and cilantro for garnish


In a mortar and pestle, add one ingredient at a time in the order listed above, grinding/pounding each one before adding the next until a paste is formed, adding the coconut milk last to complete the paste. Alternatively, combine all the ingredients into a food processor and process to a paste.

In a large deep skillet, heat the coconut oil on medium.

Add the paste and fry for 2-3 minutes stirring well.  Then add the coconut milk, sugar and mix well.

Add the potatoes, carrots and onion. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.  Add the bamboo shoots for the last few minutes of cooking.

Serve in bowls with a wedge of lime and cilantro. Squeeze the wedge of lime over the bowl and tear the cilantro leaves into the bowl.

Serve with rice on the side.


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