Thai Green Chicken Curry – Gaeng Keow Wan Gai

Gaeng Keow Wan Gai (Green Curry Chicken)

The chicken isn’t green, it just looks that way because the Green Curry is so green! We’ll show you how to make this absolutely mind-blowing Thai Green Curry and entertain you with a story too! Read on!

Here’s my hubby’s story about this Green Chicken Curry, and all curries in Southern Thailand where we live.

When we first arrived in Surat Thani, my hubby was eager to go to Suan Mokkh Temple in the Chaiya subdistrict of Surat Thani just north of us by about 150 km (93 miles). He meditated a lot at home in the USA and he was curious to see if he could find some Western monks that spoke English at this famous forest temple.

He drove up there on the motorbike one weekend. He arrived after lunch, and it was about 3:30 p.m. He was. hungry and there was a small restaurant outside the entrance to Suan Mokkh Forest Monastery. There were rows and rows of huge curry pots – about 20, he said. These were gigantic almost 5-gallon pots.

He didn’t know what was in them but started walking around and lifting the lids to them. It was all different kinds of Muslim curry. Thailand’s south is well known for Muslim curries and this was what nearly all Muslim restaurants had to offer.

It made no real sense that it was just a few steps from the entrance to a famous Buddhist temple, but we both found out later that Muslims and Buddhists get along very well in Southern Thailand outside of the area in the deep south where they’re killing each other.

Anyway, Hubby ate the Gaeng Keow Wan Gai curry because it had big hunks of chicken in it. The taste was fine, even delicious. As he was eating, he started to figure some things out.

There were at least 20 massive pots of curry at this very small restaurant. There were a handful of tables, suggesting they never really got more than maybe 15 people at a time to eat lunch or dinner. One curry pot would feed 15 people. Even if they got 100 people per day, that would only be 7 curry pots worth of curry that is eaten. That left at least 13 pots.

There are curry restaurants everywhere you look (and more within walking distance of this restaurant). They couldn’t all be selling out of all that curry!

Assuming they made more curry to replace the 7 pots that were emptied, they were mixing a lot of old curry with new. They had to be. The numbers just didn’t make sense. This was further proved later as he made dozens of trips to this temple and never saw more than 4 people eating at a time at this restaurant at the peak of lunchtime (11-1 p.m.)

Then he learned that it was closed for dinner.

Later, Hubby met an Australian friend in Krabi where we live. This guy loved his curries. He and my Hubby got into an argument about all the curries in the restaurants being old and probably not good to eat. They were surely just mixing old with new, they couldn’t afford to throw out old curry 1-2 days old.

And the worst part was maybe they couldn’t afford to have the number of refrigerators they would need to store the curry overnight. It wouldn’t be refrigerated! This turned us off the restaurant curry where they have huge pots of it!

What do you think?

Green curry from Phuket Island in Southern Thailand. Gaeng Keow Wan Gai (with chicken).
This is what Thai Green Curry usually looks like, nothing special, but the taste is really something special. ©

Gaeng (curry) Keow (green) Wan (sweet) Gai (chicken).

Below, we show you how to prepare fresh curry today. Just below that, we show you how to make the paste you’ll need to add to the curry but you can make a large amount and freeze it until you need it. That way it shortens the time you spend cooking!

Preparation for Gaeng Keow Wan Gai

Chicken – 1 cup cut into small chunks, or as much as you want.
Fish Balls – 1/2 cup (optional) Ahem, these are fat balls. Not real fish balls.
Coconut Cream – 1 cup of thick Coconut Cream gives this curry an unbelievable taste that mixes well with the spices and vegetables.
Coconut Milk – 1-2 cups. If you thought 1 cup of cream was going to be enough, surprise! This is one of the richest curries in Thailand and the taste is memorable. Don’t skimp!
Coriander Root – 3
Pepper – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Garlic – 2 cloves
Fish Sauce – 4 tbsp.
Eggplant – 1/3 cup crisp
Sweet Basil – 1/3 cup
Chili Peppers – 4 red ones (cut diagonally). It’s really rather important that you know approximately how spicy your peppers are. There is a vast difference between peppers of different types and locations. 1-2 chilis may be plenty for this meal. Be careful. Don’t make it so hot you can’t eat it.
Galingale – 1/2 cup sliced diagonally
Chicken’s Blood – 1/2 cup cooked (optional)

Preparation for the Green Curry Paste

Chili Peppers – 25 green (more or less as you prefer) Believe me, you will want LESS!
Coriander Seed – 1 tbsp.
Cumin Powder – 1 tbsp.
Red Chili Peppers – 10 dried
Onions – 3 red onions, can be small.
Garlic – 5 cloves Garlic
Galangal – 2 tsp. minced
Salt – 1 tsp. Salt
Shrimp Paste – 1 tbsp.
Lemongrass – 1 tbsp. sliced.
Kaffir Lime skin – 1 tsp. sliced thinly for flavor.
Minced Galingale – 1 tbsp. Peel off the skin first.

Gaeng Keow Wan Gai Cooking Instructions

Grind all the paste ingredients together until fine and well mixed. You can do this beforehand – or days before, up to you. You can keep it in the freezer until you need it. Or, you can just buy instant green curry paste from the store in your area. It’s up to you. Homemade is so much better tasting!

There is a big quality difference between fresh paste and packaged paste. 🙂

  1. Add 1-2 tablespoons of paste to your curry grinding bowl.
  2. Grind the coriander roots, dried peppers, and garlic together. Then mix it with the chicken.
  3. Boil 1 cup of coconut cream with low heat until it’s boiling. Add the paste and keep stirring until it smells nice.
  4. Then, add chicken and add the rest of the coconut cream. Cook for 15 minutes. Don’t stir.
  5. After that, add fish balls, cooked chicken’s blood, eggplant, sliced galingale, sweet basil, and red chili peppers.
  6. Turn off the fire.

Eat as much as you dare! Coconut cream has a lot of calories, but the taste of Green Curry is so delicious that you might not be able to stop yourself. Especially if you have some Grade A Thai Jasmine rice with it!

Here, my Hubby took a photo of his Green Curry Chicken while he was eating it. It was so delicious this time!

Green curry chicken from Phuket Island in Southern Thailand.
Green Curry Chicken with the Thai Jasmine rice cooked just right, not overcooked! This is the stuff dreams are made of!

Pro Chef Tip!

To make the curry really green, add 1/4 cup of Thai sweet basil into the mix while you grind the paste.

Sawasdee Ka - Joy