How To Make The Best Thai Red Curry (All the tips you need)

How To Make The Best Thai Red Curry - Kaeng Phet (All the tips you need)

Course: Entree
Cuisine: Thai
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Making red curry paste: 15 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Marvellina
Learn how to make the best authentic Thai red curry, Kaeng Phet, using homemade red curry paste or store-bought paste. The recipe can be easily adapted to any version that suits your diet needs too.
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Thai red curry paste (make about 3/4 cups - if you choose to make from scratch):

  • 10 Thai dried spur red chiles or use 5 guajillo chiles
  • 1/4 tsp white peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 3 shallots (peeled)
  • 3 inch lemongrass stalk
  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 inch piece of galangal
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste omit for vegan and vegetarian version

To make Thai red curry:

  • 6 Tbsp coconut cream (not coconut milk) or just use 2 Tbsp coconut oil or cooking oil of your choice
  • 5 Tbsp Thai red curry paste homemade or store-bought
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms
  • 1 cup chicken stock or use vegetable stock for vegan/vegetarian version

Protein of your choice (meat or meatless):

  • 1 lb chicken, pork, beef, shrimp cut the meat into thin strips
  • 14 oz block medium firm tofu cut into medium cubes
  • 8 oz canned bamboo shoots strips in water discard water



  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce use vegan fish sauce for vegan/vegetarian version
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar or use brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Drain off the water from canned bamboo shoots. Rinse the bamboo shoots with clean water. It will help to get rid of the aroma that people complain about sometimes. You can also soak them in warm water for 10 minutes, but I usually don't do this

Prepare red curry paste: (if you choose to make from scratch)

  • Soak the red chiles in warm water until soft. If you are going to use mortar and pestle, cut the chiles into smaller pieces
  • If using a food processor: Place all the red curry paste ingredients in the food processor and process into a paste. Stir in the shrimp paste and set aside
    If using mortar and pestle: Finely chop the lemongrass, ginger, galangal, garlic, and shallots. Place chiles, peppercorns, garlic, and pound into a paste. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for shrimp paste and continue to pound into a paste. Stir in the shrimp paste and set aside


  • Preheat a medium pot over medium heat.  Add coconut cream and cook over low to medium heat to let the oil separate from the milk. Add the red curry paste, kaffir lime leaves and stir fry for about 30 seconds. If you are going to use meat or seafood, add them here and stir fry for about 1 minute
  • Add the rest of the coconut milk, stock, and seasonings (use vegan fish sauce for vegan/vegetarian version). Scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen anything that stuck on the pot. Bring to a gentle simmer (not boiling). Let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and bamboo shoots strips,  and cook for another 1 minutes. If you use meatless protein like tofu, chickpeas, or tempeh, add them here and cook for another minute
  • Stir in the basil leaves, turn off the heat and stir to mix. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately