This yellow curry recipe makes great use of leftovers. With butternut squash and chicken, it’s a healthy chicken curry that’s kid-friendly, too!
Yellow Curry Recipe backstory
CURRRRAAAYYY! Seriously guys that is what I did when our good friend who was raised in Indonesia started cooking us curry a few weeks ago when we spontaneously stopped by her house.
I could seriously live off of curry. I am a recovering boring eater so after Kevin introduced me to curry for the first time, I kind of got stuck in an eat-as-much-curry-as-I-possibly-can kind of routine.
There were several years where practically every date night we would jump in the car and drive to this teeny little coffee stand tucked into the alleyway and order the most amazing Thai curries in little takeout containers. It didn’t matter if it was red curry or yellow curry, I was on it.
What’s the difference between red and yellow curry?
If you are new to curries, a little food knowledge may be necessary here.
There are three basic types of curry; green, red, and yellow.
Thai green curry, being the spiciest, is not recommended for newbies or those with a sensitive stomach. Red curries are usually spicier than a yellow curry but less spicy than green.
The color of curries comes from the chilies in the dish.
So, back at the coffee stand, little Thai ladies would hand us sample after sample, laugh with us, and upsell us spring rolls with peanut sauce and spicy dipping oil.
huuunny! Ooooh, date night! I cook for you huuuuny, lots for lataaa. Come back soon!”
Other than our families and friends, those curries were quite literally the #1 thing I missed when we lived in Georgia.
Okay, there were mountains being missed, the clean rivers, and laying in the grass without being eaten alive by chiggers, cockroaches and fire ants.
But this yellow curry, guys… it’s just so good, it trumps all of those things.
We had a friend in Georgia though who could cook a mean yellow curry and she was from Malaysia, so you know it was real curry.
But it wasn’t the same as the Thai yellow curry I remembered and loved from my little hole in the wall shack. And we had to either be gifted the curry powder from our said friend or order it online in large quantities from a tiny little website.
So as I ate the curry a few weeks ago, I realized that whatever curry paste our friend was using was the same as my favorite little place. I about cried in happiness. Don’t judge. This is serious love we are talking about people!
I was somewhat crushed though when I found out that our friend treks to the big city (a solid 3+ hours one way) to buy said curry paste.
Even when she came home bearing a love gift for me of small tubs of red and yellow curry paste, I was overjoyed, yet sad that it would be a product I couldn’t stock in my pantry without quite a bit of effort.
Apparently, God had mercy on my sweet predicament because low and behold I found out that Amazon stocks, not just any curry paste but THIS curry paste! And in the giant tub for a great price!
All things may not be right in the world, but friends, this yellow curry recipe is proof that some things are right.
What’s in yellow curry?
There are endless varieties of curry that I’m sure will be popping up frequently here from now on. Common ingredients in curry are
- Kaffir lime leaves
- galangal root
- fresh ginger
- water chestnuts
All of these things are fantastic in curry, but they are harder to find for many people. I want to give you hope that even in the middle of nowhere with super basic ingredients you too can make a delicious curry.
How do you make yellow curry?
Knowing that we had some butternut squash in the fridge and some chicken that we needed to use up, I made quick work of putting together this yellow curry recipe.
NOTE: If you’ve never made curry before DO NOT PANIC! I repeat, do not panic. If you can make soup you can for sure make this yellow curry recipe.
All you’ve got to do for this easy yellow curry recipe is sauté the curry paste in a bit of olive oil, add some onions if desired (I didn’t), add your coconut milk and then simmer your meat and veggies until they are cooked through. Easy peasy.
And it’s pretty much the perfect clean out your fridge kind of meal.
Anything raw (meat or veggies) goes in right with the coconut milk. Cooked ingredients, like the roasted butternut squash and cooked shredded chicken, get tossed in at the end – for just about 5 minutes.
What can I substitute for coconut milk in curry?
Coconut milk is a common ingredient in Thai curries, primarily because it helps to create a creamy texture.
If you have a food allergy or other reason for needing a substitute for coconut milk, both almond milk and cashew milk are good choices.
Season the yellow curry with lime juice, chiles, and basil. The coconut milk simmers down, creating a magical coat your tongue substance filled with deep complex curry flavors, and just the right spicy kick in the pants.
But then the lime juice hits that high note and seriously makes your mouth want to sing. Try to keep from eating this straight out of the pan and pile it into a bowl of rice….but I for one will not judge you if you can’t.
And it even passes the Noah test being declared the “nummy soup mommy”.
Love curry recipes? Try these, too!
Easy Thai Yellow Curry Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons curry paste
- 2 cans full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken *option in instructions for uncooked chicken
- 1/2 butternut squash roasted peeled and cut into cubes (*option in instructions for uncooked squash)
- 3 tablespoons canned green chiles
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Minced basil
- Basamati or Jasmine Rice I use brown jasmine rice
- Optional: kaffir lime leaves curry leaves, fresh ginger root, galangal root, onions, thai peppers, green beans, bell peppers, etc.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add curry paste and break up paste so it cooks evenly. Cook stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes until it is aromatic and the oil has absorbed.
- Add coconut milk and whisk to incorporate the curry paste.
- *If chicken or butternut squash are uncooked or you wish to add any additional raw vegetables add them now and allow to cook in curry sauce until they are cooked through.
- Cook sauce down over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
- Add cooked chicken, butternut squash, canned green chiles and lime juice. Simmer for 5 minutes until ingredients are warmed through.
- Serve with rice and top with plenty of fresh basil.
Rice should be started as soon as possible when prepping. Brown rice can take 30-45 minutes to cook.