Prawns Thai Yellow Curry

30 mins Cook
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Thai yellow curry

I love Thai curries specially yellow one, this tastes sweet and spicy at the same time and I love eating it with Jasmine Rice

Ramsha Baig

Thai curries are famous for the sublime aromatic flavours balancing sweet, tart, savoury and spiciness. Thai Yellow Curry is one such amazing example, with its wealthy yellow coloration and a heady mixture of herbs and spices on this crafted from scratch Yellow Curry Paste. You can also try my Thai Red Curry Also you can make it with Tofu.

Thai Yellow Curry

There are many things to like about Thai meals, however for me, the jewel inside the crown are the curries. i like that elusive combination of fresh aromatic herbs and spices with the complexity you get from the use of umami loaded seasonings consisting of fish sauce and shrimp paste. the colours, meanwhile, make up a rainbow of deliciousness! striking Thai red Curry, vibrant inexperienced Curry, caramel colored Massaman Curry.

And now, the today’s addition to my Thai recipe series – this stunning splash of sunshine inside the shape of Thai Yellow Curry!

What’s Thai Yellow Curry

There are a few types of what’s taken into consideration “yellow curry” in Thai cuisine. they range in spiciness and sauce richness, with a few made with and others made with out coconut cream. the one factor they all have in common is that the sauce is made with a very good quantity of sparkling turmeric which gives the Yellow Curry that beautiful heat golden shade.

The Yellow Curry I’m sharing today is the kind that is maximum not unusual outdoor of Thailand which has a reasonably wealthy sauce made with coconut cream. The spice stage varies from mild (2 sparkling chillies) to pretty spicy (4 chillies).

What Thai Yellow Paste Tastes Like

The sauce is savoury, sweet and fragrant with Thai aromatics including lemongrass, turmeric, garlic, shallots and chilli. it can be as slight as you need or quite highly spiced – I enjoy it both approaches.

It’s no longer as tangy as different Thai curries, with the obligatory squirt of fresh lime juice you see in different Thai curries quite absent on this one.

It’s got layers upon layers of flavours which means that sure, there are quite a few substances – and it’s really worth it! in contrast to different Thai curries, I actually don’t think any save bought curry paste comes anywhere near made from scratch (sorry men!).

Thai Yellow Curry Paste. I’ve recently discovered that a stick blender is the easiest way to make curry pastes!

What you need to make Thai Yellow Curry Paste

There are pretty some ingredients concerned in making a yellow curry from scratch in case you need a clearly true result. i encourage you to strive making this at least as soon as – the taste is incomparable to canned pastes! and actually, I sincerely can’t recommend any shop offered yellow curry paste.

Dried Red Chillis

Dried red chillis have a rounded flavour compared to fresh chillies and have a mellower heat. That said, it’s a good idea to taste the chillies to gauge the spiceiness and adjust accordingly. (Best to nibble once soaked)

If you don’t have dried chilli you can use more fresh chillis instead.

  1. The dried chillis come whole with seeds inside them.
  2. Roughly chop – this makes it easier to rehydrate, blitz into a paste, and also this loosens the seeds which are spicy. Pick up the chillis only, leaving behind the seeds, and put them in a bowl.
  3. Cover with boiling water and leave for 30 minutes to rehydrate.
  4. Strain chillis and reserve the soaking liquid – we are going to use some of it for the curry paste.

Fresh Chicken Eye Chillis or Thai Chillis

These deliver a vibrant and clean taste of chilli by means of comparison, as well as the real kick!

1 or 2 chillies will supply this curry a moderate to medium degree heat. Use 4 chillis for pretty highly spiced however not blow-your-head-off. in case you’re involved, you can go away them out!


Fragrant, with a gentle citrus taste, lemongrass is a quintessential South-East Asian flavour. To prepare, cut and discard the top reedy part off – we only want the bottom 10 – 12cm / 4 – 5″. Peel the reedy green shell to reveal the softer white part on the bottom half of the lemongrass.

Substitute: 2 tablespoons of lemongrass paste.


This is a plant root used in South-East Asian cooking that appears much like ginger. It additionally tastes like ginger however is more citrusy and a little pine-y. It’s clearly quite tough to reduce so take care whilst slicing it! Peel it like ginger, either with a sharp aspect teaspoon or (cautiously!) with a small knife.

This wishes to be finely grated as it’s so hard, it doesn’t blend right into a easy paste, you end up with little gritty bits. i use my microplane, one in all my favored kitchen gear – extra records here.

Find galangal at Asian stores, and in some large grocery stores in Australia (Harris Farm and some Woolworths sell it).

Substitute: Use the same amount of ginger + the zest of 1 lime (or lemon).

Fresh Turmeric

Turmeric is what offers this curry its crucial golden shade, and there’s no yellow curry without it! fresh turmeric is a root that appears a piece like ginger at the outside but is vibrant orange at the inside.

The flavor is moderate, earthy and barely sour eaten by means of itself. Its number one use in cooking is for healthfulness and for color.

Prepare it like ginger – peel the skin (scrape the use of teaspoon or reduce off with a small knife), then grate.

Turmeric stains fiercely once grated! Use gloves while coping with it, and grate it onto a ceramic or metallic plate or bowl. (And sure, the observant amongst you will word that once more, I failed on the gloves front until I commenced grating it!).

Substitute: 1.5 tsp dried turmeric powder, but it won’t be quite the same so I really urge you to use fresh if you can!

Shrimp Paste in Bean Oil

I take advantage of Por Kwan Shrimp Paste in Bean Oil, the most famous Thai shrimp paste sold at Asian grocery stores here in Australia. at the same time as many conventional recipes use regular shrimp (belacan, in blocks, looks like this) that is made with simply fermented shrimp, Shrimp Paste sold in jars in which other flavouring had been delivered (mainly oil, a bit of garlic, and soy sauce powder) goes a long way to making a definitely eating place nice curry paste.

This is particularly so when using a blender in preference to mortar and pestle as when dried chillies are ground by hand the traditional, the herbal oils are extracted. So using a shrimp paste in oil makes up for this.

Por Kwan is the emblem i use, pictured under, that’s offered at Asian stores.

Best alternatives to Thai Shrimp Paste with Bean Oil:

  1. Belacan dried shrimp paste which is even sold at Woolworths and Coles in Australia these days. The result is very close to using Thai Shrimp Paste with Bean Oil!
  2. Other Thai Shrimp Pastes in Oil – Only Thai shrimp pastes. We tried some other shrimp paste brands sold at Woolworths (made in Vietnam and Cambodia) and while still tasty, they brought a different flavour to the dish.

If you don’t have access to Thai shrimp paste or belacan, I’m afraid I’d suggest giving this recipe a miss because I can’t guarantee the outcome will be successful!

Other Ingredients

Garlic – Yes, 8 cloves! It sounds like a lot but the paste will be fried off and the curry simmered for a good 15 – 20 minutes. The garlic will not at all be obvious in the final dish but mellows to become just another instrument playing in this flavour orchestra.

Spices – Coriander, curmin, cardamom, fenugreek powder and white pepper. Our spice selection for this yellow curry which reflects the Indian influence on Yellow Curry. Massaman Curry is another such example of a Thai Curry with Subcontinental influences.

We go a little heavier on the spices for yellow curry compared to red or green curries, which are driven more by their heavy chilli content than spices. Of these spices, fenugreek might be the hardest to find. If you do not have it, leave it out.

What goes in Thai Yellow Curry

Once you’ve prepared the ingredients, it’s as simple as blitzing!

TIP: Use a stick blender. plenty extra powerful than blenders, Nutribullets and mini meals processors that you need to scrape down repeatedly to blitz thoroughly. not to mention less complicated to clean!

Once we’ve made the curry paste, we cook dinner it on the stove for a few minutes on a medium heat. The motive of this step is to dry out the moist paste, toasting the herbs and spices to intensify the flavor.

Yellow curry paste carried out – now it’s onto the curry. You’ll be happy to hear it’s a easy plonk-and-simmer process!

For this curry, I chose prawns (shrimp) because seafood is a popular choice in yellow curries. Chicken and fish are also other favourites for yellow curry which you can use instead. I’ve included directions for both these in the recipe notes.

  • Prawns (shrimp) – I like to use medium prawns as small prawns quick so quickly they don’t have time to absorb some of the sauce flavour, and large ones are more difficult to serve / eat.Use fresh if you can, and keep the tail on. Otherwise frozen thawed is perfectly fine. I don’t need to tell you that the better the quality of the prawn, the better the dish!Alternatives: Fish and chicken are popular alternatives to prawns, so I’ve included directions for both of these in the recipe notes.
  • Potato – It’s important to ensure you do not cut the potato too thick, or it will take a long time to cook as potatoes take a surprisingly long time to cook in coconut sauce! The cutting size is specified in the recipe.Any kind of potato is OK (waxy or starchy) for this recipe, but waxy will tend to hold its shape better.
  • Carrot – Ditto the carrots on the thickness caveat! Follow the recipe!
  • Coconut cream – We use cream to give the curry sauce its thickness as well as richness. You can use milk or lite versions, but the curry will be a little thinner in consistency and less full in richness. Look for brands that have a high percentage of coconut extract. Ayam brand is my choice.
  • Tamarind puree – Tamarind is a sour fruit pod whose pulp is used in South East Asian food to add acidity to food like this curry. You can buy it is a jarred puree in large Australian supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths) or Asian grocers.
  • Bamboo shoots – Sold in cans at large grocery stores (Woolies, Coles, Harris), they have a crisp juicy texture and have a unique taste. Substitute with green beans (for similar shape) or more carrots.

How to make Thai Yellow Curry

This part of the recipe really is simple – just simmer everything in a skillet.

  1. Add chicken stock into the cooked off curry paste and stir to dissolve.
  2. Simmer chicken stock – Simmer on medium heat for a minute to bring the flavours together.
  3. Add remaining curry sauce ingredients: Reduce heat to medium low. Add tamarind, fish sauce and sugar. Stir until tamarind is dissolved.
  4. Simmer 20 minutes – Add carrot and potato, then simmer the sauce for 15 minutes or until the potato is nearly cooked (pierce with a knife to check), it might take up to 20 minutes. Potato takes a surprisingly long time to cook in a thick coconut curry sauce!If your heat is too strong and the sauce reduces and thickens too quickly, lower heat and add a splash of water.
  5. Prawns and bamboo shoots: Add prawns and bamboo shoots. Stir, then cook for 3 minutes until prawns are just cooked.
  6. Plate up! Once the prawns are cooked, remove the curry out of the hot skillet into a serving bowl to prevent the prawns from overcooking. Overcooked, rubbery prawns in a homemade yellow curry from scratch is a depressing thought!Next, we’re going to finish the dish with a few garnishes!

Garnishes for Thai Yellow Curry

Here are the garnishes typically used to serve Thai Yellow Curry.

  • Thai Basil Leaves – Tastes like regular basil plus a bit of aniseed flavour. Highly recommended to finish this dish off.Substitute with coriander/ cilantro (best) or normal Italian basil.
  • Crispy fried shallot pieces (optional)– Salty little fried bits of shallots brings a great finishing touch to the dish both for the flavour and texture. Find it in the Asian section of supermarket but cheaper at Asian stores.
  • Fresh chilli slices – Purely option, for a splash of colour and extra spice, if desired. Use large chillies if you want the colour without the spiciness.

A quick and easy recipe, this ain’t!

This is truely now not a quick ‘n smooth midweek meal. There’s a truthful few ingredients, and to make it as written calls for a experience to the Asian grocery shop. It involves sourcing substances that may be new to you, and preparing ingredients you haven’t cooked with earlier than.

However is it worth it?

Hundred instances over, yes yes sure!

At the same time as nowadays, you may get excellent store bought curry paste for Thai red Curry, inexperienced Curry and Massaman Curry, i’m but to discover an acceptable shop bought Yellow Curry Paste, even at Asian grocery stores.

And, on the threat of sounding absolutely obnoxious, this recipe supplies a curry that’s far superior to most trendy suburban Thai takeout places that take the jarred curry paste shortcuts.

So in case you’re a Thai Curry fan, i encourage you to strive making this at the least once. The taste is incomparable to canned pastes!

Prawns or Shrimps Thai Yellow Curry

Prawns or Shrimps Thai Yellow Curry

Thai curries are famous for the sublime aromatic flavours balancing sweet, tart, savoury and spiciness. Thai Yellow Curry is one such amazing example, with its wealthy yellow coloration and a heady mixture of herbs and spices on this crafted from scratch Yellow Curry Paste.
prep time
30 mins
cooking time
30 mins
total time
1 hour



  • 10 dried red chillis

  • 4 fresh birds eye chillis

  • 2 lemongrass stems (Note 3)

  • 1 large or 2 small shallots , roughly chopped

  • 2 tbsp fresh turmeric , finely grated (about 2cm / 0.8" piece) (Note 5)

  • 2 tbsp galangal , finely grated (about 2cm / 0.8" piece) (Note 6)

  • 8 cloves garlic , roughly chopped

  • 1 1/2 tbsp Thai shrimp paste in bean oil (Note 7)

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek powder (Note 8)

  • 1/8 tsp white pepper (sub black)

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (or canola or peanut oil)

  • 1 medium potato , peeled, cut into 2.5cm / 1″ pieces x 1cm/ 0.4″ thick

  • 1 small carrot , peeled, sliced into 5mm / 0.2″ slices on the diagonal

  • 1 cup chicken stock , low sodium

  • 300 ml / 10oz coconut cream

  • 4 tsp fish sauce , plus more to taste

  • 5 tsp white sugar

  • 2 tsp tamarind puree

  • 350g / 12oz prawns/shrimp , medium, peeled,

  • 1/2 cup bamboo shoots , canned, drained, loosely packed

  • 16 Thai basil leaves (highly recommended, Note 15)

  • 1 Red chilli , finely sliced (optional, use large for not spicy)

  • 2 tbsp Crispy fried shallots (optional, store bought, Note 16)

  • Jasmine rice


Soak dried chillis: roughly chop chillies and switch to bowl, leaving at the back of seeds. cowl with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes then drain (reserve soaking water).
Check spiciness: Have a nibble of soaked chilli, must not be that highly spiced. If it's far spicy, best use 1/three to half of the quantit
Put together lemongrass: do away with woody top 1/2 and outer layers of lemongrass. Grate with microplane. (See in publish or video for education demo)
Make curry paste: place chillis, lemongrass and all remaining curry paste substances in a jar simply huge enough to healthy a stick blender. add three tablespoons chilli soaking water. Blitz with stick blender until smooth so there's no tough grit – rub among your arms to test – approximately 15 seconds on excessive. (Or use small food processor or Nutribullet, scraping down facets well).
Prepare dinner off curry paste: heat oil in a medium heavy based skillet over medium heat. (Mine is a 26cm / 10.five" Lodget solid iron) add curry paste and cook dinner for 3 to 4 mins until it dries out a bit a smells aromatic.
Reduce stock: add chicken inventory, stir to dissolve paste, then simmer for 1 minute.
Add last curry sauce components: reduce heat to medium low. add tamarind, fish sauce and sugar. Stir till tamarind is dissolved. Then stir in coconut, carrot and potato.
Simmer: bring to simmer, then simmer lightly for 15 minutes or until potato is nearly completely tender. Pierce with knife to check, it'd take 20 minutes.
Prawns and bamboo shoots: add prawns and bamboo shoots. Stir, then cook for three minutes till prawns are simply cooked.
Modify sauce: taste and regulate the curry sauce at this factor. skinny sauce with stock or water, add salt, fish sauce or sugar if wished. See notice 17.
Serve! switch curry to serving bowl. Garnish wit


1. Dried chilli – Any dried Chinese or Asian chillis around (~6cm/2.5″ long). They are not supposed to be that spicy, they are mainly for flavour and not that much for spiciness (which we get from fresh chilli). CHECK spiciness! That said, it’s wise to check. Have a nibble once soaked. If you’re concerned it’s too spicy, reduce the amount you use. You can always add more spiciness at the end using fresh chillies for garnish but can’t undo spiciness! (Note: Standard dried chillies at Asian stores in Sydney are not spicy so can use full amount per recipe) Do not use small Thai chillies – too spicy! 2. Fresh chilli – Use birds eye or Thai chillis. 1 chilli = barely spicy at all. 2 chillies = quite mild. 4 chillis = quite spicy but not blow your head off. See in post for how I deseed and chop. 3. Lemongrass – Fresh is best but lemongrass paste is an acceptable substitute, use 2 tablespoons. Dried won’t be the same, I’m afraid. 4. Eschalots – Also known as French onions, and called “shallots” in the US. They look like baby onions, but have purple-skinned flesh, are finer and sweeter. Not to be confused with what some people in Australia call “shallots” ie the long green onions. They differ in size, use ~ 1/2 cup once chopped (1 large or 2 small). 5. Turmeric – STAINS so use gloves and avoid porous surfaces once cut (like plastic cutting boards, stone benches)! Scrape or cut off skin using small knife, spoon or vegetable peeler, then grate using a microplane straight into a ceramic bowl. Turmeric Powder sub – Not the same, but can be done. Use 1.5 tsp Leftover turmeric – Make this Golden Turmeric Fish! 6. Galangal – Looks like ginger but is more citrusy and harder. Most recipes will tell you just to toss in chunks, but there’s a strong chance you end up with grainy curry. So best to grate. Find it in some grocery stores in Australia (Harris Farms and some Woolworths sell it). If you can’t find it, use the same amount of ginger + the zest of 1 lime. 7. Thai shrimp paste in bean oil – I use Por Kwan brand, the most popular one sold at Asian grocery stores here in Australia. Note: many traditional recipes use ordinary dried shrimp (belacan) but shrimp paste yields a better result, see in post for why. If you can’t find Shrimp Paste in oil, Belacan is a substitute that’s nearly as good which, believe it or not, is sold at Woolworths in Australia. Use 1.5 tbsp, roughly chop then toast on low heat in 1 tbsp oil for 3 minutes. Then use in place of shrimp paste. 8. Fenugreek powder – spice that kind of smells like maple syrup. Available at stores that carry a decent range of spices. I found it at Harris Farms (Australia). Also at Asian and Indian grocery stores. 9. Potato – Don’t cut any bigger than specified else it may not cook through. I kept making this mistake! 10. Coconut cream – Thicker and richer than coconut milk. Look for good quality coconut cream that is 100% coconut like Ayam for better coconut flavour (cheap brands are diluted with water). Coconut milk can be substituted. Low fat not recommended – less flavour and too thin! 11. Fish sauce – The salt for this dish which brings it umami and makes it distinctly Thai. Doesn’t make fishy once cooked. If you sub with soy sauce, you will be disappointed by lack of depth of flavour! 12. Tamarind puree – sour paste used in Asian cooking. Find it in the Asian aisle of large grocery stores (Coles, Woolies). 13. Proteins Prawns – can use frozen, just thaw and drain off excess water well. Fish – Firm white fish fillets cut into 4cm / 1.3″ pieces. Cook as per prawns. Chicken – use 300g / 10oz chicken thighs (boneless, skinless), add with potato 14. Bamboo shoots – Find these in cans in the Asian or canned vegetable aisle of supermarkets. Use leftover in stir fries! 15. Thai Basil Leaves – Tastes like regular basil plus a bit of aniseed flavour. Highly recommended to finish this dish off, it’s a traditional herb used for this dish. Best substitute: coriander/ cilantro, followed by Italian basil. 16. Crispy fried shallot pieces – Salty little crunchy shallots, tasty garnish! Found in the Asian section of supermarket but cheaper at Asian stores. 17. Sauce flavour adjustments – Most fresh curries require a final tweak at the end due to differences in flavour/freshness of ingredients used, how quickly it reduces etc. The final taste should lean mostly savoury, with umami and saltiness from the shrimp paste and fish sauce, with the aromatics subtly coming through. It should be pleasantly sweet but not overly so. The spices should come through. There will be very little tang, just a tiny bit (note tamarind looses much of its acidity when cooked so don’t worry if it initially tastes too sour when you added it). It will be moderately spicy. Thin sauce with water or stock Thicken with extra coconut cream. Salt and umami: fish sauce (1 tsp at time), plain salt if if the fish sauce taste is strong enough but it still needs some saltiness Sweetness: sugar More spice: use fresh chillies for garnish. Don’t add sriracha or chilli sauce into the curry sauce.
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