Make your own Thai Green Curry Paste using this recipe and then use it in a delicious vegan Thai green curry with tofu and vegetables.
I’m not one of those food snobs who think that absolutely everything I cook has to be made from scratch. Though I believe that the results are usually better (and more nutritious) when all the ingredients are homemade, I’m not above using packaged ingredients, such as vegetable broth or canned beans, when the ingredients aren’t polysyllabic. I usually draw the line at using pre-mixed spices, though I make an exception for my beloved Maharajah curry powder and for more time-consuming seasonings like Thai curry pastes.
So the first time I made this dish, I used green curry paste from a can, and it was delicious. It wasn’t food snobbery that led me to make my own green curry paste, but curiosity–a desire to see how all the individual ingredients combine to create something completely new. And in the process I found that the beauty of homemade curry paste is that you can still taste all the individual components–the heat of chiles, the sparkle of lime–a quality that’s lost during processing and canning. Homemade really is better.
But….It’s not so much better that you should pass up making Green Curry with Vegetables and Tofu if you’re short on time or can’t find all of the ingredients for the curry paste. Look for a green curry paste without fish sauce in your supermarket or Asian grocery store. But if you do have access to the ingredients and a little extra time, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can make your own curry paste, which will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks or in the freezer for 6 months. You’ll be able to make four to six batches of green curry from this one recipe:
Thai Green Curry Paste
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 5 medium green chilies such as Serrano, stems removed and cut into large pieces
- 3 stalks lemon grass white part only, chopped
- 2 shallots peeled and quartered
- 8 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger peeled and cut into pieces
- 1 grated rind of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves or Italian parsley (optional)
- 2 tablespoons water (more as needed)
- Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a small, dry skillet for about two minutes over high heat or until they become fragrant. Remove them to a bowl and allow to cool. Then grind them and the black peppercorns in a spice mill or coffee mill until powdered. (You may also grind them in a mortar and pestle).
- Place the spices and all remaining ingredients into a food processor and process until it’s a thick paste, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add more water, if necessary to keep the mixture moving, and be careful not to breathe in the fumes as you remove the cover (I know this from experience!)
- Place in a tightly covered jar and refrigerate. Use within 2-3 weeks or freeze for later use.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Long-time readers may notice that this is the first time that cilantro has appeared as an ingredient in one of my recipes. As I was researching green curry paste, I found that some recipes contained cilantro leaves, stems, and roots, while others called for just the roots or no cilantro at all. As someone who is genetically predisposed to think cilantro tastes like soap, I couldn’t quite bring myself to add it to my curry paste. And then I read in Real Vegetarian Thai that Nancie McDerMott used cilantro or Italian parsley only to add green color to the paste. So I opted for the parsley (which you can’t even taste in the finished recipe) and sprinkled chopped cilantro over my cilantro-loving husband’s bowl of curry.
Thai Green Curry with Vegetables and Tofu
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2-3 tablespoons green curry paste
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
- 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu cubed and lightly pressed(see variations below)
- 4 cups swiss chard leaves thinly sliced (see variations below)
- 1 bunch asparagus ends trimmed and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 teaspoon sugar agave nectar, or sugar substitute
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro to garnish
- Place the cashews and coconut into a 2-cup measure and add water to reach the 2-cup line. Allow them to stand as long as possible, preferably several hours (but 20 minutes will do in a rush). When ready to use, transfer to a blender and blend at highest speed until as smooth as possible. Add cornstarch and blend again to combine. Set aside.
- Heat a large, non-stick wok or pan and add the onions. Cook until they begin to soften, adding a splash of water if necessary to prevent sticking, and then add the garlic and curry paste and cook for another minute.
- Blend the coconut mixture again briefly and add it to the wok. Stir in the vegetable broth, soy sauce, and tofu. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the Swiss chard and asparagus and stir well. Cover and simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are tender but asparagus is still slightly crisp. Stir in the lime juice and sweetener and add salt to taste. Serve over brown rice, garnished with chopped cilantro.
Nutritional info is approximate.
For another way to use your Thai green curry paste, check out my recipe for Green Curry Tofu Cakes, a take-off on Thai Fish Cakes.
More Green Curries:
- Green Curry Tofu Scramble at Show Me Vegan
- Green Curry Duchesse Jewel Sweet Potatoes in Ginger Coconut Cream by Messy Vegetarian Cook
- Easy Green Curry by Vegan Dad
- Thai Eggplant in Coconut Curry by Herbivoracious
Please Pin and Share:
Caryn ColemanMay 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm
I love this!
Couple hassled and forgetful mom tricks: I made it with unsweetened soy milk and a few teaspoons of coconut extract and used oil-free store bought curry paste. One time I even used frozen asparagus from Trader the Joe.
When I can remember to soak the cashews and coconut in time (I bought them but …) I will try it chez you too. Including making the curry paste!
<3 your blog.
AparnaMay 24, 2011 at 10:00 am
Love Thai curry and I just picked up a packet of readymade paste. 🙂
Having grown up using cilantro/ coriander, I find it interesting that a lot of people find it “soapy”. But then parsley isn’t one of my favourites. 🙂
Love those bowls you’ve served the curry in.
alisonJune 23, 2011 at 5:46 pm
I dont know if others have said this before but any chance of break downs of fat, calories etc for your recipes? That would be SO helpful
SusanVJune 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm
Um, Alison? The nutritional info is right at the end of the recipe! 😉
TimJuly 26, 2011 at 10:38 pm
I just made this and it smelled so good while I was cooking it. The aroma reminded me of the Thai restaurant curry. It tasted very good, although it came out thicker then this picture probably because I didn’t use as much soup broth as needed…. I am making some rice tomorrow and will have it as described with cilantro for lunch. Can’t wait!
ArtAugust 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm
New to your site. great stuff! I’ll change the nuts to either macadamia (raw) or raw pistacios (maybe). Do u think leaving out the sweetener will work. No sugar for me. I’m assuming there is sugar in unsweetened coconut?
cch22December 18, 2011 at 9:42 am
Ok.. I don’t have curry paste.. but i do have curry powder. Can I substitute somehow???
Susan VoisinDecember 18, 2011 at 11:13 am
I’m afraid not. They’re completely different in flavor.
SHERRY ERNSPIKERMay 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm
We made this tonight and it was delicous!!! Didn’t have enough green curry so we used the Red and everyone loved it. Thanks!
Jan WoodMay 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm
Wonderful recipe! My husband loved it and it will definitely be prepared again. I only used 2 peppers and that was more than enough heat for me. Thanks for sharing it!
GeorgiaJune 25, 2012 at 1:14 am
Firstly I would like to say thank you and that I absolutely adore your website – as does my increasingly vegan family whom constantly request your recipes!
Life is made much easier with thanks to you.
Just curious, how many ounces of tofu do you suggest exactly here? Would that be a 14 or 16 ounce package? Forgive me if it’s obvious, as I am from Sydney where we talk in grams.
Susan VoisinJune 25, 2012 at 7:25 am
Thank you, Georigia! I’m happy that my recipes are a hit with your family. I use a 14-ounce package of tofu in this just because that’s what’s available here, but an extra couple of ounces probably wouldn’t make a lot of difference.
CeciliaFebruary 4, 2013 at 7:35 am
Thanks so much for this beautiful recipe! I loved it and so did my husband. And it’s so easy to make. I’ll stay tuned;)
KalynsKitchenApril 28, 2014 at 9:20 am
This looks wonderful; saved!
MJApril 28, 2014 at 10:06 am
I have read your blog for years and have made many recipes! I love green curry and I make my own green curry paste quite often so I thought I would share my tip. You can use 6 oz of romaine lettuce (or any nice green lettuce) to blend in with the curry paste to give it a more vibrant green color (in addition to the cilantro/parsley – got that tidbit from a Thai cookbook). The lettuce is completely neutral in flavor and in addition to color it also provides a bit of added nutrition:-D I get an abundance of lettuce from the CSA every year and when I can’t eat any more salads I make green curry paste and freeze it (I do use cilantro too though though – I love cilantro). Now I want some green curry!
kim bakerMay 3, 2014 at 10:01 pm
My husband loved this meal! Meat and potao guy 🙂
Judy KennedyMay 21, 2017 at 4:11 pm
Do you have a recipe for red curry paste as well as the green curry paste? Thanks, Judy
Susan VoisinMay 21, 2017 at 4:17 pm
I don’t, but it sounds like something I need to work on.
VickySeptember 16, 2017 at 12:14 am
This recipe turned out beautifully. I am not someone who likes to eat leftovers but I happily had this for 3 consecutive meals. I absolutely love the work you do and have been frequenting your blog for the past few months and every recipe out here that I tried has been GREAT!
You’re amazing!!! 🙂