Thai yellow curry is a sweet and tangy vegetable Thai dish with a slightly spicy flavor. So creamy and delicious, this Thai yellow curry recipe is so easy to make!
Recently, I tried Thai yellow curry at a local Thai restaurant where we live. Although I love red and green curry, I've never tried yellow curry before, so I decided to give it a shot. And I must say, I fell in love. What separates red, green, and yellow curry is all in the spices. My Thai yellow curry recipe, however, differs from the restaurant yellow curry recipe in that mine is oil-free and has a ton of veggies.
Although red and yellow curry paste can be purchased, oil-free yellow curry sauce is made from scratch. Once the yellow curry paste is made, the rest of the dish is ridiculously easy.
The Difference Between Curry Pastes
For instance, red curry is made with several red chilies for a fiery hot dish, while green curry is made with green chilies, adding fresh coriander (cilantro), makrut lime leaf and peel, and basil. On the other hand, yellow curry includes turmeric as one of the ingredients, giving the curry its typical golden-yellow color.
Yellow Curry Paste Ingredients
Even though making the yellow curry paste may seem daunting, it's very easy. Then, use a high-speed blender to blend these ingredients.
- Shallots: Shallots have a delicate and sweet flavor with a hint of sharpness, while onions bring a more intense heat.
- Coriander: Coriander flavor is earthy, tart, and sweet, with a floral aroma that releases when toasted.
- Cumin: The whole seeds and ground cumin can add nutty warmth, pepperiness, and smokiness with a faintly musty aroma to all dishes. It's also often used as an ingredient in chili, curry powders, and other spice blends like garam masala.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is mildly aromatic and has scents of orange or ginger. It has a spicy, bitter flavor.
- Thai Red Chilies: Thai chili tastes like the Serrano, with a higher heat level. It has that berry-like flavor without the sweetness,
- Fresh Ginger: While somewhat hard to describe, the flavor of ginger is often labeled as spicy, peppery, and either warm or hot. I also find it a bit sweet. Young ginger is very juicy and has a much mellower flavor.
- Garlic: I prefer fresh garlic cloves when possible.
- Lite Coconut Milk: Light coconut milk contains the same ingredients as regular coconut milk; it has more water. On Thai Kitchen brand regular coconut milk, the ingredients are coconut milk, water, and guar gum. Its light product contains water, coconut milk, and guar gum. For an alternative, see the substitution ingredients below.
- Lemon Grass: Lemongrass is a key ingredient in Southeast Asian dishes and Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. Lemongrass helps soups, salads, and curries pop. Lemongrass is available in the grocery store's produce section or in Asian markets.
- Lemon Zest: Lemon zest is grated from teh lemon rind and provides a beautiful citrus flavor.
Yellow Curry Paste Ingredient Substitutions
- Yellow onions are an excellent substitute for shallots.
- Use cumin, Masala Curry Powder, or Garam Masala in place of coriander.
- Try saffron or ground ginger instead of turmeric if you are allergic or don't have any in the pantry.
- Serrano peppers are often used in place of Thai red chilis.
- Thai red chilies are also called Bird's Eye Chilis in the store.
- For every ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger, use 1 tablespoon of fresh-grated ginger in recipes.
- Also called dehydrated (or dried) minced garlic, use ½ teaspoon of garlic flakes in place of each clove. Granulated garlic: Use ¼ teaspoon of granulated garlic in place of each clove. Garlic powder: Use ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder in place of each clove.
- For a clever way to make coconut milk without any fat, choose unsweetened, unflavored plant milk and add 1 teaspoon of coconut extract.
- Lemon Zest, Kaffir lime leaves, and Lemon Baly substitutes lemongrass. Or try lemongrass paste.
Then, blend the combination until the mixture forms a thick paste. The rest of the recipe happens in one pan.
Because the turmeric gives the dish a little sweetness and tangy flavor, it balances well with the spice from the red chilies in the curry paste.
I chose several vegetables for my Thai yellow curry recipe to add a little more veggie love to my yellow curry.
Vegetable Yellow Thai Curry Ingredients
- Red Onion: Red onions are like yellow onions in flavor when cooked and slightly milder when served raw. Their deep color is what makes these attractive added to salads and other foods for presentation
- Mushrooms: I chose cremini mushrooms for this curry recipe.
- Garlic: I prefer fresh garlic cloves whenever possible.
- Red and Yellow Bell Peppers: Red and yellow bell pepper are sweet, and the color is perfect for a vivid yellow curry dish.
- Lemongrass: Available fresh or as a paste, lemongrass has a beautiful fresh lemon flavor.
- Broccoli: Broccoli contains 31 calories for one cup (91g) of raw, chopped broccoli. The calories in broccoli are 66% carbohydrate, 27% protein, and 7% fat. Broccoli is a high-volume, low-calorie food.
- Cauliflower: cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable naturally high in fiber and B vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It also contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning an
- Coconut Milk: I used light coconut milk, which contains more water then regular coconut milk.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce provided the umami flavor.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is a natural sweetener.
- Thai Basil: Thai basil is savory, spicy, and anise-like, adding a distinct pungency to dishes. It's a vibrant, irreplaceable addition to many dishes, providing the herbaceous and savory notes that round out a dish.
- Brown Rice: I served the yellow Thai curry recipe with cooked brown rice.
Vegetable Yellow Thai Curry Ingredient Substitutions
- Yellow onions are often used as a substitute for red onions.
- Choose any type of mushrooms preferred.
- One clove of garlic equals about ⅛th of a teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Baby bell peppers are sweet and offer a variety of colors to the yellow curry.
- Choose any vegetables you enjoy instead of the vegetables in the recipe.
- Liquid aminos or Tamari replace soy sauce in recipes.
- Although Thai basil is much more flavorful, use common “Italian” basil and add a few fresh mint sprigs to the recipe.
Cooking the Yellow Curry
Because some vegetables require more cooking than others, I cook in layers, to ensure the vegetables cook evenly.
As a result, the cooked Thai yellow curry vegetables are cooked perfectly, all in under 20 minutes.
To begin, saute the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers until the onions are translucent.
Next, using a wooden spoon, separate the center of the pan, leaving a hole in the middle of the vegetables.
Reduce the heat to low, and add the yellow curry paste mixture to the middle, stirring while adding 1 /2 cup of low-fat coconut milk, followed by two cups of vegetable broth. While stirring, add the rest of the vegetables and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, cover the pan and reduce heat to low, allowing the broccoli and cauliflower to cook through (10 minutes).
After cooking the vegetables, remove the cover and add another ½ cup coconut milk, maple syrup, soy sauce, and chopped Thai basil.
Yellow curry vegetables taste fabulous served over brown rice, basmati, or jasmine rice. Or, serve it over noodles or simply in a bowl—additionally, roasted cashews add even more crunch.
Additionally, I add even more Thai basil leaves for flavor and a garnish.
Yellow curry is the mildest and is often made with coriander, cumin, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and yellow or red chili. In addition to coconut milk, this curry has a rich taste with sweet and mild flavors.
Yellow curry (Thai: แกงกะหรี่, RTGS: Kaeng Kari, [kɛ̄ːŋ kā. rìː]; Chinese: 黃咖喱) is a curry made from cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, salt, bay leaf, lemongrass, cayenne pepper, ginger, mace, and cinnamon. It generally contains less chili than other curries.
Traditionally, all Thai curries were made with the same ingredients except chilies. The red curry was made with several red chilies for a fiery hot dish, the green curry was made with green chilies, and the yellow curry was made with yellow chilies.
- Thai yellow curry tastes wonderful with brown, Jasmine, or white rice on the side or in the bowl with the curry.
- Flatbread, samosas, mango salad, and chutneys go well with yellow curry.
- Oil-Free Vegan Naan is another great side dish to serve with curry.
- Fresh spices are the best choice and will stay longer in the freezer.
- Turmeric is the vital ingredient that gives this curry its yellow hue. Yellow curry is the mildest and is often made with coriander, cumin, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and yellow or red chili. In addition to coconut milk, this curry has a rich taste with sweet and mild flavors.
- To make the curry spicier, use powdered chili peppers in the mix of spices that go into it, or add it to a pre-made commercial curry powder blend. Much of the heat in hot Indian or Indian-style curries comes from the use of hot peppers, and powdered chili is one of the most convenient forms.
- To make curry thicker and creamier, consider adding ground nuts, peanut butter, lentils, or tomato paste.
- Simmering the curry for 15-30 minutes adds depths of flavor.
For a sweet and slightly spicy treat, try Thai yellow curry for a fabulous one-pot meal.
Other Vegan Thai Recipes to Try
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Thai Yellow Curry
Yellow Curry Paste
- 2 shallots
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ inch fresh ginger
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 2 fresh Thai red chilies deseeded
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 4 Tablespoons low-fat coconut milk
Vegetables and Other Ingredients
- 1 red onion cut in half and sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 16 ounces mushrooms l sliced thin
- ½ red bell pepper sliced thin
- ½ orange bell pepper sliced thin
- 1 head broccoli cut into bite-sized florets
- ½ head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets
- 15 ounces low-fat coconut milk
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ cup chopped Thai basil
- 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice or rice of choice or cooked noodles of choice
- ½ cup roasted cashews
- ½ cup Thai basil leaves
Yellow Curry Paste
- Remove the lemongrass from the stalk by cutting off the end and pounding it with a mallet.
- Slice the stalk lengthwise, and remove the soft inside of the lemongrass and throw away the stalk.
- Add the lemongrass and all the other ingredients into a high-speed blender.
- Blend until smooth paste forms.
- The yellow curry paste can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to cook
Preparing the Curry
- In a large pan or wok, saute the red onions, garlic, mushrooms, and bell peppers until the onions are translucent.
- Make a well or hole in the pan using a spoon to move the vegetables aside, creating a hole in the middle of the pan.
- Then, add the yellow curry paste to the center of the pan and stir until it begins to break down.
- Add ½ cup coconut milk and continue stirring.
- Next, add the 2 cups of vegetable broth, soy sauce, and maple syrup.
- Bring to a boil and add the broccoli and cauliflower; stir into the mixture, and cover.
- Reduce to simmer, and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cover and add another ½ cup of low-fat coconut milk and ½ cup of chopped Thai basil.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with rice or noodles or on its own.
- Add roasted cashews and more Thai basil if desired.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂