Thai Lime Leaf Green Curry

Thai Green Curry From Scratch
Lori Andrews / Getty Images
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1010 Calories
59g Fat
71g Carbs
66g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 1010
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 59g 76%
Saturated Fat 28g 142%
Cholesterol 158mg 53%
Sodium 2714mg 118%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 22g 78%
Protein 66g
Calcium 774mg 60%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

For anyone who loves Thai flavors, this curry recipe is a must-try. Made with lime leaves and fresh-squeezed lime juice, the curry paste is intoxicatingly aromatic and flavorful. The prominent flavor of the lime leaves distinguishes it from other curries and gives it outstanding taste.

Makrut lime leaves, not to be confused with the leaves of a regular lime tree, are widely used in Thai cuisine, to flavor curries, soups and stir-frys. The leaves are shiny on one side and porous on the other. The makrut limes themselves are more bitter and with thicker skins than usual limes.

Makrut lime leaves can be purchased at Asian food stores or some mainstream supermarkets; check the fresh herb section. At Asian groceries, if you do not see it in the fresh vegetables section, look in the freezer section where it may be sold in frozen packets—a great way to keep it fresh. In order for you to cook this recipe in the right way, there can be no substitution for the lime leaves.


  • For the Curry Paste:
  • 10 to 12 makrut lime leaves 
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 green onions (sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste (or 1/2 tablespoon additional fish sauce)
  • For the Curry:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots (or 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sherry (or cooking sherry)
  • 1 to 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts, cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 green or yellow bell pepper (chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 1/2 can good quality coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Start making the curry paste. Using scissors, snip the lime leaves into thin strips, discarding the stems and central veins.

  3. Combine the leaf strips plus all the paste ingredients in a mini food chopper (or a food processor which can mince finely). Process until well blended to create an aromatic dark green Thai curry paste.

  4. Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil plus the shallots and stir-fry them until aromatic, about 1 minute.

  5. Add the chicken and sherry. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is nearly cooked.

  6. Add the peppers plus 3 tablespoons of the curry paste. Stir-fry 2 to 3 more minutes or until peppers have softened (but are still crisp).

  7. Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining paste plus the coconut milk, stirring well to mix.

  8. Gently simmer a few minutes while you taste-test and adjust the flavorings. If the curry is too strong-tasting or if you would prefer more sauce, add another few tablespoons of coconut milk (or up to 1/4 can more). If it is too salty, add more fresh lime juice. If it is too sour for your taste, add a little more sugar. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce.

  9. Scoop the curry into a serving bowl or portion out onto individual plates. Top with generous amounts of fresh basil (either whole leaves, if small, or chopped up if the leaves are large). Serve with Thai jasmine rice.