Authentic Thai Green Curry Chicken Recipe – Gaeng Keow Wan Gai

Best Thai Green Chicken Curry Recipe - Traditional Gaeng Keow Wan Gai

Transport your taste buds to Thailand with this vibrant and aromatic green curry chicken dish. Perfectly balanced flavors of spicy, sweet, and savory come together in a creamy coconut milk base, complemented by tender chicken and crisp Thai eggplants.

Gaeng khiao waan gai is a beloved Thai curry that has gained worldwide popularity. Its name comes from the green chiles used in the curry paste, which give the dish its distinctive color and flavor. This recipe stays true to traditional Thai cooking methods, creating a rich, complex curry that’s sure to impress.

While the origins of green curry are debated, it’s believed to have emerged in the 1920s, possibly influenced by Indian cuisine. Our version follows the authentic flavor profile, prioritizing savory and spicy notes with just a hint of sweetness from palm sugar and coconut milk.

The key to a great green curry lies in the preparation of the curry paste and the cooking technique. By “cracking” the coconut milk, we intensify the flavors and create a luxurious texture. The result is a thick, satisfying curry that pairs perfectly with jasmine rice.

Authentic Thai Green Curry with Chicken (Gaeng Khiao Waan Gai)


  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) full-fat coconut milk, divided (see notes)
  • 10 fresh or frozen makrut lime leaves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) virgin coconut oil
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup; 115g) homemade or store-bought green curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (35g) palm sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) fish sauce
  • 1 pound (450g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 Thai eggplants (about 5 1/4 ounces; 150g total), stemmed, quartered, and placed in a small bowl of water (see notes)
  • 1 packed cup (about 1 ounce; 30g) fresh sweet basil leaves (a.k.a. Thai basil)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, for serving


  1. Prepare the coconut milk mixture and lime leaves: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup (120ml) coconut milk with 1/2 cup (120ml) water; set aside. Remove the mid-rib from 8 makrut lime leaves and set aside. Finely slice the remaining 2 leaves and reserve for garnish.
  2. Create the curry base: In a 3-quart saucepan, simmer 1/2 cup (120ml) coconut milk with coconut oil over medium heat for about 1 minute, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.
  3. Fry the curry paste: Add green curry paste to the pan and stir vigorously. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to spit. Reduce heat to medium and gradually incorporate the remaining 1/2 cup (120ml) coconut milk, cooking until the fat separates from the paste, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Season and add chicken: Stir in fish sauce and palm sugar until sugar dissolves. Lightly salt the chicken pieces and add to the pan along with the whole makrut lime leaves. Pour in the reserved coconut milk mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and sauce has thickened.
  5. Incorporate vegetables: Add quartered eggplants and simmer for 3 minutes until just tender but still slightly crisp. Remove from heat and stir in sweet basil leaves until wilted.
  6. Serve: Transfer the curry to a serving bowl or individual dishes. Garnish with the reserved sliced makrut lime leaves and serve alongside steaming jasmine rice.


Thai apple eggplants can be found in Southeast Asian and Chinese markets or online. If unavailable, substitute with Japanese or globe eggplant cut into 2-inch pieces. To prevent oxidation, keep cut eggplants in water until ready to use.

For best results, choose coconut milk with ‘100% coconut milk’ as the only ingredient, such as Aroy-D brand.

Makrut lime leaves are available fresh or frozen in Southeast Asian and South Asian markets. They may be labeled under a different name.

Palm sugar can be purchased at Thai markets, some supermarket chains like HMart, or online.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Store the curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When making ahead, add the sweet basil leaves just before serving to maintain their freshness and flavor.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
551 Calories
34g Fat
33g Carbs
32g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 551
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 44%
Saturated Fat 25g 123%
Cholesterol 137mg 46%
Sodium 2315mg 101%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 19mg 94%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 6mg 35%
Potassium 750mg 16%
*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.

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