This is one of my favorite creations. When I make a batch, I often just eat the sauce straight out of the tub in the refrigerator!

  • Preparation + cooking: 90 minutes
  • Makes 3 liters (3.2 quart) = 8-10 servings
  • Best when made at least 1 day ahead, tastes good for many days (keep refrigerated)
  • Freezes well.

Latest update: 14 May 2019

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  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • Use tiny black Indian mustard seeds from your local Asian supermarket
  • There appears to be only one variety; the seeds looks like very small black pepper corns.
  • Absolutely do not use European type yellow or brown mustard!!
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds, cracked, stems removed
  • Crack them in a mortar, or (as I do) put them in a ziplock bag and roll with a with a dough rolling pin.
  • A package of coriander seeds typically also has very thin stems - remove them.
  • Do not use pre-ground coriander seeds. Just like you only use fresh ground pepper, and never pre-ground pepper from a shaker, right?! (say "yes")
  • 350 grams yellow onions, very finely diced/chopped
  • Weight is after peeling and cleaning the onions; about 1½-2 large onions (375 gram before peeling)
  • 250 grams carrots, cleaned, very finely diced/chopped
  • About 1½-2 large carrots
  • 125 grams celery stalks, ribs removed, very finely diced/chopped
  • Weight is after removing leafy parts and white end of the stalks. About 1½-2 stalks.
  • 1 large red bell pepper (paprika), core removed, sliced and cut into 2-3 cm (1 inch) long pieces
  • 2 large size cans (560 ml = 19 fl. oz. each) or 3 medium size cans (400 ml = 13.5 fl. oz.) of coconut milk (55% coconut)
  • I use Aroy-D brand. Note that all major brands have 2 or 3 kinds of coconut milk. I use unsweetened "cooking" milk, rather than "dessert" milk with sugar. This is not critical.
  • 180 grams (6 oz. =  3 standard pouches) of instant coconut cream powder (e.g., Cock brand)
  • 1 small can (114 grams = 4 oz) of red curry paste (e.g., Maesri brand)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly minced ginger, or ginger paste.
  • I use regular ginger, not Thai ginger (a.k.a. galangal and kha)
  • 3 rounded tablespoons minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (can be stored indefinitely in the refigerator)
  • 100 grams (6 rounded tablespoons) of palm sugar or coconut sugar, broken up into small pieces
  • If it is hard to cut, break up, or grate, just stick it in the microwave oven for 20-30 seconds
  • These are unrefined, low-glycemic sugars, made from boiled-down sap of the flower buds of sugar palm and coconut palm trees respectively.
  • If your local Asian supermarket does not have palm sugar, use soft regular dark brown sugar (does not exist in France...)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons of fish sauce.
  • I use Vietnamese nuoc mam, but Thai fish sauce is fine too (though much saltier)
  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice. Do not substitute with lemon juice!
  • 1 tablespoon of dark sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 300 grams (at least 12 tablespoons) chunky peanut butter. Chunky means that it has pieces of whole peanut in it.
  • I just measure the weight of the jar before I start scooping the peanut butter out of it.
  • If you live in a deprived part of the world and your supermarket only carries creamy peanut butter (yuck), then add 1-2 handfuls of roasted peanuts (without the reddish-brown skins), coarsely chopped up.
  • 6-8 whole kaffir lime leaves. Mandatory ingredient!
  • Kaffir lime is a small, knobby lime, known as makrut in Thailand. It has a unique flavor, as do the leaves, and is a key ingredient in many Thai dishes. I use dried leaves, as fresh leaves are hard to find (and fresh kaffir limes are even rarer).
  • peanut oil or vegetable oil for the wok



  • Dough rolling pin (for cracking the coriander seeds)
  • Large wok or large, deep frying pan
  • medium size bowl
  • Large wooden spoon
  • Large wooden spatula


  • Put several tablespoons of vegetable oil or peanut oil (never olive oil - its smoke point is far too low for hot frying!) in a large wok
  • Add the cracked coriander seeds and mustard seeds, and put on high heat
  • Use enough oil such that the seeds ar enot dry after you stir them into the oil.
  • When the seeds begin to pop, add the onions, carrots, celery, thoroughly mix, and then reduce the heat to medium/ow-medium
  • With a large wooden spoon and spatula, stir regularly (at least very 2 minutes) until the vegetables are cooked
  • This will take quite a while: about 20 minutes (the pieces of carrot should almost be done)
  • Use the entire surface of the wok! Use the spatula to spread the chopped veggies.
  • It looks like a lot of veggies, but don't worry: the volume will reduce by about 50% in the process
  • Do not fry the veggies!
  • Add the  bell pepper, and cook some more
  • Open the cans of coconut milk and carefully stir, to mix the watery part with the thicker part
  • Add 1 + 1/2 can of the stirred coconut milk to the vegetables, and stir until homogeneous
  • Add the can of red curry paste to the remaining 1/2 can of coconut milk, and mix thoroughly
  • Make sure you do not get any of the paste in your eyes - you will not like it!
  • Add the dissolved curry paste to the vegetables, and stir in until blended
  • Add the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, palm sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, tamarind paste, salt, and mix
  • Add the peanut butter, a spoon at a time, and stir into the sauce mass to dissolve
  • Put the coconut powder into a bowl, and crush the lumps with a fork
  • Sprinkle the coconut powder over the sauce and stir in
  • Add the (dried) kaffir leaves and carefully push them into the sauce
  • The dried leaves are fragile and break up easily - try and avoid this
  • The leaves are not meant to be eaten, only to impart flavor - remove from the sauce just before serving
  • Let simmer slowly for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally


  • Serve with Basmati rice
  • Per person: serve with 100-200 grams (4-6 oz) of fresh large shrimp (shelled, deveined) or boneless, skinless chicken breast filet (diced)
  • Fry the diced chicken meat with some vegetable or peanut oil (never olive oil) in a hot wok or frying pan until golden on all sides, then add to the sauce
  • Briefly fry the cleaned shrimp in some oil on both sides, until the shrimp begins to turn orange. Then add the sauce and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes

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