The Thai Curry Of Our Dreams
Do you love getting Thai take out and wish you could recreate those warm, fragrant flavors at home? The easy weeknight Thai curry recipe with scallops and string beans is a game changer!
Here’s why we love it so much:
- Full of flavor! Red curry paste, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and a ton of fresh herbs give this Thai red curry so much flavor you won’t even believe it.
- Crispy seared sea scallops. If you didn’t know that scallops would be my last meal on earth, now you do! They’re my favorite, and the sweetness with the spicy red curry sauce is so delicious.
- Other than cooking the scallops, the entire dish comes together in one pan.
- We add a ridiculous amount of fresh herbs, which brightens the whole curry right up!
- The flavors and texture are unbelievably well balanced. There’s creamy and crunchy, acidity and umami, sweet and spicy. It’s perfection.
- Served over creamy coconut rice! Perfect for sopping up every last drop of Thai curry sauce!
Ingredients For Thai Red Curry
For the Thai Red Curry Sauce:
- Coconut milk — You can use light coconut milk, but we recommend sticking with full fat coconut milk. Love that creamy curry sauce!
- Thai red curry paste — The not-so-secret ingredient that gives this sauce TONS of flavor with minimal effort! Our favorite brand is Thai Kitchen.
- Brown sugar — For sweetness and to counter the funkiness of the fish sauce.
- Fish sauce — Don’t hate on fish sauce! It’ll add that umami flavor that works so well in Asian recipes.
- Ginger paste — Instead of fresh grated ginger, try ginger paste. Less work involved and the same great flavor!
- Soy sauce — We go light on the kosher salt because soy sauce adds a signature salty flavor and a deep, rich color.
- Rice wine vinegar
- Sesame oil — There is no replacement for the flavor that sesame oil or toasted sesame oil adds! And because the flavor is so concentrated, a little goes a long way.
- Lime juice — Do not leave out! You need the acid from fresh lime juice!
The remaining ingredients:
- Jasmine rice (can of course substitute with white rice or other rice)
- Coconut milk
- String beans or haricot verts
- Dry sea scallops
- Fresh basil, for garnish
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Scallions, for serving
- Peanuts, crushed, for serving
How To Make Thai curry
There are three parts to this Thai curry recipe, but your efforts will be greatly rewarded!
First, make the coconut rice:
- Begin by rinsing rice in a colander for 30 seconds or until liquid runs clear.
- Combine jasmine rice and coconut milk together in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and set a timer for 20 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked. Fluff the coconut rice with a fork and set aside.
- Coconut rice can also be made in a rice cooker. Combine rinsed rice and coconut milk in a rice cooker bowl, seal, then set to ‘quick cook’ and press start.
Cook the string beans and make the Thai curry sauce:
- Pan fry string beans with garlic and ginger until blistered (see below).
- Deglaze the pan with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits.
- Add coconut milk, then add red curry paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce.
- Squeeze fresh lime juice, stir to combine, then reduce heat and simmer while you cook scallops.
Dry the sea scallops:
- Place scallops on a paper towel lined plate to dry and absorb any excess water for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- Check out this post for helpful tips on the how and why you absolutely should not skip this important step! It’ll also walk you through the steps to achieve perfect pan seared sea scallops.
Tips For Making The Best Thai Curry
Use store-bought red curry paste! It’s such an easy way to add immense flavor to your curry sauce without buying a ton of ingredients.
This is the brand we recommend and love. They also make a green curry paste if you prefer that!
What Is The Difference Between Red Curry, Green Curry, And Yellow Curry Pastes?
The main difference between different curry pastes are the types of chilies used in each.
– Red curry paste (Nam Phrik Kaeng Phet) uses dried red peppers and has a bold, spicy flavor.
– Green curry paste (Nam Phrik Kaeng Khiao Wan) uses fresh green chilies. It’s bright, vibrant, and very hot.
– Yellow curry paste (Nam Phrik Kaeng Kari) tends to be the sweetest.
When selecting a curry paste to cook with, consider its spice level.
Green curry paste tends to be the spiciest of the three, thanks in part to the fresh, fiery green chilies. Red curry paste is somewhere in the middle, but still packs some heat, while yellow curry paste is the most mild of the three.
If adding coconut milk to whichever recipe you’re making, the creaminess will cool them down quite a bit. Start with a little (1 tsp – 1 Tbsp) curry paste, then increase from there.
This is not a one size fits all recipe! The beauty of becoming more confident in a kitchen is the ease with which you can adapt recipes. So for instance, if you want to make the Thai red curry sauce, but switch out the protein, consider replacing sea scallops with one of the following: eggplant, chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu, or other fish.
Want to bulk up the veggies? Add spinach, steamed broccoli, or serve with ridiculously fast and easy blistered shishito peppers on the side (ready in 10 min and addictive af!)
While takeout is only ever a call away, we can’t help but favor the clean, simple ingredients in our homemade Thai red curry. You’ll be surprised by how much depth of flavor can be built in such a short amount of time!
Love simple Thai curries? Check out our well loved Thai turkey meatballs made with red curry paste and coconut milk. The meatballs cook in the oven for a stress-free, mess-free meal!
If you make this Simple Thai Curry recipe, please let us know by leaving a rating and review below.
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For more Asian-inspired meals, check out the following:
- Better than takeout spicy ramen noodles!
- Ahi tuna poké bowls
- Soy sauce marinated 7 minute eggs with sticky rice
- Spicy crab salad
- Miso-marinated salmon noodle bowls
- Easy seared sea scallops
Simple Thai Curry with Scallops and String Beans
For the coconut rice
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
For the seared scallops
- 1 – 1 ¼ lb large sea scallops 16 scallops, depending on size
- 3 Tbsp canola, vegetable, or grapeseed oil
- Kosher salt
For the coconut curry sauce
- 4 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil divided
- 1 lb string beans or haricot verts, ends trimmed, cut into 2" pieces
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce low-sodium
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp red curry paste
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice plus 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- 4 scallions thinly sliced, for garnish
- ¼ cup peanuts crushed, for garnish
To make coconut rice
- Rinse rice in a colander under cool water until water runs clear, about 30 seconds.
- Combine rice and coconut milk in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, then cover and cook 20 minutes. Set aside. For rice cooker instructions, see below.
To dry sea scallops
- Meanwhile, sprinkle scallops generously with kosher salt on both sides, then place on a paper towel lined plate to dry for 15 minutes. Gently pat scallops dry on both sides, then season again lightly with ½ tsp kosher salt.
To make coconut curry sauce
- In a large sauté pan or wok, heat 2 Tbsp canola oil over high heat. Add string beans and cook, stirring often, 4-5 minutes or until blistered and beginning to brown on all sides. Add minced garlic and ginger paste then cook 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits.
- Pour in remaining 1 can of coconut milk, then add red curry paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce, using the back of a spatula to throughly incorporate into the sauce. Add fresh lime juice, stir to combine, then taste and adjust seasonings as necessary, adding more soy sauce or salt as needed. Reduce heat to a simmer while you cook the scallops.
- Heat a large griddle, grill pan, or heavy bottomed skillet over high heat. Heat 3 Tbsp canola oil, then add scallops to the pan, being careful they do not touch. Cook for 1 minute per side, then remove.
- Spoon Thai curry sauce and string beans over coconut rice. Place 3-4 scallops on each bowl, then garnish with fresh basil, cilantro, scallions, and crushed peanuts. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
- Nutrition facts factor in all ingredients shown above, including rice.
- To make rice in a rice cooker: combine rinsed rice and coconut milk in the bowl of a rice cooker. Seal lid, then select ‘quick cook’ and press start. Fluff rice with a fork when finished.
- Can switch out red curry paste with green curry paste or yellow curry paste, but this will effect the flavor. Green curry paste is spicier. Yellow curry past is more mild.
- To make gluten-free, substitute gluten-free tamaro or coconut aminos in place of traditional soy sauce.
- In place of jasmine rice or white rice, you can substitute with brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice. However, cauli rice will NOT absorb coconut milk and should be served steamed or sautéed.
- To try other proteins, consider the following: chicken, beef, shrimp, eggplant, tofu, or other fish
- Suggested vegetables to add on or replace string beans: spinach, eggplant, steamed broccoli, or blistered shishito peppers.
This post was originally published in April 2018 and has since been updated with tips and tricks to make it easier for you to cook at home!