Scrumptious,Oil-free, Thai Red curry

All this yummy curry-talk in the blogsphere made me want to rustle up one of my favourite curries, the thai red curry. Most cooks in Thailand make coconut based curries without adding any oil, as the coconut milk iteslf is fairly rich in oil. However, since some recipe books advise frying the paste in oil, I was reluctant to try otherwise for a long time. A few months back, a lonely afternoon found me cooking only for myself , and I thought what the heck, lets try out curry without oil.

Surprise, surprise..not only did it turn out tastier, with a more pronounced coco-nutty favour, it looked way richer than my earlier curries did. Although, for this method to work well, it is critical to use good quality coconut milk, which separates easily on frying, poor quality coconut milk sometimes curdles with this method. Some recipes that also use this method are here and here.

We need

  • 1 cup of mixed veggies+tofu/chicken
  • 1.5 tbsp curry paste
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 cup coconut milk/water ( For a richer curry, use coconut milk)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tbsp light soya sauce

Here's what I did:

1. Prepare all the ingredients you want to use for the curry-I used carrots, cauliflower, beans and ready cooked tofu.

2.Skim off two tablespoons of the thick coconut cream which settles if you leave the milk undisturbed for a while and add to the pan.

3. On a low flame stir for a few minutes till it breaks.You will notice specks of oil when this happens. Have patience-this can take a few minutes. You want to avoid oil now, don't you ?

4. Add curry paste ( I used readymade paste picked up from thailand this time-which also explains the otherwordly orange colour! but the recipe I use to make it from scratch is very close to the one from this book)

5. Mix it well and stir intermittently till it starts looking like this- it will take only a minute or so

6. Add water/coconut milk-I used water, but coconut milk gives it a more mellow flavour & colour and not the bright red you see here.

7. Let it come to a boil and add the veggies only. ( I add tofu later, but if you are using chicken/meat which needs longer cooking, I believe it needs to be added now).

8. When the veggies are almost cooked, add tofu, soya/fish sauce & lime leaves and let it simmer for another minute.

9. Take it off the flame. You can drizzle some coconut milk on top like the restaurants tend to- I invariably skip this. Also add some some fresh basil leaves-I ran out of it, but it adds a wonderful aroma.

10. Serve with some steamed jasmine rice and slurp up !


  1. kya baat hai rashmi behen... kya photu kya tempting curry ... tooo good... mast tha presentation ..

  2. this is something new,..will sure try,.btw hpe ur aware of swc gujarat,..

  3. YUMMO! What a great color and oil free to. Wonderful dish.
    I made Oil free chicken from Sunita's blog last week, was great, didn't miss oil at all!:)

  4. lovely curry! I will have it with mix. veggies as I am a vegetarin. Looks so delicious.

  5. Wonderful.....something new to try out..nice recipe..

  6. great recipe...very well instructed...will try..

  7. what an appealing color!!!this makes the dish even more delcious:)..loved it.

  8. Yummy Looks so delicious.
    What can one ask more than oil free dishes

  9. lovely colour without oil..Great yaar.

  10. lovely colours....and very tempting...

  11. Hi everyone,

    Thanks you so much for the comments, although I must confess that the credit for the vivid colour goes entirely to the curry paste that I bought from Thailand ;)

  12. Nice! Thanks for the step by step pictures. I like the idea of oil-free curry coz mine is usually loaded! :(

  13. Vani:
    Thanks for stopping by. Sometimes my curries are also easy on oil, but of late we are looking for ways to reduce that.And BTW your daughter is a DOLL. Hugs to her:)

  14. great step-by-step recipe! Incidentally I just made this today as well! You have a nice blog here :)

  15. Vandy,
    Thanks for coming over & leading me to your blog. Like everything I saw there:)