Thai Curry Paste Episode XIV: The Yellow Curry, Kaeng Garee

Thai Yellow Curry, Kaeng Garee 6

After so many easy recipes, I think it’s time to bring you back to Thai curry paste. I still have many in store for you. This one is another very popular curry among the farangs, too. Remember I told you in the very first episode  that I’m not going to call Thai curry by the color but I’m going to use the Thai names, because a lot of curries have the same color due to the same base ingredients.

Using only color to call each curry is like calling all the Asians “Yellow” or call all the European “white”. No, I can’t discriminate against the Thai curries that way. Unfortunately, this curry that known is to most Westerners by the name “yellow curry” is called “Kaeng Kari” or “Kaeng Garee” in Thai.

What is so “unfortunate” about it?

Pronounce the name: Garee…Kari…Curry. Do you get it? The name of this curry actually is “Curry”! Haha…

If you try to order “Yellow Curry” at a restaurant in Thailand, you might end up getting the “Southern Sour Curry” instead of this “Yellow Curry”, because to the Thais there is another curry that they call by the color.

Remember the Sour curry that I posted in the past, Kaeng Som that has two meanings, sour curry or orange curry. There is a similar curry, with water base but the southern people use turmeric in the curry paste which makes the curry so yellow. (Don’t worry I will get to that later) They call that curry Kaeng Lueang (lueang=yellow).

This Kaeng Garee was very strongly influenced by Indian curry. You can tell from the ingredients of the curry paste. Normally, other than shrimp paste and dried spices, Thai curry paste ingredients don’t need to be cooked. If you remember the Chiang Mai Curry Noodles, Khao Soi, that is one of the curries that has a strong influence from Islamic Chinese; the ginger, galangal and even shallots are cooked before you can make the paste.

Kaeng Garee has ginger in the curry paste, cooked ginger and also cooked galangal too. Some households might even cook the garlic and shallots, but I like them uncooked. Also there are a lot of spices in it too: coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black cardamom. Some family recipes would also include fenugreek, cinnamon or mace, but I don’t use them.

I don’t usually like to eat Kaeng Garee as much as all the others curries. I probably cook this curry once every few years. Not a lot of people get to eat my Kaeng Garee but they get to eat my Guay Tiew Kaeng, which uses the same curry paste. You will get that recipe when I start writing about the variety of noodles in Thai cuisine later this year.

I’m giving you two ways of making the curry paste. One is my more typical, created by adding more ingredients to the Kaeng Kua curry paste, and the other is made from scratch.

Ingredients for curry paste using Kaeng Kua curry paste as a base (for 2)

Kaeng Kua curry paste 1/4 cups

Shallots, sliced (roasted is optional) 1 tablespoon

Garlic, sliced (roasted is optional) 1 teaspoon

Roasted Galangal, sliced or chopped 1 teaspoon

Roasted Ginger sliced or chopped 2 tablespoons

Roasted Coriander seeds 1 tablespoon

Roasted Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon

Roasted Black Cardamon 3 pods

Curry powder 2 teaspoons

Ingredients for curry paste from scratch

Dried red chilies (I used Anaheim pepper or California chili) 4 pods

Lemongrass, sliced 2 tablespoons

Shallots, sliced (roasted is optional) 3 tablespoons

Garlic, sliced (roasted is optional) 2 tablespoons

Roasted Galangal, sliced or chopped 1 tablespoon

Roasted Ginger, sliced or chopped 2 tablespoons

Roasted Coriander seeds 1 tablespoon

Roasted Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon

Roasted Black Cardamon 3 pods

Curry powder 2 teaspoons

Roasted Shrimp paste 1 teaspoon

Salt 1 teaspoon


1) For the one using Kaeng Kua curry paste, mush all the ingredients as I explained in the post about advanced Thai curry paste.

Thai Yellow Curry, Kaeng Garee 5

Thai Yellow Curry, Kaeng Garee 4

2) For the one from scratch I explain in detail in the post about green curry paste, Kaeng Khiao Wan.

Thai Yellow Curry, Kaeng Garee 2

Ingredients for the curry

Chicken or beef 1 lb. (Half a kilo)

Coconut milk 2 cups

Water 1 – 1–1/2 cups

Potatoes, cubed, about 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” size 1-2 cups

Onions, quartered 1 – 2 cups

Kaeng Garee curry paste 1/3 – 1/2 cup

Fish sauce 2 – 4 tablespoons

Palm sugar 1 – 2 tablespoons


1) Cook the curry paste with coconut milk (See this post about how to cook the curry paste)

2) Add the meat and cook until it seared on the outside.

3) Add more coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. If your meat is beef, don’t add the coconut milk yet, just add only water and continue cooking until the beef is near the tenderness you prefer first before you move to the next step. It would take about one hour or more with beef but only take about twenty minutes to half an hour for the chicken.

4) Add the onion and potato and start seasoning the curry. I have a bad habit of overcooking the potato. You should be careful about how done the potatoes are. The longer you cook, the more the potato breaks down and the starch from potato will bind the coconut milk and the coconut oil back together again.

The result is the “gloss” of the coconut oil that resulted from carefully cooking the curry paste until the coconut milk “breaks” would be gone. Of course, the curry will still taste good, but you won’t get the look of the authentic curry.

5) Adjust the taste while you wait for the potatoes and onions to be cooked.

6) If you really want to serve authentic Kaeng Garee, serve it with cucumber salad, A-Jad.

Thai Yellow Curry, Kaeng Garee 3

Sometimes I serve it with puff paratha or roti canai on top like a chicken pot pie. This curry is a nice surprise if you are going to make it pot pie style.

Thai Yellow Curry, Kaeng Garee 1

Thai Yellow Curry, Kaeng Garee 7

8 Comments on “Thai Curry Paste Episode XIV: The Yellow Curry, Kaeng Garee”

  1. Hi Miranti, another great post! I have a question. What is the “curry powder” needed for this recipe? Curry powders have many different compositions, and I want to make sure I use the right one.

    • If you want to make it simple, use any curry powder sell at any grocery store. They usually contains cumin, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, ground ginger.

      Thai usually contains more spice cumin, coriander, turmeric, red pepper, aniseed, black cardamom, green cardamom, cassia(cinnamon), bay leaves, sichuan pepper, black mustard, caraway, fenugreek and might be more. It closer to an Indian curry powder. You can buy them from Indian or Indonesian curry store.

      Either one are fine. I made my own sometime but each time it would last a few year. I can’t list all the spices because I can’t remember. I will start making it with cumin, coriander, turmeric, red pepper, black mustard and smell it then adding more and more. Sorry. I promise when I make another one I will list all the ingredients and post it.

  2. Sam Han says:

    No one will miss Thailand eating at your house :D Your food looks so gorgeous and the preparation work are so detailed. Your guests and hubby are lucky to have you cook for them!

  3. Beautiful settings and beautiful images.

  4. Conor Bofin says:

    HI Marinti, lovely education, photos and a very tasty looking curry too.

  5. G’day! YUM! I could almost smell this from here Miranti!
    Wish I could come through the screen and try!
    Cheers! Joanne

  6. Such and amazing array of flavors!

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