Thai Green Curry, or Kaeng Khiao Wan as it is known locally, is a rich, fragrant, and visually appealing dish that perfectly captures the essence of Thai cuisine.
Its history is as vibrant as the dish itself, as it’s deeply intertwined with Thailand’s culinary and cultural journey.
This beloved curry’s journey began hundreds of years ago when Thailand was a crossroads for world trade.
The free exchange of ideas and goods introduced many new ingredients into the country.
Particularly significant were the chilies from Central and South America brought in by the Portuguese.
Over time, these chilies became central to Thai cooking, creating the characteristically fiery dishes that Thai cuisine is known for.
Kaeng Khiao Wan literally translates to “sweet green curry.” Contrary to the name, it is not a sweet curry.
The “sweet” in its name refers to the color green, which is considered “sweet” or light in traditional Thai color descriptions.
Green curry has a unique place in the spectrum of Thai curries, recognized for its bright green color from the fresh green chilies used in the curry paste.
The paste also contains ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves, which contribute to the curry’s distinctive aroma and flavor.
In the past, making the curry paste was a labor-intensive task that required grinding the ingredients using a mortar and pestle. It was often a communal activity, bringing families together in the kitchen to create this delightful dish.
During the reign of King Rama VI (1910-1925), Thai green curry was introduced to the royal court and quickly became a favorite.
It was during this period that the dish started to acquire its current form, with the addition of coconut milk, which was a luxury ingredient in those days.
Over the years, Thai Green Curry has evolved and been adopted by many different cultures.
It has become a symbol of Thai cuisine globally, winning over hearts and palates with its combination of heat from the chilies, creamy texture from the coconut milk, and fragrant aroma from the herbs.
From humble beginnings in the villages of Thailand, Thai Green Curry has journeyed to international recognition and adoration, embodying the balance of flavors that Thai cuisine celebrates: sweet, sour, salty, and spicy.
Despite its evolution, the heart of this dish remains the same – a celebration of Thai culture, community, and the love for food.
Now, let’s dive into the recipe and create your own chapter in the history of this magnificent dish.
This version is made with chicken, but you can use any kind of protein. I have also added Culiflower and baby corn.