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Thai Yellow Curry (Gaeng Kari)

Thai Yellow Curry, or Gaeng Kari, is a popular dish in overseas Thai restaurants with its eye-catching yellow color and a flavor that’s just the right mix of sweet, savory, and with a hint of spice. It’s like a delicious handshake between Thai and Indian cooking, thanks to spices like turmeric that originally hail from the subcontinent. What gives yellow curry its sunny disposition? Turmeric, of course! And while it’s gentler and creamier than its Thai curry cousins, it’s the perfect starter curry for anyone looking to dip their toes into Thai cuisine. Plus, the coconut milk makes it so comforting.

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When it comes to what’s in it, Thai yellow curry packs a punch with turmeric, curry powder, and a bunch of other spices that aren’t just tasty—they’re pretty good for you, too. Potatoes thicken things up, making the curry hearty even though they’re not a Thai original. And while chicken yellow curry is a popular variation, any other meat or seafood works very well too.

Is Yellow Curry Healthy?

Digging into a bowl of Thai Yellow Curry isn’t just a treat for your taste buds; it’s also packed with ingredients that are good for your health, including:

  • Turmeric – Not only does it give the curry its signature color but is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Garlic – Great for your heart and can boost your immune system.
  • Ginger – Aids digestion and can fend off colds.
  • Chillies – Good for metabolism.
  • Galangal – Known for its digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Lemongrass – Can help relieve anxiety and help with sleep.

Is Yellow Curry Spicy?

Yellow curry is known for its mild and somewhat sweet flavor, making it one of the least spicy Thai curries. While green curry derives its vibrant hue from Bird’s Eye chillies, yellow curry gets its characteristic yellow color from turmeric. Nittaya yellow curry paste adds just a hint of dried red chili, providing a subtle warmth that enhances the flavor without overwhelming it.

how to cook thai yellow curry

Preparing Thai Yellow Curry at Home

Making a tasty Thai Yellow Curry at home is surprisingly easy and quick! The key ingredient is yellow curry paste which already contains the perfect balance of ingredients. While the recipe we’ve got is for chicken yellow curry, feel free to substitute with any meat you like. In just 25 minutes, you’ll have a curry that’s every bit as tasty as what you’d get in a Thai restaurant!


  • 6 chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) chopped in to 1,5 inch pieces
  • 1-2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large shallot or onion, cut into strips
  • 1 lb of potatoes (such as )
  • 3 tablespoon Nittaya yellow curry paste
    Coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Thai basil for garnish
how to cook thai yellow curry

Cooking Tips

When it comes to potatoes, choosing a less starchy variety like Warba is recommended to prevent them from breaking down during cooking. If Warba potatoes are not available, red potatoes are a good alternative. The curry typically includes boneless, skinless chicken thighs, shallots or onions, and is garnished with Thai basil, creating a flavorful and inviting dish.


  • Start by heating the cooking oil in a pan. Add the shallot (or onions) and cook them until they’re soft.
  • Mix in the yellow curry paste well with the cooked shallots. Slowly add about half of the coconut milk, stirring it into the curry paste.
  • Add the chicken and potatoes in the pan, making sure they’re covered in the curry mix.
  • Add the rest of the coconut milk and some chicken stock. You can adjust the amount of stock to make sure the potatoes are covered but the curry isn’t too watery.
  • Let the curry simmer, then lower the heat and cover the pan.
  • Let it cook for about 15 minutes so the chicken and potatoes get tender and the flavors come together.
  • Finally, add the fish sauce and sugar. Taste and feel free to adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Finish by adding some fresh basil leaves for extra flavor.
Serve your yellow curry hot with Jasmine rice. You may also want to complement the dish with a refreshing Thai cucumber relish, known as Ajaad, which adds a delightful contrast of flavors and textures.