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Chiang Mai chicken curry

This northern Thai-style Chiang Mai curry is flavoured with ginger as well as turmeric. It’s slightly sour and deliciously light.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
This northern Thai-style curry is flavoured with ginger as well as turmeric. It's slightly sour and deliciously light.


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 700 gm skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into 6cm-8cm pieces
  • 1 star anise
  • 60 gm ginger, peeled and cut into julienne, plus extra to serve
  • 1½ tbsp tamarind extract, or to taste (see note)
  • 1 tbsp crushed light palm sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce, or to taste
  • 65 gm roasted peanuts, plus extra to serve
  • Steamed jasmine rice and Thai basil, to serve
Chiang Mai curry paste
  • 12 dried red chillies (10 gm), seeds removed, soaked in cold water for 2-3 hours, drained
  • 40 gm ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 golden shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk (white part only)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 10 gm fresh turmeric, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1cm)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds


  • 1
    For curry paste, chop chillies, then pound with remaining ingredients and 1 tsp salt to a smooth
    paste with a mortar and pestle (or process in a small food processor).
  • 2
    Heat coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add curry paste and stir until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add chicken and star anise, stir to coat, then add 400ml water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is almost cooked (15-20 minutes). Add ginger, tamarind and palm sugar, season to taste with fish sauce and extra tamarind if necessary; sauce should taste salty and sour. Simmer until chicken is tender and curry is well flavoured, adding peanuts during the last few minutes of cooking (20-25 minutes). Adjust seasoning with fish sauce and tamarind if necessary, then serve on rice and scatter with basil, extra ginger and
    extra peanuts.


To make tamarind extract, soak 1 tbsp tamarind pulp in 60 ml boiling water in a bowl for 5 minutes, then mix to form a paste and strain.
Drink Suggestion: Perfumed, bitter IPA. Drink suggestion by Max Allen