Weeknight Thai Red Curry Chicken Recipe, Simplified
I made Thai Red Curry Chicken at home with an easy to use sauce mix. It was a simple and satisfying meal for a busy weeknight dinner.
Disclosure: This post is unsponsored as I’m sharing this recipe because I think readers might enjoy it, viva allergy aware Asian fare.
I love Thai food and ever since our family has been affected by food allergies. I know you all like Thai food too because Peanut Free Pad Thai is one of my most requested and favorite recipes. Thai restaurants seem off-limits due to potential cross contact concerns and because there are so many ingredients which are unfamiliar to me. I haven’t ever attempted to make a Thai red curry chicken from scratch because I don’t know how to start finding or handling unfamiliar ingredients, such as Thai red chili, galangal, Kefir lime leaves, and lemongrass.
When I introduce a new cuisine or a new dish, I always opt for the easiest way first so that I don’t have to put in a lot of effort or buy a lot of new ingredients that might be costly or difficult to find. If my family doesn’t like it, it’s no big deal we can move on. If they do like it, then I would work on improving the recipe or making it from scratch. Thai food lovers rejoice! I found a Thai red curry sauce mix that takes 10 minutes to make and dinner is on the table by the time the rice is ready.
Allergy Aware Curry
I received some samples of McDonnell’s Thai Curry Sauce Mixes outside the Winter Fancy Food Show, so I didn’t meet or talk with the company at all. One of the ways I check whether a product is allergy safe to search for recalls on the brand. When I did that with McDonnells, I discovered no recalls but that McDonnell’s curry products are extremely popular in Ireland.
The ingredient label calls out coconut and milk as allergens. I contacted the manufacturer via their website recently to ask about potential cross-contact, I was happy to recieve this response from them: “I can confirm that the McDonnells Curry Sauce is Free from nuts and is produced in a nut-free facility. These products are available to buy in the US from our distributor Food Ireland – www.foodireland.com”
The curry sauce mix contains milk and coconut but if you have any other allergens or any non-top 8 allergens, you must reach out to McDonnells and ask if their curry sauce mixes are safe for you. Aside from their statement above, I don’t have any additional allergen information (such as whether they do any allergen testing or whether they have their suppliers verify allergen safety, etc.) so reach out to them. Your questions eventually become Frequently Asked Questions.
Thai Red Curry Simplified
There are instructions on the package on how to make the mix and a simple recipe using chicken breasts and bell pepper. I didn’t have chicken breasts on hand and used chicken thighs instead because they are easier to use. I reduced the fat in the recipe by reducing the amount of oil, use reduced fat coconut milk, and using milk instead of heavy cream.
One of my sons is allergic to bell peppers so I omitted it but it’s possible to use other preferred vegetables instead. The key is to put them in at the right time, put hard vegetables that take longer to cook in earlier and put soft tender vegetables during the last few minutes of simmering. Alternatively, you could use steamed or blanched vegetables which are already at the right texture.
I made the Thai Red Chicken Curry and served it over rice. My kids were ready with cups of milk in case the curry was too spicy for them even though the curry was mildly spicy. I loved the flavor and our family enjoyed our meal immensely, we barely had enough leftovers for my lunch the next day. I happened to have another packet of Thai Green Curry sauce mix and the response was less than enthusiastic from all of us. I think we all preferred the red thai curry more.
This recipe as written is free of peanuts, tree nuts (except coconut), egg, shellfish, fish, soy, and wheat.
It’s not possible to adapt the recipe to be free of milk or coconut because of the mix. However, you could try Thai Kitchen’s Red Curry Paste, made by McCormick (which you can easily verify for allergens by phone or email) and add your own non-dairy milk and/or omit coconut.
It is possible to make your own red curry paste if you can find ingredients such as red Thai chili, lemongrass, Kefir lime or leaves, galangal, whole white peppercorns, coriander root, and mash them with easier to find ingredients like garlic, ginger, etc..
If you have a seafood allergy, be aware that some red curry pastes products or recipe might use shrimp paste.
- 1 package of McDonnell's Thai Red Curry Chicken Sauce mix
- ½ cup hot water
- ¾ cup milk, divided (I used non-fat)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 5-6 pieces of chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut up into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup of blanched or steamed vegetables (optional)
- ¼ cup coconut milk (I used reduced fat)
- 2-3 scallions, chopped into 1 inch pieces, separate whites and greens
- freshly cooked rice
- Add curry sauce mix, hot water, and ½ cup milk into a small sauce pan, whisk, cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened, set aside.
- Preheat a large frying pan for 1-2 minutes on medium heat, add oil and onions, saute for 1 minute.
- Add chicken, saute for 5 minutes until no longer pink.
- Add cooked vegetables (if using), curry sauce, ¼ cup of milk, coconut milk, scallion whites, and reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add scallion greens, stir, and serve over freshly cooked rice.
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