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The BEST Authentic Kaeng Kari Kai Recipe – Thai Yellow Curry Chicken

Learn how to make one of the most delicious and flavorful of all Thai curry soups called kaeng kari kai.

Thai Kaeng Kari Kai  is one of the most popular and sought after dishes in my family’s repertoire of hand-me down recipes. It’s been a staple dish that has even been seen in a family restaurant menu. 

It’s boldest flavors are curry paste and coconut milk. This curry soup is often served with a sliced French baguette that is dipped in the curry soup. 

While most people have heard of red and green curries, Thai yellow curry (which is not called that in Thai by the way) is one that most people overlook. But those that have tasted know that it is one of the best Thai curries out there.

Thai yellow curry

All About Kaeng Kari Kai, Thai Yellow Curry with Chicken

Kaeng Kari Kai is one of the most popular dishes served in the streets of Thailand. The creamy sweetness of the coconut cream and the subtle flavors from the red curry makes this dish delightful even for the best of us that can’t handle spice. 

History on Thai Curry

Curry has it’s origins from India, so this Thai dish does incorporate some Indian influence with a mix of it’s own flavors.

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What does kaeng kari kai taste like?

Kaeng Kari Kai has a rich, flavorful and vibrant taste. It has vegetables like carrots and potatoes. The potatoes make this dish absolutely filling as a main course.

Often, Kaeng Kari Kai is accompanied with a French baguette that is dipped into the delicious curry. It can also be served over a bowl of jasmine rice.

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What does Kaeng Kari Kai mean?

Kaeng Kari really means “curry soup” and Kai means “chicken”.  Kaeng can refer to soup or curries. 

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What are other names for Thai yellow curry?

Thai yellow curry is known as “Kaeng Kari Kai” for the chicken variety. The name Kaeng Lueang, which means yellow curry, is a term never used in Thailand to reference this dish and is a completely different dish.

Kaeng Kari can be translated as curry soup or curry curry. The end of the dish is normally appended with the protein, like “kai” which means chicken.

Due to translation of type script, kaeng can also be written as gaeng and chicken can be written as kai or gai. So here are the different monikers this dish can go by:

  • Thai yellow curry
  • Kaeng Kari Kai
  • Gaeng Kari Gai

What are the main ingredients of Kaeng Kari Kai?

Generally, the base is made with a curry paste with coconut milk. Proteins that are most popular for this dish includes chicken, duck, tofu, and shrimp.

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What is kaeng kari kai served with?

You can serve this with a French baguette or over a bowl of rice. Traditionally, it is also served with cucumber and Thai eggplant for dipping as well.

Thai Yellow Curry Nutrition

Curry can be a healthy and nutritious meal when you pack it full of vegetables. 

A bowl of Thai yellow curry (Kaeng Kari Kai) that is made with chicken has 391 calories with 22g of total fat.

Asian Grocery Store Shopping List for Kaeng Kari Kai

Red Curry Paste

The base of this curry paste is chili that blends a combination of cumin seeds, galangal root, lemon grass, coriander seeds, cumin, lemongrass, and ginger.

Make sure you look for this can (and potentially stock up on it)!

thai kaeng kari kai curry

Thai Yellow Curry

This is the package you’ll need to get.

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Coconut Cream

Get a can of coconut milk or cream (I prefer the blue can) for this dish.

savory coconut cream for sticky rice 001

Thai Eggplant

Thai eggplant is generally found in the vegetable section and is readily available at your Asian grocer year round. It taste nothing like it’s sibling the purple eggplant.

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Tips and Tricks on Making Thai Yellow Curry

You’ll need to make sure that you powder the chicken with the yellow curry prior to putting into the coconut cream broth.

Another tip: When measuring the water, use the water to rinse out the empty can of coconut milk so you get the remaining parts inside the can!

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About My Version of Thai Kaeng Kari Kai

I use a shortcut for the curry by using premade curry paste. It saves a lot of time and effort from making it from scratch. Curry paste from scratch requires a lot of different ingredients, but when you are wanting curry for a busy weeknight, curry paste is the way to go.

This is a simple recipe that you can make in just under an hour.

You can add more or less sugar to this recipe as you’d like. I cut the sugar down in this recipe because I know my sweet palette might not be as sweet as some of you out there! I add up to 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar personally, so I cut it down to 2 tablespoons for this recipe. Add more near the end of the simmering process if you find you are missing the sweetness. You can also add a hint of fish sauce if you need a little kick.

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How to Make Thai Kaeng Kari Kai – Thai Yellow Curry with Chicken

Ingredients for Kaeng Kari Kai

Marinade

  • 2 chicken breast, cubed into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of yellow curry powder

Stock

  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons of curry paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk (full)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 yukon potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 cups of water

Instructions for Making Thai Yellow Curry with Chicken

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Powder the chicken with the yellow curry powder. kaeng kari kai thai yellow curry 005
  2. Next, get a pot and on medium heat, add the cooking oil and red curry paste. Blend together well.
  3. Add a quarter of the coconut milk and turn it up to medium high heat until it starts bubbling. Continue stirring until the color starts forming.
  4. Next, pour the remaining coconut milk, onion, potatoes, half and half, and sugar into the pot. kaeng kari kai thai yellow curry 005
  5. Add in 2 cups of water.
  6. kaeng kari kai thai yellow curry 005
  7. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Allow the chicken to cook through. 
  8. Serve!

Serving Kaeng Kari Kai

Serve Kaeng Kari Kai in a bowl right from the stove with a slide baguette and Thai eggplant quartered.

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Preserving Kaeng Kari Kai

Can Kaeng Kari Kai Thai yellow curry be made ahead of time?

While the curry is best served when made fresh, it can be made ahead of time. If you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it can last up to 3 days.

Can you freeze Kaeng Kari Kai Thai yellow curry?

Yes, it can be frozen for up to 3 months, thawed in the refrigerator, and reheated over the stove or in the microwave.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Thai Kaeng Kari Kai

What’s the difference between red, green, and yellow Thai curries?

  • Green curry is the hottest of the three Thai curries. Green curry often uses bamboo shoots, green bell peppers, onions, and peas within its recipes.
  • Red curry gets its distinguishing color from the red chilies, and is still spicy in its own right due to the addition of peppercorns. Red curry uses bamboo shoots, green beans, red bell peppers and onions in most Thai recipes.
  • Yellow curry is the most mild of the three curries because it contains coconut cream and/or milk. The color comes from the tumeric and generally is cooked with carrot, potato, and onion.

What is curry?

Curry is a term that references food with a wide variety of spiced preparations. 

What’s the difference between Indian and Thai Curry?

Indian curry is generally made with turmeric, cumin, and coriander. It is often simmered with curry leaves, but does not make use of heavy as a sauces as Thai curry. Thai curry uses curry pastes that are often mixed with coconut milk and coconut cream to form a deeply rich and vibrant sauce in which vegetables and proteins are braised into.

Summary About Making Kaeng Kari Kai

I hope you will try making this recipe, it is one of our family’s most commonly requested recipe hands down. It is packed full of delicious flavors and it’s comforting and satisfying. 

I am sure if you make this for a gathering, it will be an absolute hit!

kaeng kari kai thai yellow curry 005

Authentic Kaeng Kari Kai Recipe - Thai Yellow Curry Chicken

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Learn how to make one of the most delicious and flavorful of all Thai curry soups called kaeng kari kai.

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 2 chicken breast, cubed into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of yellow curry powder

Stock

  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons of curry paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk (full)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 yukon potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Powder the chicken with the yellow curry powder.
  2. Next, get a pot and on medium heat, add the cooking oil and red curry paste. Blend together well.
  3. Add a quarter of the coconut milk and turn it up to medium high heat until it starts bubbling. Continue stirring until the color starts forming.
  4. Next, pour the remaining coconut milk, onion, potatoes, half and half, and sugar into the pot.
  5. Add in 2 cups of water.
  6. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Allow the chicken to cook through. 
  7. Serve.

Notes

Serve Kaeng Kari Kai in a bowl right from the stove with a slide baguette and Thai eggplant quartered.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 172mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 6g

Other Thai Recipes You Might Like

Thai yellow curry bowl
Laos rice porridge bowl

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