Thai red curry with chicken (pressure cooker recipe)


This is a version of a Thai red curry that I do in the pressure cooker. It mimics the way many of the cheaper and up-county Thai restaurants make their red chicken and beef curries. They don't produce individual servings, rather they cook up a big 10 or 20 litre pot in the morning and it sits simmering on the stove all day. By the end of the day the meat is beautifully soft and tender.

It tends also not to be a 'delicate' dish. It is generally characterised by big lumps of meat and potatoes that might be quartered if you are lucky.

I did this version in the pressure cooker which has the advantage of from slicing the first onion to serving can be accomplished in 45 minutes. Plus it is easy to do a large amount which becomes left-overs the next day.

Again the secret to a meal that not only tastes delicious but looks appertising is adding fresh garnish. The more the merrier.

I quite often make this dish to take advantage of specials in the supermarket.


Preparation time

Preparation is quick and simple. I estimate it takes a maximum of 15 minutes to prepare all the ingredients and when you are cooking the curry in the pressure cooker and the rice i the rice cooker it's as simple as 15 minutes prep and coming back 30 minutes later when the meal is done.



The ingredients can be flexible and vegetable wise you can use what you have available. The two standard ingredients that Thais will use is chicken and potato.

For this version I used:


  • Chicken thighs (skin removed) that were on special at the supermarket for $7.95. There were 10 of them so the pressure cooker was fairly full. I often use wings, nibbles or drumsticks but I think the bigger portions of meat work better as the pressure cooker breaks the meat right down
  • 3 onions
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 1 orange kumara
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • A couple of slices of ginger
  • Fish sauce (num pla)
  • 1 tablespoon of red curry paste (I used the Mae Ploy brand which is always good)
  • 5 tablespoons of Natura Abundance coconut milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons of Indonesian coconut sugar
  • Half a cup of fresh peanuts


  • Coriander
  • Spring onions
  • Red capsicum
  • Lebanese cucumber
  • Crushed roasted peanuts (I didn't add this time but often do)
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Fish sauce


  • 1 1/2 cups of Thai Jasmine rice
  • 2 cups of water

Preparation & cooking

Step 1

My Step 1 when making a Thai curry is to get the curry paste and vegetables organised and then everything else is fairly simple.

Curry Paste:

  • Add 1 tablespoon of curry paste to a cup and add enough boiling water to dissolve it (when cooking in the pressure cooker you need to keep the added water to a minimum as the cooking process tends to separate out excess moisture)
  • Add the coconut milk powder (add a little more water if required) and get rid of most of the lumps
  • Add the coconut sugar
  • Set aside ready for use


  • Slice the 3 onions and then halve the slices
  • Cut the potatoes into chunks about 1 to 2 cm square (alternatively you can leave them in bigger chunks)
  • Cut the kumara into similar sized squares
  • You could add a chopped tomato or two but I didn't


Step 2

I start with the pressure cooker on saute for about 8 minutes and:

  • Saute the onions until they start to go soft
  • Add the chicken thighs or whatever meat you are using
  • when the saute function is finished add the potato, kumara and peanuts and mix all the ingredients together
  • Pour the red curry mix over the top and do another little mix
  • Put on the pressure cooker lid and set for 25 to 30 minutes

If you are not using a pressure cooker you would basically follow the same sequence and adjust the amount of time taken to accommodate the slower cooking time in a saucepan.

Not that this version of a curry is not cooked in a wok.


Step 3

Once the curry is cooking prepare the rice.

I find the easiest and most consistant way to cook rice is in the rice cooker.

Rinse the rice 2 or 3 times.

One and a half cups of rice is best cooked in a little over 2 cups of water. It will produce enough rice for about 3 to 4 servings.

You can often overlook the importance of the rice in Thai cooking but boiled rice in Thai is called 'Khao Soo-ay' which literally translated means Rice Beautiful. Likewise curries and the whole range of dishes that are generally eaten with rice are called 'Gup' for short. Which means 'With'.

That may souund a bit obscure but every Thai will know what you are talking about if you are talking 'Gup'. The Gup is short for 'Gup Khao', meaning 'With Rice'.


Step 4

The final step is to prepare the garnish. A fresh garnish sets off this (and most Thai meals) beautifully. The garnish adds a crispness that is missing if you simply have the curry over rice.

Preparing the garnish for this meal was quite simple:

  • Coriander chopped into reasonably small pieces
  • A red capsicum finely sliced. I used a kitchen slicer to get the rings as fine as I could. I try to get them rice-paper thin
  • Spring onions copped into little rings. I try to get both some of the green and the harder white vegetable near the base
  • Thinly slice the cucumber
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Fish sauce to pour

If you are adding crushed peanuts I generally make them in the microwave:

  • Add fresh peanuts to a ceramic bowl with some raw virgin coconut oil covered with paper towel
  • Microwave on high for about 60 seconds
  • Give them a stir and microwave again for about 30 seconds and then stir
  • Repeat this a number of times gradually reducing the microwave time. You can see when they are done by the change in the colour
  • Leave to cool
  • When cool crush in either a pestle and mortar or you can put them in a plastic bag and beat with a hammer
  • I find it is easier to do a larger amount which then means you have some on hand for subsequent meals


Step 5

The final step is putting it all together:

  • Measure out the rice on a plate. I use a couiple of plastic containers I have accumulated which makes for a nice effect. I have a couple of different sizes that I use for big eaters and small eaters
  • Add the bigger chicken pieces over the rice first
  • Ladle over the remaining ingredients, adding some sauce but not enough to drown the plate
  • Add the sliced cucumber to the side of the dish
  • Over the top add the capsicum, chopped spring onion followed by the coriander and then the crushed peanuts
  • Lastly add a squeeze of lemon and a shake of fish sauce

Forty five minutes and you have a fantastic tasting meal at a budget price!



  • Thai Red Curry Chicken Pressure Cooker GI
  • Thai Red Curry Chicken Pressure Cooker 2 GI
  • Thai Red Curry Chicken Pressure Cooker 3 GI
  • Coconut Sugar 2 Spoons GI
  • Thai Red Curry Chicken Pressure Cooker GI
  • Thai Red Curry Chicken Pressure Cooker 2 GI
  • Thai Red Curry Chicken Pressure Cooker 3 GI
  • Coconut Sugar 2 Spoons GI

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