Chiang Mai-style vegetable curry

Chiang Mai curry.
Chiang Mai curry. Photo: Murdoch Books

This aromatic hot and spicy Thai curry is suitable for vegetarians if you replace the fish sauce with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari*.


2 dried red chillies

2 tsp coriander seeds

5cm piece galangal, finely chopped

10cm piece lemon grass, chopped

4 red shallots, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground cinnamon

3 garlic cloves, crushed

5cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated

2 tbsp vegetable oil

½ tsp ground turmeric

3 tbsp coconut milk

200g fresh shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped

125g green beans, trimmed and cut into 5cm pieces

125g baby corn, halved on the diagonal

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)

2 tsp sugar

2 tbsp fish sauce*

65g (¾ cup) bean sprouts, tails trimmed

coriander leaves, to serve


1. Soak the dried chillies in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain and roughly chop. Put the chopped chilli, coriander seeds, galangal, lemon grass, shallots, cumin and cinnamon in a small food processor and grind to a paste, or pound with a mortar and pestle. If it seems too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water. In a separate bowl combine the garlic and ginger.

2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and cook the garlic and ginger paste for about 30 seconds. Add the curry paste and cook for 2 minutes, or until aromatic.

3. Add one by one, stirring well after each addition, the ground turmeric, coconut milk, mushrooms, beans, baby corn, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce and 250ml (1 cup) of boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes then serve, garnished with the bean sprouts and coriander leaves. Delicious with noodles or rice.