One of my go to Thai recipes when I am cooking for other people is always a basic Thai yellow curry. In fact, after arriving in Thailand on my first of many trips, the first meal I ate was a yellow curry from a shack of a restaurant in Bangkok. This Thai-inspired mango chicken curry is very similar to my yellow curry recipe, with a few liberties.
Just like in many of my Thai recipes on this site, I am not a stickler against store bought curry pastes. In fact, unless you plan on going to a Thai wet market to pick up ingredients, you’re going to have a difficult time making something better than a store bought sauce will make. The paste I’m using in this recipe I one I picked up on my most recent trip by the brand LOBO. However I also wholeheartedly recommend Mae Ploy which you can buy here.
Other great Thai recipes you might like include:
What Meat Should You Use?
In most of my chicken recipes I suggest using the thigh meat. This recipe calls for four thighs. I’ve simply removed the bone and cut the meat (skin on) into large chunks. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Ingredients For The Mango Curry Sauce
The ingredients in this dish are easy to find, and simple to prepare. You’ll need: 30 grams Thai Yellow Curry paste, 2 large shallots finely diced, 1 large mango cut into chunks, and an inch of microplaned ginger. The curry is coconut based so you’ll also use 400 ml of thick coconut milk (comes in a can like a solid, and not easily pourable).
You’ll also need some salt and red chili flakes for the chicken, as well as a red bell pepper and stalk of lemongrass, but we’ll get to that later.
For the ginger I recommend a microplane, but you can use a mortar and pestle if you wish. In fact, the yellow curry paste should have ginger in it, so if you aren’t really a fan of this pungent root you can leave it out.
Making The Mango Chicken Curry
Begin by browning the chicken pieces in a pan with a bit of oil. You should use high heat for this. You don’t need to fully cook the chicken here, as it will cook in the sauce later, but you want to get some color on the meat and render some of the fat off the skin. After adding the chicken, sprinkle in some salt and red chili flakes (optional). When browned, move to a bowl and set aside. Pour off some of the remaining liquid, but leave a good tablespoons worth left for the next step.
Into the hot leftover chicken fat and oil add in the curry paste and begin to fry it. Use a wooden spoon or a spatula to smear the paste around into the fat/oil for about 20 seconds.
Mix in the shallot and the ginger and stir the paste, then add in the mango chunks. Continue to stir the pan on high heat so nothing burns. You want to sort of caramelize the edges of the mango pieces for a nice bit of sweetness.
Finally add in the coconut milk. It comes out gloopy and chunky so just mix it in until it starts to look somewhat homogenous. Don’t worry, you won’t have to worry about giant chunks of mango after the next step.
Move the contents of the pan to a blender and let it rip. You want a smooth homogenous ‘sauce’. This sauce for mango chicken curry is super rich and velvety, it almost reminds me of my decadent butter chicken recipe. Once the sauce is blended, pour it back into the pan and reduce the heat to medium.
Into the sauce add the chicken pieces. Since the chicken wasn’t fully cooked in the pan the first time, you’ll essentially be braising the meat in the curry sauce now. This will take around 10-15 minutes on medium to medium-low heat. Stir the pan every so often. About two minutes before finishing add in a chopped red bell pepper for some more crunch and color, along with about three inches of a shredded lemongrass stalk.
Lemongrass is not always easy to find, and, just like the ginger, should already be in your curry paste. However I do like what a bit of “just barely cooked” lemongrass brings to this dish. Of course, if it’s not for you it’s not for you so feel free to leave it out.
Mango Chicken Curry doesn’t really need much more than the above steps, but if you really want to take it up a notch I suggest adding a tablespoon (yes, a whole one) of fish sauce to the curry right after you turn the heat off. Just mix it in and then start ladling the curry onto your plate or bowl. Top with some cashes, cilantro, lime wedges, and serve alongside some jasmine or other long grain rice.
A Note About Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is not for everybody, but it personally love it. I first learned how amazing fish sauce can be while I was visiting a charming little island in Vietnam called Phu Quoc. Every time I would go visit I’d bring back a bottle or three (fish sauce tends to go quick in this household). It adds a great deal of umami flavor to a dish, but unlike just sprinkling in some MSG you get some awesome funky flavor. Okay, maybe fermented anchovies aren’t everyone’s ideal form of ‘funk’ but I think it improves the dish. Plus, it adds a bit more salt to the dish which might be needed. One of my favorite (and highly recommended) brands is Masan Nam Ngu and I’m so happy they recently decided to export and I can finally buy it on Amazon!
Storing And Reheating
This recipe will hold for a few days in the fridge in a sealed container. To reheat you can use the microwave, or a pan. If reheating on a pan I suggest stirring in a tablespoon or two of water to rehydrate the sauce.
Thai Mango Chicken Curry
- 4 large Chicken Thighs remove the bone and cut into pieces
- 1 large Mango Cut into bite-size chunks
- 30 grams Thai Yellow Curry Paste homemade or store-bought
- 400 grams Coconut Milk thick
- 1 inch Ginger finely grated
- 2 Shallots finely chopped
- 3 inches Lemongrass shredded
- 1 tbsp Oil to fry the chicken
- 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped or sliced (according to your preference)
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce optional, highly recommended
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Red Chili Flakes optional
- Cashews roasted, optional
- In a pan on high heat add the oil and chicken pieces. Sprinkle salt and red chili flakes and fry until lightly browned, but not fully cooked through. Remove and place in a bowl to rest. Pour off all but a tablespoon of remaining oil/fat mixture.
- Into the hot fat/oil mix add in the curry paste and stir it in. It will sputter so just be prepared. Once the paste has fried for 15-20 seconds, add in the shallot and ginger and stir that in. Let fry for 45 seconds or so until very fragrant.
- Add in the mango pieces and stir the pan. Fry until the edges of the mango slightly caramelize, about 1-2 minutes. Then add in the coconut milk. Stir the pan until the milk mixes with the sauce forming a homogenous curry.
- Move the contents of the pan to a blender and let blend until smooth. Pour contents back into pan and lower the heat to medium.
- Add the chicken pieces back in and stir the curry. Let the chicken finish cooking the sauce for about 10 minutes. After about 8 minutes or so add in the bell pepper and lemongrass.
- When done turn off the heat. Stir in the fish sauce. Pour the curry over or next to rice and top with roasted cashews, cilantro, lime wedges, or other Thai accoutrements. Enjoy!