Kua Kling (Southern Thai-Style Red Curry)

Kua Kling (Southern Thai-Style Red Curry)

Whereas larb is bright and acidic — light on its feet — this simple adaptation of a traditional Southern Thai dry red curry, is grounding and spicy. It owes much of its flavor to red curry paste, turmeric and fresh chile that have been toasted until they shake awake. For scorching heat (a curry like this is typically brutally hot), add more chile. As the chicken — though it could be ground pork, sliced beef or chicken, or mushrooms — cooks, its fat renders and the fired-up curry paste adheres. Season it with brown sugar and fish sauce, and serve with rice, cabbage, herbs, avocado, cucumber and-or a crisp fried egg.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, warm the oil and toast the curry paste, turmeric and chiles (if using) until extremely fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir and lower heat as needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Step 2

    Add the chicken and cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon. Stir to coat the meat in the curry paste and to prevent sticking, and cook until the chicken is opaque, 7 to 10 minutes. If everything is sticking, don’t panic — just add a little water or neutral oil.
  3. Step 3

    Stir in the brown sugar, fish sauce and lime zest, and cook just until the liquid’s been absorbed, about 1 minute. Season to taste with more brown sugar and fish sauce. (The chicken should be spicy first, salty second.) Serve at once with desired toppings.