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square image thai red curry chicken with squash, bell peppers, and rice in a white bowl
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5 from 5 votes

Thai Red Curry with Chicken and Squash (Kaeng Phed)

Thai Red Curry is a spicy, savory, coconut-based curry made with lemongrass, galangal, and dried red chili peppers. This recipe includes the option to make your own curry paste from scratch or use store-bought for an easy weeknight meal.
Want to adjust the servings in this recipe to make more or less? Just click on the number next to “servings” and you can easily scale the recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: Thai curry
Servings: 4
Calories: 426kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00


  • Dutch oven, wok or saute pan


  • 1 ¾ cup Coconut Milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoon Thai Red Curry Paste (see note)
  • 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, cubed
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 12 oz Squash, cubed or thinly sliced (see note)
  • ½ Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Palm Sugar (see note)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 cup Thai Basil leaves
  • Thai Jasmine Rice, for serving


  • Heat a Dutch oven, wok, or saute pan over medium heat. Add ¾ cup coconut milk (if using canned coconut milk that has separated, use the top, thicker portion of the milk) to the pan. Simmer coconut milk, stirring constantly, until it has reduced by half and you can see oil separating from the milk, 5 to 6 minutes. (Note: This step to “break” the coconut milk is part of the traditional process, but don’t worry if your coconut milk doesn’t show signs of separating after this initial cook time - just proceed with the recipe.)
  • Add curry paste and saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add chicken breast and stir to coat in the curry paste.
  • Pour chicken stock and 1 cup coconut milk over chicken.
  • Stir in squash, bell pepper, palm sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and let curry simmer gently until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. (Reduce heat as needed to prevent the curry from reaching a hard boil.)
  • Taste the curry and adjust the flavor, adding more sugar or fish sauce if needed.
  • Remove curry from heat and stir in Thai Basil leaves.
  • Serve curry over rice.


Thai Red Curry Paste - Feel free to adjust the amount of curry paste, increasing for more spice and decreasing for less spice. American-made curry paste like Thai Kitchen (which is widely available in the international aisle of regular grocery stores), tends to be much less spicy than Thai brands which can be found at international or Asian grocery stores. If you prefer to make your own Thai Red Curry Paste see below for the recipe.
Squash - Any type of squash will work in this recipe. I like kabocha, butternut, or acorn squash. Acorn squash is used in the photos shown here - it is easy to prepare because you can leave the skin on (it gets very tender when cooked).
Palm Sugar - Grate the palm sugar for the most accurate measurement. You can substitute light brown sugar, but reduce to 2 tsp. 


Calories: 426kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 855mg | Potassium: 1047mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 9563IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 5mg