Chicken yellow curry with tree basil, or kaeng kai bay ra


A typical recipe from Southern Thailand using little known ingredients such as tree basil leaves and fingerroot (also called white turmeric), which give very distinctive flavours to this spicy curry.

Serves 2.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Yellow curry paste for 2

250 chicken, cut into bite size pieces (boneless thighs or tenderloin)

400 ml chicken stock

2 kaffir leaves, bruised

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

½ tablespoon coconut sugar

1 handful of tree basil leaves, sliced


Heat the oil and stir-fry the curry paste and chicken briefly (1-2 minutes, until the curry paste releases its flavours). Then add the rest of the ingredients. When it starts to boil again, cover and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes. Taste to adjust the flavours.


Serve with rice or rice noodles and crunchy raw vegetables such as snake beans, eggplants or bean sprouts.

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