Have you ever tried a new recipe and had it become an instant family favorite? That’s what happened with this sweet Thai curry chili recipe. Learn how to make this economical and healthy soup using leftover meat and fresh vegetables. Since the meat is already cooked, the meal comes together quickly. It’s perfect for using the remains of a holiday ham, turkey, or both. Read on to get the simple instructions!
The Story of this Thai Curry Chili Recipe
A friend first made this for us, and when she shared the recipe, it included “a lot of dabs and dashes”. The first few times I made this, I had to experiment to get just the right flavor. I also had to go through a lot of trial and error to adjust the spiciness factor to the right level for our family. I’m a spice wimp, while others in my family thrive on spiciness. We found a middle ground. It took a while for me to actually develop measurements for this Thai curry chili. Now that I’ve done all of the testing, here it is for you to enjoy.
Thai Curry Chili Equipment
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One of the best things about making this easy Thai curry chili is that it does not require any special equipment. If you are choosing to steam your squash for the recipe, a covered casserole dish is nice. Other than that, all you need is a knife, a cutting board, and most importantly, a large stockpot for simmering the soup. A 12-quart size is excellent. It’s large enough that you don’t have to worry about splatters when you are adding in the chopped meat and vegetables.
Thai Curry Chili Ingredients
1 pound butternut squash, diced and steamed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
2 cups cooked turkey
2 cups cooked ham
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons red curry paste (more or less to taste)
4 tablespoons honey
1 carton chicken stock
2 cans coconut milk (I often use the lite version)
1 packet Thai peanut sauce mix
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 can great northern beans
Shredded pepper jack cheese
Thai Curry Chili Directions
First, peel and cube one medium butternut squash, removing the seeds. Place in a microwave-safe dish. Cover with a lid or tent with plastic wrap, leaving a vent for steam.
I like to use one of my favorite covered casserole dishes for this. One of the casserole dishes I use the most is the 2.5-quart covered French White round dish by Corningware, like this one.
I received a dish like this years ago as part of a set for a wedding present, and I love the way it goes with everything. I have used this dish, and its matching counterparts, countless times. Steaming is a healthy way to cook vegetables quickly in the microwave, so I highly recommend covered casserole dishes.
While the squash is steaming, chop the onion and peppers. Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a stockpot while you are chopping. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Add the chopped vegetables and meat to the oil in the stockpot. If you are in a hurry, you can turn the heat up to medium-high.
When the onion is translucent, add the ginger and minced garlic (you can use the minced garlic from a jar or even dried minced garlic).
Stir, then add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer together for about 20 minutes. Serve over rice, if desired.
Easy Thai Curry Chili
- 1 pound butternut squash steamed and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 jalapeno peppers seeded and chopped
- 2 cups cooked turkey chopped
- 2 cups cooked ham chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons red curry paste
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1 carton chicken stock
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 1 envelope Thai peanut sauce mix
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 can great northern beans
- 1 or 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese to sprinkle on soup after serving
- First, peel and cube one medium butternut squash, removing the seeds. Place in a microwave-safe dish. Cover with a lid or tent with plastic wrap, leaving a vent for steam. Steam for 6-8 minutes.
- Chop the onion and peppers.
- Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the chopped vegetables and meat to the oil in the stockpot.
- When the onion is translucent, add the ginger and minced garlic.
- Stir, then add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer together for about 20 minutes.
- Serve over rice, if desired.
Easily Finding the Ingredients
Before making this Thai curry chili, I had never cooked with coconut milk, Thai peanut sauce, or curry paste. It was a new experience for me, and I wasn’t sure where to find the ingredients. I learned that the brand of coconut milk does make a difference in the flavor of the dish. My favorite is Lite Coconut Milk by A Taste of Thai.
I’ve only used red curry paste because I could never find the yellow in the grocery store. What is the best Thai curry paste brand? The curry paste I use is also by A Taste of Thai because that’s what I could find. After making this Thai curry chili recipe for a few years, I discovered red curry paste in a jar works just as well. That may be easier for you to find.
The peanut sauce mix I use includes two envelopes. I only use one envelope at a time. The other envelope is safe to store unopened and unrefrigerated on a shelf. I always appreciate visuals before I go shopping, so here’s what the peanut sauce mix looks like.
The nice thing about those three Thai-inspired components is that they are usually all located near each other in the grocery store. In the past, I have been able to find them at Safeway and Winco Foods.
Questions about Thai Curry Spiciness
When this recipe was first shared with our family, the directions advised us to use 2 tablespoons each of red curry paste and yellow curry paste. I was never able to locate yellow curry paste, so I used 4 tablespoons of the red curry paste. That was far too spicy for our family! We could barely eat it. Serving it with rice helped. After that, I gradually cut down the curry paste until I settled on using 2 teaspoons. I realize that might be too mild for some of you. Feel free to adjust to taste. If you choose not to use the entire packet of curry paste, just roll up the little pouch, secure it with a rubber band, and store it in the refrigerator. It will last for months.
Some people are a little nervous about cooking with Thai red curry paste. How spicy is Thai red curry? You might be surprised to learn that Thai red curry is not the spiciest curry. In order of spiciness, here are the rankings: Green curry is the most spicy, red curry is a little less spicy, and yellow curry is the mildest. If you are looking for a sweet curry, try Massaman curry. If you are not fond of to much spiciness and find yourself eating at a Thai restaurant, just request mild spiciness when you order. It’s easy to adjust the spice factor by using less curry. If you want mild flavor, stick with a yellow or Massaman curry from the menu.
Thai Curry Chili Meat Options
If you don’t have leftover turkey, you can use pork loin or pork shoulder. Cooking the meat adds more time to the meal preparation, so I use leftover cooked turkey when I have it. You could also use cooked chicken breasts, chopped into pieces.
Thai Curry Chili Pepper Options
Can other peppers be used instead of jalapeno peppers? Yes, of course! You can use bell peppers for less spice. You can add more spicy peppers, like Thai chili peppers. Varying the peppers will vary the spice level. Experiment with what you have available.
Thai Curry Chili Bean Options
Are great northern beans the only type of beans that can be used in this recipe? No, I often use pinto beans. You could use kidney beans or chili beans. I like using great northern beans because of the color in this recipe.
What Goes Well with Thai Curry Chili?
As stated above, we like to serve this Thai curry chili with rice. Brown rice is our preferred choice. You could serve a tossed salad along with this dish. With the squash included in this recipe, there is already a good serving of vegetables. Don’t feel like making rice? No problem! This dish is fine on its own. However, if you do decide to cook rice, and you eat rice often, consider getting a rice cooker or instant pot.
Other Recipes to Warm You Up
Interested in other cozy, comfort food recipes? Try these!
- Easy Cola Chicken Recipe with 4 Simple Ingredients
- Easy French Onion Soup with Sausage in the Slow Cooker
- Raclette: More than Just a Meal, It’s a Fun Family Activity
- Easy Curried Turkey
- Easy Ham and Potato Hash
- Greek Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
What Are Your Favorite Things to Serve With Soup?
As I was writing this post, I was thinking about all of the different items people serve with soup. What are some of your favorite soup companions? I think my favorite dippers are freshly-baked, homemade rolls. They are soft, tasty, and are delicious when slathered with butter. I’d enjoy learning about your favorite soup partners as well.
More Food Inspiration
It’s always nice to have a plan when it comes to parties and meals. If you’re looking for a way to get more organized with your meal or party-planning efforts, I’ve got something for you. Free, editable meal planners! The templates can be used over and over, as often as you need them. You can make as many duplicates as you like, and you’ll be able to save old meal plans for future reference. I hope it simplifies things for you.
Are You Excited to Make Easy Thai Curry Chili?
This delicious soup is calling my name. If you decide to try this easy Thai curry chili, I’d love to see pictures. If you would like even more recipe ideas, consider following my Easy Recipes board on Pinterest. Have a fabulous day, and enjoy making easy Thai curry chili!
Lisa Mitchell is a wife, mom, and school librarian who likes to create and share recipes, often using fresh ingredients from her family’s small Pacific Northwest farm. To get more easy recipes, click on over to the Food page.