If you’re looking for yummy toddler dinner to share with the entire family, add this Easy Green Curry recipe to your list. It’s full of mild flavor and is a pretty quick and healthy way to make a favorite takeout dish at home! (It’s honestly one of the only ways I can get two of my family members to try tofu!)
Thai Green Curry Recipe
We live in a very small town and the closest Thai restaurant is about an hour away. Our other takeout options are slim and not very good (though we otherwise love where we live!) so I try to make some of our favorite takeout dishes at home from time to time.
Green curry is my go-to order when we do get out to a Thai restaurant and I often crave it. And while I love it when someone else cooks it for me—and cleans up the rice that my toddler inevitably spills all over the floor—it’s actually incredibly easy to make a mild version at home. Plus, pairing more unfamiliar flavors like curry with more recognizable foods like rice and peas is a less intimidating for the little ones to try new things at the table.
Vegetarian Green Curry
My family is split on whether or not they love tofu, but since I like to incorporate vegetarian sources of protein in our meals a few times a week, I try to make it in ways that everyone enjoys it. Combined with the peas in this recipe, there’s plenty of protein—each serving has about 10 grams.
The tofu in this recipe is simply pan seared before cooking the veggies, so it’s very straight forward and seriously yummy. (Okay, I admit that I do have a weirdly fierce love for pan-seared tofu!)
Green Curry vs. Red Curry
I like using green curry at home since it’s mild and the color is mellow. Both types of curry are an easy way to flavor this sort of skillet meal and are mild unless you add too much. Try both and see if your family has a preference.
Green Curry Paste
We buy the little jars at our local big box store or grocery store. It should be in the aisle with rice noodles, coconut milk, and soy sauce. After you open it, you’ll want to keep it in the fridge between uses. But even when opened, it lasts for a few months in the fridge—especially since you only need a little at a time to use in curry recipes.
Ingredients in Green Curry Sauce
This sauce is actually easier to make than you might think. You need green curry paste and light coconut milk, both of which you should be able to find in the ethnic aisle of your supermarket. And then either lime juice (fresh or the kind in the little green bottle) or fish sauce, and maple syrup. That’s it!
The amount of curry paste that you add really depends on personal preference and how much you want to taste it, so start with a little and add more until it tastes the way you like it.
How to Make Green Curry with Vegetables and Tofu Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at the process involved in making this yummy family dinner.
- Prepare your rice, stir together the sauce (photo 1), and remove tofu from package and drain. Press between two clean kitchen towels, weighted with a bowl on top, for at least 5 minutes and up to 30 to remove additional liquid. Cut into cubes.
- Gather your vegetables. You need 6 cups total, but you can adjust based on what your kids like. (photo 2)
- Lightly pan fry the tofu. Remove from the pan and cook the veggies. All of the cooking in this step takes about 16 minutes, so not too bad! (photo 3)
- Serve the rice topped with veggies and the sauce, or plate everything separately and let the kids try the sauce as a dip. (photo 4)
Consider How You Plate Toddler Meals
Some kids like their foods mixed together, some prefer them separated. Play to your kid’s strengths and do it however it works best for them. I often put the component of the meal onto the table and let the kids pick what they want, even if it means they only pick one of the veggies from the assortment. (Which is 100% fine in my book!) This gives them a little more power and often helps to set a calmer stage when presenting less familiar foods.
Tips for Making the Best Thai Green Curry Recipe
- Use 6 cups of vegetables total but know that you can adjust them to make ones that your kids like best. Choose from snap peas, snow peas, frozen corn, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, frozen peas, and/or carrots.
- Use extra-firm tofu and allow some time to let it drain on towels to absorb some of the moisture. This makes it more possible for the tofu to crisp up slightly when you pan-fry it.
- Use chicken or shrimp instead of the tofu.
- Use the kind of rice that you have or prefer. Just start with 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice to end up with about 3 cups of cooked rice.
- Taste the sauce before serving and add a little more soy sauce if it seems like it could use more salt.
- You can serve this green curry topped with crushed peanuts if you want or hot sauce for the adults.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Warm to serve leftovers.
I like this dish as a way to occasionally serve my family tofu, but you can use chicken or shrimp if you like. And if you want to use different veggies, go right ahead! Just aim to use about 6 cups—snap peas, snow peas, frozen corn, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, and more all work well here. Adults may want to top their servings with hot sauce!
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (any kind works!)
- 2 tablespoons canola or toasted sesame oil
- 1 package extra-firm tofu (or 1/2 pound chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces)
- 2 cups carrots (about 4 small), peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cups broccoli or cauliflower, chopped into small florets
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 2–3 tablespoons green curry paste
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lime juice OR 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- Hot sauce, chopped peanuts, optional to top
- Prepare rice according to package directions.
- Remove tofu from package and drain. Press between two clean kitchen towels, weighted with a bowl on top, for at least 5 minutes and up to 30 to remove additional liquid. Cut into cubes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium in a large skillet. Add tofu and cook for 8 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Remove to a clean plate.
- Heat the remaining oil in the pan and add the carrots and broccoli. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until starting to soften. Stir in the peas.
- Whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, maple syrup, lime juice (or fish sauce) in a glass measuring cup. Warm for 30-60 seconds in the microwave. Pour over veggies and serve the mixture over rice, or serve the sauce alongside.
You can stir the sauce together and store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 days ahead. Just stir before serving. You could also make all of the components of this meal, or just the rice, ahead and store in airtight containers in the fridge. Then just heat and serve.
Use 6 cups of vegetables total but know that you can adjust them to make ones that your kids like best. Choose from snap peas, snow peas, frozen corn, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, frozen peas, and/or carrots.
Use extra-firm tofu and allow some time to let it drain on towels to absorb some of the moisture. This makes it more possible for the tofu to crisp up slightly when you pan-fry it.
Use chicken or shrimp instead of the tofu.
Try red curry paste instead of green.
Use the kind of rice that you have or prefer. Just start with 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice to end up with about 3 cups of cooked rice.
Taste the sauce before serving and add a little more soy sauce if it seems like it could use more salt.
You can serve this green curry topped with crushed peanuts if you want or hot sauce for the adults.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Warm to serve leftovers.