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Thai Jungle Curry

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Like a good spicy curry? Try this Thai jungle curry now!

Thai jungle curry has its origins in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand.

Traditionally, the ingredients used in jungle curry were those that could be found in the jungle. Game meat was at one time the meat of choice, but you are much more likely to see this on restaurant and takeaway menus with chicken, duck or pork.

Unlike so many Thai curries, coconut milk isn’t used. The broth should be spicy, thin and clear and full of meat and vegetables. This is great served with sticky rice or jasmine rice as pictured.

Thai Jungle Curry

The curry without the coconut milk. I love this spicy curry!

Who will love a Thai jungle curry?

This is my favourite Thai curry.


I do love the others but Thai jungle curry just plain gets it for me. If you enjoy spicy curries, then you might just agree with me.

That said, like all Thai curries, you can make this Thai jungle curry much milder by reducing the amount of curry paste used and green peppercorns.

Working ahead…

Thai jungle curry can be prepared in advance of cooking.

You could prep all the veggies and even sear the duck breasts a couple of days before cooking.

For best results, use a homemade unsalted chicken stock but I have used stock cubes and even just water and still got good results.

You can also make the red curry paste ahead of time.

You are not limited to the duck in the recipe

I prefer this Thai jungle curry with duck but go ahead and experiment if you like.

It’s also good with chicken, beef, pork and prawns.

You might even like a mix of a few meats.

Just remember that different meats cook to tenderness at different times. If using beef, for example, you will need to cook it longer than duck. If using prawns, they really only take minutes to be cooked through. So add them at the end of cooking.

Step by step photos…

Ingredients for jungle curry

It’s always a good idea to get all your ingredients ready before starting cooking.

Frying duck breasts

Sear the duck, skin side down for about 5 minutes and the flip to cook the other side for about 2 minutes.

Slicing duck breasts.

Slice into pieces that are slightly larger than bite sized. The centre of the duck should still be quite pink.

Simmering sauce

Heat the oil in a wok or pan and stir in the red curry paste. Fry for about a minute and then pour in the stock.

Adding duck meat to Thai jungle curry

Add the sliced duck breast and simmer for about 5 minutes or until tender.

Adding vegetables to pan

Stir in the veggies and let them cook for about 3 minutes or until done to your liking.

Adding green peppercorns

With the vegetables cooking, you can add the green peppercorns.

Adding fish sauce

Add fish sauce to taste. This adds a nice saltiness to the curry.

Adding kaffir lime leaves

To finish, stir in the kaffir lime leaves.

If you like Thai jungle curry, you might like to try some of these too…

How To Make Thai Red Curry
Green Thai Curry
Beef Massaman Curry
Thai Drunken Noodles
Tom Kha Gai Soup
Tom Yum Gai Soup

Thai jungle curry

So good!

Thai jungle curry

Dig in!

Thai Jungle Curry

Thai Jungle Curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 4 duck breasts
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola), peanut
  • or coconut oil
  • 6 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • (see page 14 or shop-bought
  • to taste)
  • 500ml (2 cups) Thai chicken stock or water
  • 10 green (string) beans, cut into
  • 2.5cm (1in) pieces
  • 1 x 227g (8oz) tin (can) bamboo shoots, drained and cut into
  • matchsticks
  • 5 baby sweetcorn, cut into
  • small pieces
  • 3 tbsp fresh green peppercorns 2–3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 6 lime leaves, stalks removed
  • and leaves thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lime
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (optional)
  • Coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish
  • Thai sweet basil leaves, to garnish


  1. Heat a frying pan over a medium–high heat. When hot, place the duck breasts skin-side down and fry for about 5 minutes. Flip the breasts over and cook for another 2 minutes. The duck should still be nice and pink in the centre.
  2. Slice into thin bite-size or slightly larger than bite- size pieces and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over a medium–high heat. When visibly hot, stir in the curry paste and fry for about 30 seconds until really fragrant.
  4. Stir in the stock or water and bring to a rolling simmer. Add the sliced duck and let it cook in the stock for about 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Stir in the veggies and green peppercorns and simmer until cooked to your liking. I usually only cook mine for about 3 minutes as they will continue cooking in the hot curry sauce.
  6. Add the fish sauce, sliced lime leaves and lime juice. Taste the sauce and adjust, adding more fish sauce for a saltier flavour, sugar if you prefer it sweeter and more lime juice for more sourness. This is a spicy curry, so you could add a little more red curry paste or chilli powder too.
  7. Once you have the flavour you are looking for, garnish with coriander and Thai sweet basil leaves.

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