Green Curry Broth Recipe

A beautiful, thin green curry broth, fragrant with garlic, lemongrass, and ginger. It gets heat from serrano chiles, and zings of tanginess from fresh lime juice. Cumin and coriander seeds keep things grounded, and a flurry of freshly chopped herbs make the sky open up.

Green Curry Broth

I have to tell you, I've been hesitant to post this. It's the sort of thing that is tricky to get just right. At a glance we are talking about an infusion of of herbs, spices and aromatics coming together into a broth. Easy enough. But what we're really after is a beautiful, thin green curry broth, fragrant with garlic, lemongrass, and ginger. We want heat from serrano chiles, and zings of tanginess on account of the fresh lime juice. Cumin and coriander seeds should keep things grounded, and a flurry of freshly chopped herbs are there to make the sky open up. It's like a chorus of singers, with each ingredient singing a single note. In short, there's a lot going on here, and striking the right balance of flavors is key.

Green Curry Broth

So, while I'm going to outline the exact quantities of ingredients I used to make this brothy concoction, making it really great is up to you. My limes might be more acidic, my ginger more potent. You are going to want to close your eyes at various points along the way, taste, and really think about what your broth needs. Taste and tweak. Taste and adjust. Make changes little by little until you have a something you love.

Green Curry Broth

The cornerstone of this recipe is the broth. I make the broth first, then typically add things to it to make a meal. This time you see tiny cubes of tofu, tangles of yuba skin, and a few things I picked up at the farmers' market. Other times I might add egg or rice noodles, or other chopped vegetables - asparagus, broccoli, shredded cabbage, summer squash are all good choices. I didn't do it this time around but a splash of coconut milk to finish gives the soup an entirely different personality.

I should also note, although many of us are in the midst of summer heat waves, this soup is light and invigorating. I wouldn't discount it as a summertime meal alongside a crisp white wine.

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Green Curry Broth

How spicy you make this broth is up to you. I like it with a bit of a kick, but nothing that overwhelms. I've found that using two de-seeded peppers, and two peppers with the seeds and veins intact give me the level of heat and flavor I like. As far as prepping the lemongrass is concerned, chop off all but 4-5 inches closest to each stem. Then peel off the outer leaves - you're trying to get at the tender center of each stalk. Mince and use that. If made with coconut oil or olive oil, this easily becomes vegan.

1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil, clarified butter, or olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 small serrano chile peppers, thinly sliced (see head notes)

3 lemongrass stalks, minced (see head notes!)
a 1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled then grated
8 green onions, trimmed, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 cup / 60 ml freshly squeezed lime juice & a bit of zest

6 - 7 cups / 1.5 liters / 1.5 quarts good-tasting vegetable broth

12 ounces / 340 g tofu, cut into tiny cubes
6 oz tofu cubes + 6 oz yuba skins, cut into thin strips

kernels from 2 ears of corn

4 handfuls of torn spinach, stems trimmed

a small handful of each of the following: fresh mint, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, all chopped just before serving and combined in a small bowl

Use a mortar and pestle, or alternately, a spice grinder to crush the coriander and cumin seeds a bit. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat, stir in the crushed spices, and toast until fragrant, barely 30 seconds. Stir in the shallots, garlic, serrano chiles, lemongrass, ginger, green onions, and turmeric. Stir well, then add the lime juice and zest. Cook until the shallots are soft and translucent - under 5 minutes. Stir in 6 cups / 1.5l of the broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes, then taste for seasoning. Depending on how salty your broth is, you might need to add a little salt or substantially more. At this point, If the broth is too strong for your liking, you might add a bit of water, or maybe it needs a bit more lime juice. Just keep tweaking until it tastes good to you. It's the base of your soup, so you want it to taste great on its own.

Pour the liquids through a strainer into a bowl, pressing on the solids to get all the broth out. Discard the solids, and return the strained broth to the pot. Bring it back to a simmer then stir in the tofu and the corn. Let them heat through. Just before serving, stir in the spinach, then sprinkle each serving with a big pinch of the herb mixture.

Serves 4.

Prep time: 20 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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These are new flavors to me, and I'm so interested to try this combo out. My husband doesn't like the smell or taste of curry, so I may be making this when he's out of town. Great post!

Home with Mandy

I would love to try this with some coriander root and maybe some pounded dried shrimp for more of a Thai flavor. I would also add some coconut milk to counter the heat-of-the-sun spiciness that I always add to my curry. There is nothing like eating hot hot hot soup and sweating from heat and spice on a hot summer day - which is finally what we have here in LA!


Can I come over and you can make it for me?


this looks wonderfully tasty and nourishing. i love the herb-curry slurpy noodles that you posted a while back--it's become a staple for those nights when i'm staring down an almost-empty cupboard. i have an abiding love for slurpy bowls and this seems perfect as the nights are getting a bit cooler. thanks as always heidi!


Amazing, this looks like what I need on a rainy day in Bristol! Warming and health filled!


This sounds fabulous. I reminds me of a spicy galanga lemongrass soup at a Thai place near us that I love. Thanks for the recipe. Could you tell us more about Yuba skins?

City Share

I love green curry and love the idea of a broth. So excited to try this. Guess I'm behind the curve...what's yuba skin?

The French

I'm not usually into curries, but this one sound like one I can handle. Although I think I will be pretty cautious on the peppers... I'm not sure I can do the seeds.


I've never heard of Yuba skin. I wonder if I'd be able to find it at the asian grocer

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

Have you found a vegetable broth you like. You specified a good tasting vegetable broth, but I must admit I have not found one yet that I really like. Any suggestions??


Really superb stuff. Homemade Thai curry is the stuff dreams are made of. My dreams anyway ;)

The Ordinary Vegetarian

Just wonderful! I can almost taste it through your words & photos! I am not familiar with yuba skin, but am intrigued and will make with tofu regardless.


Wow! I can't wait to try this meal. Thanks for the inspiration! I think this would embrace a few pinches of arame or strips of wakame as well...

Lisa Barnes

I love your way with words!!! This recipe sounds so good! And I agree about the measurements being technically a guideline. I always taste and adjust to my preference. I love that all of the ingredients are ones I've heard of before!! Usually there's some hard to find ones in these types of recipes!


I like the fusion of aromatic Asian ingredients in the curry broth, made even better with the addition of coconut milk. I've never used yuba skins, I'll have to find out more about that ingredient.

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

This looks really good - now if I could just convince my husband to try curry! :)

Tabitha (from single to married)

This look so flavourful and delicate.I wonder if I can find yuba skins around here. If not, I'm sure some rice noodles would be great instead.


This looks delicious! I'm interested in how the sweetness of the corn plays with these strong but balanced flavors. What a great base recipe!


This looks lovely, thank you!


I love it when I see something completely NEW and the yuba skins sound brilliant and delicious. Will definitely give this a try tout de suite!


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