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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This sounds great.. I can't wait till the temperature here in TX gets just right for warmer foods like this! I'm bookmarking this immediately :)

Evan @swEEts

This looks great! When I make green curry I always use kafir lime leaves - it adds the perfect lime flavor and sends the dish over the top- have you ever used them in this broth? I use them in addition to lime juice.


This is an amazing dish. I grew lemon grass several years in a row and it adds wonderful flavor, and the spiciness of the other ingredients is superb! Bon appetit! =:~)

Cajun Chef Ryan

Wow. Just reading the description made my mouth water and tummy rumble. I cannot wait to tackle this one!


This looks amazing! Apart from curry being one of my favorite dishes I am in love with all these ingredients. What a fabulous recipe! ;)

Alexa @ Sohdalex

This looks like a wonderful summer meal. I haven't made any Thai-inspired dishes in quite some time, and I love that this is the kind of recipe that you have to taste to really know when it's right. Thank you for the great recipe!

jodye @ 'scend food

Amazing. I have been wanting to make some Thai-styled curry from scratch for some time. And this broth just reminds me so much of the fabulous pho I could get in Vancouver! Thanks for the recipe! Happy brothing!

Amanda at Enchanted Fig

SO excited to try this one... have had curry on my mind and this one looks challenging!


Re: Lemongrass -- You can use the green tops to make an excellent hot or iced tea, a common custom here in Mexico.


This sounds outstanding. I have a ton of coriander seed right now.


Heidi, this sounds like a really flavorful soup. I like that it has heat in it too. I will try it next week for sure. Thanks for sharing! Anna

Anna @ ATD Fitness

I too am so delighted to see this recipe and am looking forward to preparing it. By the way-that amount of serranoes must give a pretty good 'kick'. I love the idea of corn with this-the tofu and all. And a scoop of brown rice could turn this 'broth' into lunch.

Singing Sparrow

How lucky for you to have a source for yuba! I am at a loss as to how to locate a good source, either local or via shipping! Bless and thank you for sharing this recipe!


Looks beautiful, Heidi! My mouth is watering! Beautifully described. Can't wait to try! Xoxo


I know exactly what you mean -- it's hard not to just keep ... tinkering... with something like this, and before you know it you've got too much chile or too much salt or too much liquid..... it's hard for me to trust a recipe and leave things well enough alone, but sometimes I'd be better off. I have a feeling where this is just such a case. I love the idea of green curry broth -- and I also love the idea of wanting broth again, as the weather cools down. Light and invigorating or not, I've been staying away from soup-y things this summer and I'll be glad to reintroduce those foods to my diet.

becky and the beanstock

I love broths that are filled with noodles and veggies like this! It's been raining and super chilly here in Boston, so this soup is actually perfect for this summer week!


Oh Heidi, this looks wonderful. And you're right, this is one of those things that must be just right, I think you nailed it! Can't wait to try it:)


Amazing, Heidi...this is the perfect recipe for a chilly, rainy August day here in Manhattan. Thank you; have a great day!

The Healthy Apple

I love how you encourage your readers to adjust the flavors according to their ingredients. It's so true that ginger and peppers and spices can vary in potency. Plus, we all like our soup a little different anyways. I really love lemongrass. I just stick it in, slit lengthwise, a pot of soup, and then take it out right before serving. It gives off it's flavor without having the texture of the more fibrous lemongrass.

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Couldn't agree more about your advice to taste, taste, taste everything you make as you go. As for this recipe, it sounds like a perfect light dinner for this San Francisco heat wave we've been having. I'll definitely try it with coconut oil and milk, too, since I'm always looking for new ways to use them. Thanks!

Erin (Blue Egg Kitchen)

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