Thai Green Curry Venison

5 from 12 votes
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Thai green curry can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. Yes, you can make your own green curry paste, and it’s amazing, but there are several store-bought curry pastes that are very good, allowing you to make this dinner in less than 30 minutes. Great for a work night.

Thai green curry in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Anyone who has ever eaten at a Thai restaurant has been faced with an array of curries, from massaman to red coconut curry, to panang curry. But there’s always green curry. It’s a go to in every Thai restaurant, and is usually offered with a variety of proteins.

It’s the same deal here on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. I have recipes for Thai green curry with fish, and a pheasant green curry, too. This one uses venison, which is my wild stand-in for beef.

As I’ve learned more and more about Thai food, my curries have improved. So this latest one is my new favorite. Yes, it uses a premade paste, but in this case it was a handmade one, not store-bought. If you like Thai green curry, you will want to learn how to make the green curry paste; here is a recipe I like a lot.

Until then, use good store-bought curry paste. The two I prefer are either Mae Ploy or Maesri. Both are available online, and pretty much all Asian grocery stores carry them. In a pinch you can use the rather bland Thai green curry pastes you get at standard supermarkets.

Thai green curry in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

At it’s core, Thai green curry is curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, the main ingredient — usually a protein of some sort — and then associated vegetables. You will most often see little Thai eggplants, regular peas or snow peas, chiles, lots of Thai basil leaves or cilantro (or culantro for that matter) plus, sometimes, green beans, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes or onions.

Yes, you can skip fish sauce if you must, but I wouldn’t. It adds a savory, funky note to the dish that any good Thai green curry must have. I make my own, but any clear fish sauce will work; I am partial to Three Crabs or Red Boat. Avoid the fish sauces with lots of debris in the bottle.

Lime leaves, also called makrut or kaffir lime leaves, are used the same way you would a bay leaf in Western cooking. I grow lemons and limes in my yard, so I just use them. They are a good touch, but don’t sweat it if you can’t find them. Lime juice is a must.

For the meat here, I used thinly sliced venison backstrap, but beef sirloin is another great cut. Goat is used a lot in Thailand for green curry. Cut the meat across the grain so it stays tender.

Serve your Thai green curry with jasmine rice.

Closeup of Thai green curry with venison
5 from 12 votes

Thai Green Curry

I use venison backstrap here, but any tender cut of really any meat, or shrimp, will do.
Course: lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 2 to 5 tablespoon Thai green curry paste (add as much as you can take, heat-wise)
  • 4 lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 can coconut milk (about 14 ounces)
  • 1 cup coconut water, or regular water
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar, or brown sugar
  • 1 pound venison or beef, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or thawed
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil or cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 5 sliced Thai chiles (optional)
  • Lime juice, to taste


  • Heat the coconut or vegetable oil in a pot over high heat. When it starts smoking, add the onion and stir fry until the onion is soft, and slightly browned on the edges.
  • Add the curry paste -- start with 2 tablespoons -- and the lime leaves if using, plus the coconut milk and coconut water or plain water. Bring to a boil. Dissolve the palm or brown sugar into this, then taste. Add more curry paste if you want. Add the venison and stir to combine. Let this simmer a minute or two.
  • Stir in the fish sauce, peas, chiles and Thai basil and let this cook about 5 minutes. Add lime juice to taste. Serve with jasmine rice.


Keys to Success

  • Use full fat coconut milk. You need it. Lowfat ones lack flavor.
  • Do try to get Maesri or May Ploy curry pastes, or make your own. This is the soul of your curry. 
  • Fish sauce matters. Use as much as you can stand, up to the full 4 tablespoons. It should be noticeable, but not overwhelming. 
  • Thai green curry is supposed to be a little sweet, not sickly sweet. 2 tablespoons is for palm or coconut sugar, which isn't as sweet as brown sugar. Use only 1 tablespoon if that's what you are using. 
  • This is a fast meal, so make sure your venison or beef or whatever is a tender cut, sliced across the grain. 
  • Pretty much not possible to use too much cilantro or Thai basil. Go for it. 


Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 793mg | Potassium: 747mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1663IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

5 from 12 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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  1. Great Recipe. I’ll definitely be adding this to the mix. Ours was warm without being spicy, and you can adjust the fire as you like. Great on a cool day.
    Made a couple adjustments:
    Made my own coconut milk with a whole coconut and a blender! Give it a try!
    Used sliced skinless Redhead breast (worked great!)
    Used Mae Ploy Yellow curry paste instead of green (tasted great, looking for Green)
    Added some potatoes that needed to be used just simmered longer to cook through.

  2. Delicious… Great recipe! Love our venison, and was a new easy way to try it. We added garlic and ginger with the paste, then a lot of vegetables and omit the peas. Then coconut, finally thinly sliced NZ hunted venison medallions. Will make again.

  3. Delicious and fast with mule deer backstrap and store bought curry paste. I had eggplant around and added it in, too.

  4. I tried this the other day and it was great. I visited one of our Asian groceries so I was able to get all the ingredients. Now we’ve taken the extra chili’s that we bought and have dehydrated them and smoked them. Can’t wait to try those in another batch of Thai Green Curry.

  5. About to try the Thai Green Curry-Venison, but wondered if I could prepare the whole thing as a one-pot (Dutch oven) meal, adding ingredients and cook time in the order you present??? If this works, I’ll try it at hunt camp in November with whitetail venison, or, antelope, if we’re successful in the Montana drawing. I am a native of northern California, now retired and working my way through Buck, Buck, Moose. Love your website & recipes.

  6. Thai green curry venison will happen as soon as the curry arrives. Would a sugar substitute work? Or ruin the dish?

    1. Ron: Not sure. Never used one. I do like the raw, brown coconut sugar you can buy though. Might that work for you?