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Thai Red Curry with Chicken Tulips – Recipe

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Thai Red Curry with Chicken Tulips - Recipe

GingBy Ging   Posted 5th Aug 2020

This easy to prepare and delicious Thai Red Curry recipe hails from Ging, our guest support and operations team member in Thailand.  As a Thai national she has many years of experience cooking curries and shares her knowledge here. She crafts this popular and simple to make recipe of  Thai Red Curry with Chicken Tulips according to her preferred tastes.

Thai Curries

There are various types of curries in Thailand. Red Curry or Gaeng Panang is one of my favorite dishes and one of the famous local dishes in Thailand. I like Gaeng Panang because it’s delicious with a creamy texture and intense aroma. You can make a big batch and keep it in the fridge to eat for a few days. Or you can portion it up in the freezer for a quick meal when you’re short on time. 

Curry Pairing

It pairs with rice, noodles, or even spaghetti. For additional toppings add a fried egg, boiled egg, or accompany with meat. In this recipe, I share with you the simple way to make delicious deep-fried chicken tulips (sometimes referred to as “Boxing Chicken”) to eat alongside your Thai Red Curry. The tulip (boxing glove) shape of the finished chicken is where it gets its name. These present well on the table and are less messy to eat, but if you wish to skip the preparation and simply fry your chicken wings you will still have the same delicious combo. 

The main (original) ingredients of red curry contain thinly sliced pork, red curry paste, coconut cream/milk, pea eggplants, kaffir lime leaves, and cayenne pepper. However, the recipe here is my own version where I typically mix or substitute some ingredients with the ones more commonly available in my fridge. The flavor and texture are still superb!

Curry Paste Options

For starters, the curry paste, to make a curry I find it easier to use instant chili paste instead of making it from scratch. In this case, I use a good quality Thai Red Curry paste. All markets/grocery stores in Thailand stock this, as well as a multitude of online food stores. Most major supermarkets around the world typically offer it, but if you don’t have any luck there try your local Asian market.

An optional twist I have added to this recipe is the addition of canned tuna in the curry base. I find it gives the base a bit more depth and texture but it is ok to leave this out if it is not to your taste. 

Thai Red Curry with Chicken Tulips (Gaeng Panang Kai Tulips)
Recipe: 3 Servings

red curry

Thai Red Curry (Gaeng Panang)


  • 8 oz/250ml coconut cream
  • 16 oz/500ml coconut milk (or according to preferred level of thickness)
  • 1 ½ tbsp Thai red curry paste (or according to preferred spice level)
  • 2 tsp palm sugar*
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • ½ of 5oz/150ml canned tuna (optional)
  • 1 tbsp red pepper powder
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced**
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • sliced chili pepper to taste

*May substitute with white sugar, but it is not as aromatic as palm sugar
**May substitute with bay leaves or lemon/lime zest, but if you can source kaffir lime leaves it is worth the effort


  1. Set the stove to medium heat. Add the coconut cream and gently stir until it thickens and starts producing oil.
  2. When the coconut milk gets thick like yogurt, add in 1 ½ tbsp of red curry paste and mix well.
  3. Add in the coconut milk, canned tuna, palm sugar, fish sauce, and stir until everything is well combined.
  4. Add in the diced potatoes, diced carrot, kaffir lime leaves and sliced fresh pepper (save some for garnishing later).
  5. Adjust the heat to low heat, simmer for 15-20 minutes.

*If the curry is too thick, you can add in ½ - 1 cup of clean water

Chicken Tulips


  • 9 upper chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (one for marinating the chicken and one for the batter)
  • ½ tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp white pepper (½ tbsp for marinating the chicken and ½ tbsp for the batter)
  • 1 cup tempura flour / or crispy flour
  • ½ - 1 cup clean water
  • Vegetable oil


Preparing the tulip (optional):
Prepare the upper chicken wings by cutting around the lower joint (smaller end) and severing the tendons.
Use a knife to push the skin towards the top (larger end), turn the skin inside out to form a tulip shape, like a lollipop (see pictures).

  1. Put the chicken tulips in a bowl followed with grated garlic, white pepper, and fish sauce, mix thoroughly and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In another bowl, mix the tempura/crispy flour, white pepper, and fish sauce.
  3. Whisk in clean water until it is a thick but slightly runny consistency (the thickness should be like pancake batter).
  4. Dip the chicken tulips into the batter.
  5. Pour the vegetable oil into the frying pan and set the stove to medium heat.
  6. Deep fry the chicken tulips in hot oil (180°C) for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Drain the oil and transfer to a serving dish.


Warm up the red curry and serve in a bowl with an optional sprinkling of chopped fresh chili to garnish the top. You can eat like a regular curry with the wings and rice on the side or (like I love to do) dip the chicken tulips in to enjoy the flavor combination.

Happy Eating!

Prepare this recipe as best suits your taste and know that you're creating a local favorite, with a genuine local flare.  As we are all spending a lot of extra time in our kitchens these days consider trying out more recipes from our local team members, like Vietnamese Caramelized Pork or Sri Lankan Crab Curry!


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