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Thai Chicken Curry, Kang Kao – Pineapple Curry

A Thai soup to warm you through before trick or treating. It's not unusual in NH to put Halloween costume on over heavy winter coat.

I attended an armchair travel series on Thailand at our local library last year and Pim(a Thai native) shared with me the recipe for ‘Kang Kao – Pineapple curry’, translated from Thai. BUT she commented, that hers was the recipe for Thai natives. For general public (meaning us) she would add more coconut milk to make it milder and adjust salt, sweet and sour flavors accordingly. And remember everyone’s taste for heat, salt, sweet, sour differs.

I bought the same brand fish sauce – Squid -in my local Asian market, again very inexpensive. Pim used the same brand of Maesri red curry paste that I buy, but realize that red curry paste is actually milder than green curry paste – I know, that’s difficult to keep straight. The curry paste is a 4oz can and only about $2, enough for 4 recipes. Store unused curry paste in ziploc bag in freezer, clearly marked.

This is what I do. I have tried it with fresh chicken thighs but rotisserie chicken is far softer. Fresh sweet pineapple is fabulous and of course what would be used in Thailand. If you are sure of sweet fresh pineapple then use it but it was very expensive for just pineapple the first time I made recipe, so I substituted cans of both crushed and sliced pineapple in pineapple juice.

gluten free Thai Chicken and Pineapple curry

This is a runny curry. We like it served over rice to soak up juices and make it taste milder as you eat it. Increase curry paste to your taste after first time. It is slightly sweet from the pineapple. Smells wonderful.

1 tablespoon of Maesri red curry paste

2 x ~14 oz cans of coconut milk, I buy Chaokoh brand or Arroy-d, not Piña Colada coconut milk. Thick layer of coconut cream on top, thinner coconut milk below.

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1/2” squares.

1 x 8 oz can crushed pineapple in pineapple juice

1 x 8 oz can sliced pineapple in pineapple juice, each ring cut smaller, drain and retain pineapple juice.

1 tbsp fish sauce

1+1/2 tbsp light brown sugar or Palm sugar if you have it for more authentic taste, but don’t buy it just for this.

zest and juice of lime (or 2 tbsp Tamarind paste – see note. Yes, substitution would mean using 2 limes, try with one and then add more if you want. Everyone’s taste is different and they have a lower sugar taste than here)

salt and pepper

1 gf rotisserie chicken, skinned and boned, flesh removed and cut into very small pieces.

1. In large pan (about 8 cup, 2 ltr) fry the curry paste in half a can of coconut milk. Pim said ‘One thing though, I learned this trick from my home Ed teacher (who was a retired Royal chef) in grade school. When making Thai curry, always start with - mixing about 1/2 cup of coconut milk (use only the thick part) with curry paste in a pan on medium heat. Let it cook for a few minutes until you notice the red/orange oil bubbly and good fragrance. This is the key of making tasty Thai curry. Then, add the meat and other ingredients.’ This is also how I do a regular curry base.

2. Add rest of coconut milk, bell pepper, crushed pineapple, pineapple pieces, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest and juice, some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to a simmer.

3. While sauce is simmering, I then take the rotisserie chicken apart and cut into very small pieces. This gives time for the sauce to simmer and develop. Then I add the cooked chicken, cover and simmer for about 15 more minutes. I added water from coconut milk cans since depending on lid of pan, a lot of liquid can evaporate which will make sauce thicker and spicier.

4. Serve over plain rice. Even better the next day.


If your recipe calls for 1 tbsp. tamarind, simply substitute with 1 tbsp. vinegar. The second substitute is fresh lime juice. Substitute 2 tbsp. lime juice for every 1 tbsp. tamarind paste. Both substitutes work best when the amount of tamarind paste is 2 tbsp.

Squid brand of Fish Sauce, keep in fridge once opened.

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