Phat Phrik Khing With Tofu and Long Beans (Thai Dry-Curry Stir-Fry) Recipe

A white plate of phat phrik khing with tofu, long beans, rice.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • A mortar and pestle draws out flavor from fresh aromatics.
  • Stir-frying in batches ensures that the tofu and green beans sear properly instead of steaming.

Stroll by a curry vendor in a Thai food court and you'll likely see one curry that stands out from the rest: phat phrik khing. Unlike most other curries, which are served with plenty of liquid—be it coconut milk or broth—phat phrik khing is served dry, its intensely flavored curry paste coating each morsel of food. It can be made with any number of vegetables or meat, but I particularly love the common combination of long beans and tofu. The simplest recipes start with store-bought red curry paste. (Some, like the one just linked to, contain shrimp paste, but vegan red curry paste is easy to come by.) It's not a bad way to turn out a 10-minute meal, but, so long as you have access to fresh Southeast Asian ingredients, a few simple tools, and some elbow grease, you can make something much, much more spectacular.

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 6 dried guajillo, California, or pasilla chilesstemmed and seeded (45g)

  • 6 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped (30g)

  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and roughly chopped (60g)

  • 2 to 6 red Thai bird chiles (to taste), roughly chopped

  • 1 large bunch cilantro stems (about 1 ounce; 30g), roughly chopped

  • 3 fresh or dried makrut lime leaves (see note), hard central stem removed and discarded, leaves roughly chopped

  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, bottom 3 to 5 inches only (40g), tough outer leaves removed and discarded, tender core thinly sliced

  • 1 (1-inch) knob galangal, peeled (see note)

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) freshly ground white or black pepper

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) vegetable oil or coconut oil

  • 1 (12-ounce; 340g) block firm tofu, cut into 1- by 1- by 1/2-inch squares, pressed firmly between paper towels

  • 1 pound (450g) green beans or long beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths

  • 1 tablespoon (14gsugar

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) soy sauce

  • Steamed jasmine rice, for serving


  1. Place chilies in a heatproof container and cover with boiling water. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place garlic, shallots, Thai chilies, cilantro, lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, ground pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle. Pound into a rough paste. Drain chilies, add to mortar, and continue pounding until a rough paste has formed. Alternatively, chop all ingredients in a food processor (see note).

    Using a pestle and mortar to grind ingredients for Thai red curry paste

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil in a wok over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tofu, spread into a single layer, and cook, occasionally shaking pan gently, until crisp on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip tofu and continue cooking until second side is crisp. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add another tablespoon (15ml) oil to the wok and increase heat to high. When oil is smoking, add beans and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until blistered and tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with tofu.

    Collage of tofu and long beans being fried for phat phrik khing

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  3. Add remaining tablespoon (15ml) oil to wok and return to high heat until lightly smoking. Add curry paste all at once and cook, stirring continuously, until aromatic and sizzling, about 1 minute. Return tofu and beans to pan, along with sugar and soy sauce. Stir and toss to combine and coat tofu and beans in curry paste. Season to taste with more salt if desired. Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice.

    Collage of ingredients being stir-fried for Thai phat phrik khing

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Special equipment

Mortar and pestle, wok


Makrut lime leaves are also known as kaffir lime leaves and can be found in Southeast Asian markets. Galangal can be found fresh or frozen in Southeast Asian markets. A mortar and pestle will produce much better flavor than a food processor.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
362 Calories
17g Fat
41g Carbs
16g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 362
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 9g 47%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 667mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 26mg 131%
Calcium 344mg 26%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 943mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)