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MIX coconut milk and red curry paste in small saucepan. Bring to simmer on low heat, stirring constantly.
STIR in chicken stock, fish sauce, peanuts, sugar, salt, lime leaves and cornstarch mixture. Bring to simmer. Stirring constantly, simmer until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat.
STIR in basil and chiles, if desired.
Test Kitchen Tip: Makrut lime leaves are shiny, thick, dark green leaves that grow in doubles—as two connected leaflets. The leaves provide a refreshing lemon-lime aroma and flavor typical of Thai cuisine. To get the maximum amount of flavor when using whole fresh leaves, remove the center stem/vein and discard. Dried leaves can be used whole. Makrut lime leaves are available fresh, frozen or dried in Asian markets and online retailers.