Trader Joes Vegetable Green Curry and Panag Curry

Trader Joe’s seems to be really on a Thai food kick right now. There are probably 30 or so things that are Thai themed or even are a Product of Thailand. From curries to Tom Yum soup it seems to keep coming and you know what? I love it! Long time readers (which has only been about 4 months now) know that for a couple of years during the Vietnam war, my father was working as a civilian in northern Thailand and we lived in Bangkok. Seems like ancient history at this point, but that set me (and my whole family) into serious foodies. OK, you could argue that my mother was already heading that way by trying make everything in the Julia Childs’ cookbooks in the 1960s, living in Thailand really kind of made us sit up and look around!

Panang Curry

My mother still tells this story of when we come back to the States and I was craving rice because our Thai maids (everyone had a maid back then in Thailand my father was a lowly civil servant) made me rice as a snack all the time and I ate bowls of it! So, when we get back, my mother gets sick of making rice for me all the time so she teaches me to make rice (at about 9 years old) and ever since then I’ve never screwed up a batch of rice! I can still eat bowls of it!

Green Vegetable Curry

So, here are two new Thai curries from Trader Joe’s. The first is a Vegetable Green Curry and the second one I tasted was the Vegetable Panang Curry. First, the are both a Product of Thailand, so at least there is a chance that they might be semi-authentic. Both of them come in this really nice plastic tub that you can take the top off of and pop in the microwave. There are actually even holes in the top of the lid to vent steam. You can make them two ways, microwave or in a pot on the stovetop. For this one I opted to stick them in the microwave one at a time and taste them.

The Panang Vegetable Curry was interesting. It had a fair amount of heat and a nice rice, slightly red soup base that was pretty authentic if a little tinny for my palate (To me that just means that you can taste the fact that it’s been canned). The bigger disappointment was that there seemed to be way more soup than vegetables. In the picture above I had to grab a spoon and pull out the vegetables to show them because they were sunk below the surface. It seemed to be mostly cauliflower and carrots. Not bad, but I’ve had better from a can…

The second one was the Green Vegetable Curry and this one I liked more than Panang curry. It had a little more heat, but that is pretty normal for green curries. You can see from the picture that the vegetables were just popping out of the surface of the curry when I put it in a bowl. This one was much more satisfying than the Panang curry. It consisted mainly of bamboo shoots but there were some other veggies in there, mainly carrots. I thought the curry flavors in this one seemed fresher and more focused. Plenty of coconut milk in both of these and they both have a fair amount of oils in them which is good!

The one thing that hit me with both of these that these are a great base for something more. (By the way, these are both Vegan dishes as they are) If you are into meat, as I am, I suggest putting these in a pot and heating them with some chicken or shrimp for a more complete meal. You could serve them over rice if you wanted. You could jazz them up with some thai basil or whatever you want to throw in there.

I thought these were both really good, but I liked the green curry better…

I am going to rate the Green Vegetable Curry 8 Bells and the Panang Vegetable Curry 7 bells!


  1. I'm totally obsessed with these served over spaghetti squash. I also add frozen peas, canned green beans, and sometimes either tofu or paneer.

  2. There’s now (6/13/13) a product that may or may not be related, with a similar name, but most definitely not a soup.
    It comes frozen, in a little plastic 2-bin tray (like a microscale tv-dinner), and is called
    Vegetable Panang Curry with Jasmine Rice.
    Also Vegan, and “Product of Thailand,” it’s to die for!
    The sauce is a tad watery for my taste, but definitely flavorful — richer and more subtle than in some restaurants. And very filling: 590 calories (210 from fat) in the 360-gram single serving.
    Bon appetit!

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