Kitchn Love Letters

The Trader Joe’s Simmer Sauce That Gets Dinner on the Table in Minutes

updated Feb 16, 2021
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Way back when, during the Before Times, I wandered a market in northern Thailand for ingredients to make a fresh green curry as part of a local cooking class. I can still remember the smell of those ingredients as we chopped them (and then simmered them all day long). While I long to go back to Thailand one day, in the interim I’m relying on a grocery staple to bring back those vivid food (and travel!) memories.

Credit: Dana McMahan

Enter: this jar of Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce from Trader Joe’s ($1.99 for 12 ounces). Ever since I first stumbled upon it, it has become one of the things that my husband and I always grab when we make a TJ’s run. It’s a pantry staple for us. 

According to the Fearless Flyer, the Product Innovator at Trader Joe’s went to Thailand to develop this particular Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce. “It starts with a base of velvety coconut milk, and an incredibly flavorful, spicy green curry paste. Packed into this paste are shallots, lemongrass, garlic, galangal, coriander seed, Thai lime peel, ginger, turmeric, and cumin — all contributing to its savory, aromatic awesomeness. The sauce is rounded out with rice bran oil, sugar, basil leaf, and green chili for just the right amount of heat.”

Credit: Dana McMahan

I thoroughly enjoy the process of creating recipes from scratch, and I don’t often go for a pre-made sauce in a jar. (Mostly because they taste like exactly that — premade.) However, I make an exception for this one. Because it’s just that good! It’s also a straight up life-saver when it comes to getting dinner on the table in minutes flat. I’m definitely not a curry expert and I can’t say this stuff is better than homemade, but I can tell you that it helps me make quick meals and it reminds of me of fun travel memories.

My favorite thing to do with it is grab whatever veggies need to be used up, sauté or roast them, pan-fry some tofu, and cook up some cauliflower rice. Then everything gets simmered up with this sauce. It’s probably the quickest dinner we make. No matter what combination of carbs, veggies, and protein I throw in the pan, this sauce ties them all together.

One day we’ll make it back to Thailand and feast on fresh-from-the-market curry. Until then, though, I will very happily keep this part of our regular dinner rotation.