Are you a fan of curry dishes? If so then you should know about thai red curry paste. This ingredient can allow you to make Thai curry within 10 minutes. We often think of curry as being yellow. However, it can also be other colors like green or red based on the ingredients that are used. The first modern curry appeared in a British cookbook (1717). There are several varieties of curry that are made based on factors like the particular ingredients that are used. That includes not only the ingredients that are added to the dish but also the food used to make the curry itself.

In fact, the three colors of Thai curries are based on the color of the chilies used to make them: red, yellow, and green. While the tastes are similar they’re all different based on the chili used. If you’re making red curry it’s important to know about the key ingredient, which is the curry paste. The main issue when making this curry is how many chilies to use. Thai cuisine is known to be spicy but not everyone likes 5-alarm curries so chefs swap in another ingredient to make the curry less spicy with a more complex flavor.

What Exactly Is Thai Curry?

Many people have had Indian curry but are less familiar with Thai curry. What’s it all about? There are three main types of curry from the South-East Asian country: red, green, and yellow. These are based on the type of chili to make the food.

Each of the chilies has a slightly different flavor based on the chili pepper that’s used to make it. In the past, all traditional Thai curries only differed in the type of chilies that were used to make the dish. That includes red, green, and yellow chilies.

Besides their color, the chilies are also slightly different in their flavors. As the different curries evolved the other ingredients added to each type of curry also did. This was done to enhance the recipes and made each type of curry unique from the other ones.

In terms of spiciness, there’s some difference in the amount of each curry. Green is the mildest, yellow is mid-range, and red is the hottest.

Fun Fact: When consuming spicy food it’s better to drink milk instead of water since it will help to neutralize the acids. Water is a bad idea because it expands the chemicals that cause the spicy flavor.

First, green curry is actually the most popular Thai curry and also the mildest in terms of spicy. There are several other ingredients added to bring out the green color including cilantro (coriander), basic, and lime leaf. The ingredients are combined with the green chilies.

Next, the yellow curry is somewhat spicier. It’s spicier than green curry but less spicy than red chilly. It has a mild/sweet flavor with some spicy. It’s ground up with other ingredients like:

  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Lemongrass
  • Red chilies (red)

A popular version is similar to Indian curry that includes chicken and coconut milk.

 “Massaman” curry was influenced by Iran. This one includes peanuts and whole spices, which are rare in traditional Thai curry.

Thai Red Curry Paste

Red curry paste is a key ingredient in various Thai dishes. It’s used to make red curry itself but also can be used for other dishes/sauces. You can purchase the paste at Asian markets/stores or even make the product at home. The DIY version allows you to customize the ingredients and also is usually cheaper.

The red paste is red as the name suggests. The actual ingredients used to make the paste can vary based on the preferences of the cook/region. However, some of the main ones include:

  • Chilies
  • Coriander
  • Coriander (root)
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Lime (rind)
  • Pepper (white)
  • Paprika
  • Shallots
  • Shrimp (paste)

These ingredients not only affect the spiciness of the red curry but also the general flavor.

Here’s how to make the red curry paste. First, grind up all the ingredients using a mortar/pestle, blender, or food processor. The old saying “fresh is best” applies so it’s a good idea to make enough for one serving. However, you could also make a big batch and freeze some for future use.

Typically just a little red curry paste is required to make the dish. That’s because it has a high concentration. Timing is important. For example, when using a coconut milk base you should add the paste at the start of cooking to mix well with the other ingredients.

You can also use the red curry paste for other dishes. They include peanut sauce, as well as other dressings sauces, and food.

After handling the curry paste make sure to wash your hands completely. This can help to prevent issues in the eyes, hands, etc. This is caused by the various oils in the peppers, which can cause this reaction. If some curry paste gets in the eyes make sure to use running water (cool) to rinse it out. This can help to reduce irritation.

Top Thai Dishes

1. Fried Noodles

This one includes wide or thin noodles based on the cook’s choice. You get ingredients like beansprouts, egg, and onion. What makes this dish to the next level are the condiments that include ground peanuts, chili powder, fish sauce, and sugar.

2. Chicken in Coconut Soup

This traditional soup includes chicken strips, lemongrass, crushed shallots, and spicy chilies. The coconut milk gives the soup a thicker texture and milder flavor. The soup gets topped with fresh lime leaves. This dish is crazy-good creamy.

3. Fried Rice

This dish is a popular Asian dish so what’s the Thai cuisine all about? Besides the fried rice this recipe also gets the egg, herbs, and an onion. This is a light lunch dish that is usually served with cucumber slices and lime wedges. The basic ingredients are paired with others like:

  • Chicken
  • Crab
  • Prawn
  • Basic
  • Leftover veggies

4. Red Curry

This one usually gets meat, coconut milk, and red curry paste. It’s topped with fresh lime leaves. Go with super-tender meat. The dish has been described as slightly sweet and sweet-smelling. You can find a wide range of recipes for this dish. The other main curries include green and yellow varieties.  

5. Spicy Papaya Salad

You’ve probably heard of papaya but this is an interesting one because it has green papaya. Some of the ingredients include green beans, tomatoes, chilies, and garlic. It also includes raw papaya that’s processed to make a sour/spicy flavor. Other possible ingredients include dry shrimp, crab, and peanuts.

6. Spicy Shrimp Soup

This dish has traditional Thai ingredients, flavors, and scents. They include chili, lemongrass, lime juice/leaves, and fish sauce. It’s a hearty dish that gets fresh prawns and mushrooms. You can also tweak the recipe to get the taste you want like tweaking recipes with Thai red curry paste.

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