Thai Curry Paste is an incredibly useful ingredient. They come in multiple flavors, and can help you create delicious Thai dishes at home with minimal effort. In this article, we’ll talk about the different varieties available at your local Asian market and how to use them.
What Is Thai Curry Paste?
A Thai curry paste is a mixture of herbs, spices, and aromatics used to make what Westerners know as Thai-style curry dishes, or “kaeng.”
Thai curries, such as red curry and green curry, are dishes that usually feature the flavors of shrimp paste, onions or shallots, chilies, and garlic. These curries may also include coconut milk. Other ingredients include lemongrass, kaffir lime, galangal, coriander, cumin, and cardamom.
Thai curries can range from a soupy consistency to sauces that resemble gravies. They can also be drier dishes, where chefs use the curry paste as a base for a stir-fry.
It’s important to note that Thai curries do not usually involve curry powder, which is what many people think of when they think “curry.” In Thailand, this type of curry is called “kari” and refers to Indian-style dishes featuring curry powder or other Indian spices.
Note, however, that there IS a yellow curry paste “often labeled karee curry paste” that includes turmeric and curry powder and can be applied to a more Indian-style curry.
The main types of Thai curry paste that we buy are the green and red varieties.
How Is It Used?
The best part about this ingredient is, all the necessary aromatics and spices are already there! Thai curry pastes make it easy and convenient to prepare Thai curry dishes without having to source hard-to-find ingredients.
After all, it’s not like galangal and kaffir lime are easily accessible, even in Asian markets here in the U.S. Even many Thai restaurants use canned curry pastes rather than making their own.
We use them to make dishes like Red Curry Tofu, Red Curry Chicken, and Green Curry Chicken. We also use them to add kick to creative salads, soups, and noodle dishes (scroll down for a list of our favorite recipes using Thai curry paste).
Buying & Storing
Maesri is our go-to brand for Thai curry pastes. We stock up on cans of red and green curry paste so we have it on hand to whip up tasty Thai dishes.
As you can see in the photo below, they’re a bargain at $1.19-$1.39 each!
Here’s what the green curry paste looks like:
And the red:
You can find Thai curry paste in most Asian grocery stores, but you may also be able to find it these days in a well-stocked regular supermarket. You can also find it easily online.
Store sealed jars or cans in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry. Always use a clean utensil when handling.
If you have leftover curry paste, refrigerate in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks (as long as it hasn’t been contaminated). For longer-term storage, freeze in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it again.
Our Favorite Recipes That Use This Ingredient
- Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
- Red Curry Lime Chicken Wings
- Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
- Thai Chicken Salad with Red Curry Butternut Squash
- Red Curry Tofu
- Red Curry Chicken
- Green Curry Chicken
- Red Curry Noodles
- Butternut Squash Soup with Red Curry Butter Croutons
If you have further questions, let us know in the comments!