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Thai curry paste

Thai curry paste

Clockwise, from top: yellow, Panang ,green, and red curry pastes

Thai curry paste
what is it?

Intensely flavored curry pastes are a staple of Thai cuisine. These moist, concentrated blends of chiles, spices, and aromatics like lemongrass, lime leaves, shrimp paste, shallots, garlic, ginger, and cilantro are stirred into coconut milk or broth to make the sauce for all sorts of curry dishes.

There are several styles of curry pastes. Green curry paste gets its color mainly from fresh hot green chiles like serranos; they tend to be the hottest curry pastes. Red curry pastes are made with dried red chiles; they're pretty fire too, but not quite so much as green pastes. Yellow curry pastes are colored by turmeric and Indian-style curry powder; their spice level is relatively mild. Panang curry paste is similar to red but with the addition of ground peanuts. A fifth style, called Massaman (or Masmun) curry paste, is more Malaysian in influence; it's also relatively mild.

don't have it?

It's better to substitute one type of curry paste for another than substitute Indian-style curry powder for the paste altogether; the flavors are dramatically different. You can also make your own curry paste, though the ingredients are often harder to find than the paste itself.

how to choose:

Look for jarred curry paste in the Asian foods section of your grocery store (Thai Kitchen is a reliable and widely available brand). An Asian market will give you a wider selection, including fresh and frozen curry pastes that have more flavor and punch.

how to store:

Keep curry paste tightly wrapped and sealed for up to a month in the refrigerator, or up to three months in the freezer.

Comments (2)

rfelker writes: Look at the Apr/May 2011 issue. I gathered this from my index on CD which I recently purchased. It is a great resource for someone like me that has 20+ years of Fine Cooking magazine filling my bookshelves. Posted: 6:16 am on November 16th

MarisaandJim writes: I am looking for the magazine that featured these four pastes and the recipes. I have gone through my magazines but I might have missed one. I have the four pastes and now I'd like to make the different curries. Posted: 4:20 pm on November 3rd

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