Varieties Of Thai Curry Pastes


Thai food is popular all over the world, and the vast assortment of Thai curries are some of the most beloved. Usually served with steamed jasmine rice, yellow, green and red Thai curries can be cooked with all kinds of vegetables, meat or seafood. They’re so versatile that these pastes, made from fresh herbs, spices and aromatics can also be used to marinate, add to soups or give a flavour kick to noodles or rice dishes. The difference between each of these colourful curries may be confusing at first, but we’ll be running through their different core ingredients and flavour profiles to help you find your favourite!

Varieties Of Thai Curry Pastes

Yellow Curry

The ingredient that gives this Thai curry its characteristic yellow hue is of course turmeric. While Thai yellow curry combines a whole range of fragrant, fresh herbs and dried spices, it's much milder than its green and red cousins, because there's usually not as much chilli. The chillies normally used are a red or yellowish colour. Word of caution: dried & fresh turmeric stains everything! So be weary of white bench tops and T-shirts. You may want to wear gloves if you're making your own yellow curry paste. Otherwise Turmeric is known for its antioxidant properties, perhaps you won’t mind the yellow stained hands for potential health benefits?

Green Curry

If you can handle the heat, then go for a Thai green curry.  With incredibly aromatic ingredients like fresh green chillies, coriander, kaffir lime and Thai basil, you know you're going to get a delicious Thai dish no matter what. Although the coconut milk tones down the spice, you've been warned that green curries are usually the spiciest of the three curries we've listed here. Adding other green items like spring onion tops and even green capsicum can help bring out a green curries natural colour.

Red Curry

Thai red curries are usually spicier than yellow curries but less spicy than green ones. It’s the bright red chillies in the paste that lend their colour to this iconic curry. The fiery heat from the chillies are toned down by the coconut milk, but you could even scrape out the seeds and inner white flesh from your chillies to create a milder paste. Feel free to swap out the bird's eye chillies for long chillies if they're too hot for you. The addition of mild rehydrated dried red chillies or red capsicum for colour is another good trick!

Other Popular Thai Curry Pastes

  • Massaman curry - Meaning ‘Muslim’ curry, is usually made with peanuts, potatoes and lamb or beef. Added spices such as clove, green and black cardamom give it a unique taste.
  • Jungle curry - This famous Northern Thai curry made without coconut milk is one of the spiciest! It’s made with loads of chillies, aromatics and traditionally wild meats.
  • Penang curry - A mild red curry named after the nearby state in Malaysia.