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Thai curries are a backbone of traditional Thai cuisine and perhaps the most effortless dish to make at home. There are three kinds of Thai curries—red, yellow, and green—which are sorted by the color of the curry paste. They all share some common ingredients, but the addition of different types of chilies, spices, and herbs add to the overall color and flavor. It’s the color of the chili that imparts each signature hue to the paste, and each curry paste has its own distinctive flavor.
It should not surprise anyone that red curry is made with the addition of several red chilies, while green curry is made with green chilies, and yellow curry is made with the addition of turmeric adding a sunny yellow color to the preparation.
In Thailand, these 3 curry pastes have slightly different taste characteristics in addition to their colors. Over time, however, other ingredients have also been added to the curry pastes to enhance each recipe, making them even more distinct from one another.
Green Curry Paste is made with green chilies, this fragrant curry paste is full of flavor! Coconut milk, basil, and Kaffir lime help to balance the spice level. Try it with chicken, fish or zucchini.
Red Curry Paste is the most famous (and versatile) of Thai curry pastes. It’s used in an assortment of dishes generally with the addition of coconut milk, making the flavor a little spicy and sweet.
Yellow Curry Paste is the mildest out of the three, it’s the fresh turmeric and cumin that give it that wonderful bright color. Simmer it with some prawns or chicken.
The most common use for Thai curry paste is in curries and stews. Stir fry the curry paste in a little oil first to bring out its flavors, then coat proteins like chicken, pork, or tofu with the warmed paste. Then add coconut milk and vegetables before slow cooking until it’s flavorful and tender.
Brush meat with yellow curry paste and coconut milk and let sit in marinade before cooking. A good starting point would be to try yellow for chicken, green for fish, and red for beef.
Make a curry sauce and serve it over rice noodles instead of rice for a change of pace. You can also use Thai curry as a base for stir-fried noodles; just thin it out with some broth or coconut milk before tossing everything together.
Thai curry paste can add tons of flavor to salmon and seafood dishes. Spread it on fish before roasting or steaming, or use it in the saucy base of a mussels or clam dish.