Thai red curry paste makes a great substitute to many recipes and smells divine. If you are looking for a perfect foolproof way to authentic red curry paste, with readily available ingredients, then I bet you have landed in the right place of your search.
You don’t want those authentic fancy ingredients, and you can still make them taste authentic with its best alternatives.
Can you even consider, If I say an instant type of red curry that I tasted in air travel, made me fall in love with this dish and got my back on trying them at any cost?
Yes, that’s the truth, and I tried and tested all the possible forms of substitutes (‘because it’s tough to find all ingredients in an area like where we live) to make them taste exactly the one I had and documented it here so, it might help you!
Though the actual recipe is not a big deal if you are in a city and have access to all ingredients; what if you don’t have them handy?
So, here it is for you. ‘m damn sure this flavour explosion is sure to lock your taste buds too.
What is red curry?
Firstly, all you need to know is Thai curries are more aromatic than Indian curries and are differentiated mainly by the colours.
Secondly, they are full of flavours with the use of a lot of herbs. It’s so vibrant red in colour and creamy deliciousness at the other end.
Moreover, natives say that early stages of traditional cooking included more spicy in this red curry and they had used around 20 red spur chillies. Can you even believe that!
Nowadays, with the influence of many cultures, the red colour is being derived from tomato pastes or sauce, according to the user’s adaptability.
Though, you get the store-bought ones. ‘m sure not everyone could have access to it or at least people like me. So, what else can stop you now?
- Add Curry pastes as condiments to noodles, salads, soups and stews.
- It imparts a unique flavour and taste when added to a specific recipe.
- Easy to make.
- It refrigerated and stored for later use.
Major Ingredients in the recipe
Curry powder and curry paste are two different elements of this red curry paste. Firstly, they both are crushed separately and then again, the pressed mixture is grounded together.
DRY / Curry powder: they usually comprise of Coriander, cumin and black pepper
WET / Paste: Curry paste is usually of lemongrass, kefir lime leaves, ginger, garlic, shallots, red chillies and fish sauce.
The traditional way of making the red curry paste included a way lot of red chillies, red chilly peppers, galangal (Thai ginger), garlic, shallots, coriander, lemongrass, kafir lime leaves, and shrimp pastes.
The dry and wet ingredients are separated and are pounded separately in mortar and pestle as it releases some essential oil from herbs and spices and adds a distinctive flavour.
That’s why I prefer coarse grinding here in my recipe. Yet, it shouldn’t be too rough and make a grainy hindrance rather than a smooth curry.
Red curry paste- Are they really hot?
The traditional way of making red curry paste included twenty of Thai red chillies or bird eye chillies in the recipe which could make it too hot!
Moreover, you can adjust the spice by increasing the coconut milk or adding sweeteners to the recipe to make it sweeter.
Substitues – Vegan, Vegetarian alternatives
The original recipe includes the addition of shrimp paste which I have omitted in this recipe and have presented you a vegan option.
If you aren’t vegan and love adding shrimp paste, you can do so. You can also try adding fish sauce instead of shrimp paste too.
Vegetarian alternative: some people used to add soy sauce instead of fish sauce or shrimp paste. I skipped this step of adding any sauces to my recipe as I wanted a vegetarian option and didn’t want that taste of umami in the final dish.
Also, I didn’t want my curry to taste sour and look dark and dull. However, this is entirely optional, and you can add soy sauce as a substitute for shrimp or fish paste.
Lemongrass: Lemongrass is not a common ingredient in a place where we live so, I substituted with the zest of 1/2 lemon and lemon juice of a half lemon.
Moreover, If you are adding lemongrass in the recipe reduce this amount of lemon zest and lemon juice and instead of that substitute with two lemongrasses.
Kefir lime Leaves: Most of the Thai recipes calls in for these leaves and are lightly zestier and flavourful than a bay leaf. Not to forget that they aren’t same as that of lime leaves.
As kefir is milder than a bay leaf, I added a half of bay leaf to the recipe. So, If you are adding kefir, you need to add two kefir lime leaves instead of the bay leaf substitute.
Best to pair
When added to your favourite bowl of soup, red curry paste gives you unique flavours.
If used in curry, it is generally accompanied by jasmine rice as a tradition. It even tastes best with basmati or any white rice of Indian origin.
When used in curry, it tastes great with chicken and beef. As curry usually contains one protein source vegans and vegetarians can replace it with tofu or paneer (cottage cheese).
The curry also works well with additives like eggplant, tomato, peas, cauliflower. It tastes incredible when spinach is added as an additive to curry or noodles while cooking.
Tips and tricks:
- Shallots add the paste a unique sweet taste. You can substitute big onions too. Though there is no much noticeable difference. you can find the variation if you try the paste with both of them at different times.
- Don’t burn the ingredients while dry roasting them.
- If you find it hard to grind without adding water, You can also add a few teaspoons of it to speed up grinding.
- You can also try adding some coconut oil. But, be sure to add little by little. I recommend a maximum of 1/2 tbsp.
- If you ever feel the curry is too hot after adding red curry paste. Feel free to balance the hotness with the sweetness of coconut milk.
- If you are using it in noodles, and don’t want it to be soupy, add coconut sugar in this case.
Know the Fact
Guidance in making
- Firstly, Gather all the ingredients one by one.
- Then, Seperate the dry ingredients like coriander, bayleaf, cumin, black pepper and red chillies.
- After that, heat a pan and add all the dry ingredients and roast them.
- Then, roast them till they turn a golden colour. Be sure not to burn them.
- Allow them to cool.
- Seperate the wet ingredients like red peppers, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, zest.
- Then, Grind the dry ingredients first.
- Now, add the wet ingredients to the same mixer jar and grind them to a slightly coarse paste.
- Remember not to grind them too coarsley.
- That’s it, here is your favourite red curry paste.
Ok, let’s head on to make this flavourful paste!
Thai Red curry Paste
DRY INGREDIENTS (CURRY POWDER)
- 1 tsp Coriander seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 3 Dry Kashmiri Red chillies
- 1 Bayleaf big
WET INGREDIENTS (CURRY PASTE)
- 1 Red Bell pepper Medium
- 1 inch Ginger in thumb size
- 4-5 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Lemon juice (a medium sized half lemon)
- Lemon zest 1+1/4 lemon
- 10-12 (small) / 1/2 cup Shallots/ Spring onions
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Seperate the dry ingredients.
- Dry roast coriander, bayleaf, red chilly, black pepper and cumin.
- Give it some time to cool and grind them.
- Collect the wet ingredients like ginger, garlic, shallots, red bell pepper, lemon juice and zest.
- Now add the wet ingredients to the same mixer jar and grind them to a slightly coarse paste Remember not to grind them too coarsley.
- That's it, here is your favourite red curry paste.
Sourcing & storage:
Red curry paste is easy to make and refrigerated up to two weeks in an airtight container. But, If you still don’t have that much time you can source it from stores.
It is generally found in the International aisle of grocery stores or supermarkets or can be found online too.