Easy Thai Recipes - Using Red Curry Paste in Non-Curry Dishes

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To compare Thai red curry to a person, it would probably be a very feisty and affectionate mother. Its spiciness is relentless, yet there's also something sweet and comforting in its aroma. As much as I love red curry, I am quite reluctant to eat it too many times a week. This curry dilemma is in fact a common symptom among many curry lovers. Some of us enjoy curry very much but worry that eating it too often might turn our love into hate, while many of us are confident we can eat curry almost everyday without getting bored but afraid the saturated fat in coconut milk might expand our waistline inch by inch. And yet, if we let the curry paste sit around in a refrigerator for too long, its appetizing aroma will surely fade. So what else can we do with it?

Don't be dismayed, fellow home chefs. You can use red curry paste in a lot of non-curry Thai recipes. Unlike other types of Thai curry paste, this fiery mixture of red chilies and herbs is very versatile. Feel free to put it in a soup or stew to give the broth some extra heat. Adding a spoonful of it to a stir-fry not only will intensify the taste but also make the dish more colorful. And if you love Thai fish cakes like I do, you should know that red curry paste is a must-have component.

Red curry paste is one of the most popular ingredients in the Thai cuisine. You can easily find it at Asian grocery stores or in the Asian food section of many mainstream supermarkets. To ensure the authenticity, try to buy one that was imported from Thailand. If you are up for a little culinary adventure, you can even make your own, using my yummy recipe below. Also, I have a few non-curry Thai recipes to share, all of which owe their tastiness to the almighty red curry paste.

Thai Red Curry Paste

Red Curry Paste Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsps. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot
  • 2 - 3 stalks of lemongrass, thinly chopped
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 15 - 20 dried red chilies
  • 3 tbsps. water

Preparation

  • Remove stems from the chilies. Then soak them in a bowl of warm water until soft. Drain well and set aside.
  • Toast coriander and cumin in a frying pan over medium heat until darkened. Stir constantly.
  • Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You can keep this red curry paste refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.

 

Thai Spicy Stir-Fry Recipe (Pad Ped Gai)

Recipe with Red Curry Paste

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

  • 3 cups lean ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chopped shallot
  • 1 tbsp. red curry paste
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsps. chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Preparation

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic. Cook until the garlic turns lightly yellow.
  • Add meat and red curry paste. Stir-fry until the meat is thoroughly cooked.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to cook for another 2 minutes or until the tomato slices are tender. Serve with steamed rice.

Extra Tips: Feel free to use other vegetables instead of tomatoes if you like. (I picked tomatoes just because I was trying to embrace the red theme.) Some of the commonly used veggies for this dish include bamboo shoots, eggplants and string beans.

Thai Spicy Soup Recipe (Kaeng Som)

Recipe with Red Curry Paste

Ingredients (for 2 - 3 servings)

  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 2 cup chopped celery
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • half medium-size napa cabbage, chopped
  • 2 tbsps. red curry paste
  • 2 tsps. Thai shrimp paste
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • Thai fish sauce or salt to taste

Preparation

  • Heat oil in a deep skillet or soup pot over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic. Cook for about a minute.
  • Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add red curry paste and stir until completely dissolved.
  • Put the rest of the ingredients into the pot and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.

Extra Tips: This hearty soup is supposed to be super hot and sour. The tamarind paste is the ingredient that lends the sourness to it. In case you can't find tamarind paste in your local store, you may use lime juice instead. Plus, you can tweak this recipe by using only one type of vegetable and adding some protein to the dish. Any choice of protein is fine, but Thai people usually cook their gaeng som with either fish or shrimp.

Thai Fish Cake Recipe (Tod Mun)

Recipe with Red Curry Paste

Ingredients (for 2 - 3 servings)

  • 1 lb white fish fillets
  • 1 1/2 tbsps. red curry paste
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp. thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 cup thinly chopped string beans
  • enough oil for deep frying

Preparation

  • Process fish fillets in a food processor until it becomes a thick fish paste.
  • In a large bowl, mix fish paste, red curry paste, egg, kaffir lime leaves and string beans together with a fork.
  • Heat oil for deep frying.
  • Scoop up a little ball of fish cake mixture with your wet hand and shape it into a round patty. Do the same with the rest of the mixture.
  • Once the oil is hot, drop fish cakes into it and deep fry until golden brown. Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce as an appetizer.

Extra Tips: If you don't want to get your hands dirty, just use a spoon to scoop up a small portion of the fish mixture and drop it in the hot oil. This will shorten the prep time but might not make your fish cakes come out very pretty.

Thai Food Quiz - How much do you know about the Thai Cuisine?

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Comments 31 comments

readabook 5 years ago

As always great hub. I have seen red curry paste in the grocery but had no idea what to do with it. Thanks for the suggestions. I am happy to expand my curry horizons. Also, what can I substitute for the lime leaves. I can't find those at my grocery store.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

Great hub. I tried yellow curry on fried rice on board ship. They liked it but too much of it can make the dish a little bit bitter but hot.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

My mother loves curry dishes and I will show her these recipes as they are a bit spicy for me due to my medication. The food looks great however, and I am bookmarking the recipes. Thanks.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for some interesting recipes that look like they will be very tasty. I haven’t used red curry paste before, but I'm tempted to try after reading your hub.


bloggering profile image

bloggering 5 years ago from Southern California

Mmmmm - I am a fellow curry lover and these sound very good. Must try the fish cakes:-) Thanks for the great post!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

@readabook - Hmmmm I can't think of a good substitute for kaffir lime leaves. You can still make yummy Thai fish cakes without them, though. The lime leaves are used only for their aroma. They don't really affect the taste. :)


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

@travel_man - I like putting yellow curry powder on fried rice, too. Thanks for sropping by.

@Pamela - Thanks, Pamela. Hopefully, your mom will like my recipes.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

@AliciaC - I'm glad you want to try cooking with red curry paste. It's very spicy, though. So if you're not familiar with spicy food, try using just a little bit first and see if you can handle it.

@bloggering - Hi, fellow curry lover! Thanks a lot for the read and sweet comment.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Oh gosh, I LOVE cooking with Thai curry paste! Great Hub!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Love your recipes. My husband loves the Thai fish cake, so now, I can make that. Took the quiz and only got one wrong--yay! Rated up.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

@Simone - Thanks, Simone. =D

@anglnwu - Hmmm just wondering...which one did you get wrong?


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Om, the one about rice choice-- i put short grain--thinking sticky rice--duh? Enjoyed the quiz:)


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

haha my bf got that one wrong, too. :)


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Great recipe, Om - I'm definitely making this - and wonderful presentation as always!!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Audrey. Glad you enjoyed the hub and will try some of my recipes. :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

These recipes all sound delicious. Will have to give these recipes using red curry paste a try sometime. Thanks!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

You're welcome! Thanks for the read. :)


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 5 years ago from United States

I happen to have some red curry paste in my refrigerator--so I'm going to make this stir fry tonight. I used to live in Central CA and now live in central TX--very similar places actually except we don't have good Asian restaurants here--have to make my own. I think I'm going to follow your hubs!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

Cool! Hope it turned out yummy. :)


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 5 years ago from United States

It did! I made it with string beans and it was very flavorful. I realized when making this that I can do Thai stirfry the way I do a lot of dishes in other cuisines--just look around for what I have on hand that would work and use the Thai spices. Thanks!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

That's awesome. Happy cooking! =D


Spencer Camus profile image

Spencer Camus 5 years ago from United Kingdom

I think you might be just the person I need to ask about this...

...I'm a nut allergy sufferer, so can't go anywhere near peanuts!! How much difference does it make to the flavour of one of your curries, to not include them? (Am I missing out?)

Your recipies look awesome!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

Most Thai curry recipes (except the massaman curry) actually don't require peanuts. So just stay away from massaman curry and opt for red, green or yellow curry, and you'll be fine. :)


Massy 5 years ago

I think Thai curry paste brand kanokwan so ok, they are delicious, even i am not good at cooking but they are fantastic tasty.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

Oh, that's nice. I'd never heard of this brand before, but thanks for sharing your personal experience. :)


amy1oowho profile image

amy1oowho 4 years ago from Atlanta

Wow, the red curry paste I just bought from my grocery store was so mild I had to use 4 tbsp of it in my curry! The brand was Thai Kitchen. I used it in place of massaman curry. I'm not going for authentic flavors--no offense, I'm a really picky eater so I just go for what tastes good to me which is often quite different than for most people.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago Author

Hi, Amy. Of course you should go for what tastes good to you. Tweaking recipes to suit your own preferences is a smart and fun thing to do. That's why we have fusion cuisines. :)


jiro profile image

jiro 4 years ago from India

good recipies,thank you


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago Author

Thanks for dropping by, jiro. Glad you like these recipes.


Char 4 years ago

I make a baking sauce using coconut oil and red curry paste and glob it on white fish before baking. Yum! I highly suggest it.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago Author

Sounds great. Thanks for sharing, Char!

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