The 5 Greatest Red Curry Paste Substitutes

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Have you ever wondered what gives Thai cuisine its distinct flavor? If this is the case, you are not alone.

Thai cuisine’s particular flavor is typically linked to ingredients such as fish sauce, coconut milk, and lime juice.

The red curry paste, on the other hand, is a vital component in many Thai recipes.

Red curry paste is a tasty combination of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass that may be used to season soups, stir-fries, curries, and other dishes.

It’s also simple to create at home with only a few basic components.

If you want to spice up your next meal, read on to learn all you need to know about red curry paste.

Together with some instructions on how to use it, we’ll also reveal five of the finest red curry paste substitutions so you can still enjoy your favorite Thai recipes even if you’re out of this crucial ingredient.

What is Red Curry Paste?

The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Curry Paste

Red curry paste is a common Thai ingredient.

It’s created using red chilies, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and spices.

The paste may be used to make both traditional Thai cuisine and fusion-style dinners.

While cooking with red curry paste, keep in mind that a little goes a long way.

Since the paste is very concentrated and quite hot, it should be used cautiously at first.

After you’ve gotten a sense of the flavor, you may modify the quantity to your liking.

Soups, stews, curries, and stir-fries may all benefit from the addition of red curry paste.

It’s also popular as a marinade for grilled meats as a dipping sauce.

Red curry paste is an important component in every Thai cooking because of its robust taste and adaptability.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Curry Paste

Don’t panic if you run out of red curry paste or can’t locate it at your local grocery shop.

There are various alternatives that will work as well in your recipe.

1 – Curry Powder

Curry powder is a spice combination that originated in India.

The exact components vary by area, but popular spices include turmeric, coriander, cumin, and chili pepper.

Curry powder may be used to season both meat and vegetables.

While cooking with curry powder, it is critical to include the spices early in the process to allow them to unleash their flavor.

Red curry paste, like curry powder, may be used to spice both meat and vegetable dishes.

Since red curry paste is often hotter than curry powder, the quantity used should be adjusted to your taste.

If you don’t have red curry paste on hand, you may use curry powder in its place.

2 – Yellow Curry Paste

Curry pastes are a pulverized paste of fresh or dry-roasted spices, herbs, and other flavors.

Because of their strong taste, they are often used as a basis in curries and other foods.

Although there are other curry pastes available, yellow curry paste is popular owing to its brilliant color and milder taste.

The most popular components used to produce yellow curry paste are turmeric, cumin, coriander, lemongrass, galangal, and chili peppers.

These components are often toasted before being mashed into a thin paste.

Certain recipes may also use ingredients like ginger, garlic, shallots, and lime leaves.

After produced, the curry paste may be utilized in a variety of cuisines.

Turmeric is often used with coconut milk to make a thick and fragrant curry sauce.

Yellow curry paste may also be marinated with meats or vegetables before grilling or roasting.

It’s also a wonderful taste enhancer for soups and stews.

If you can’t locate red curry paste at your local grocery shop, use yellow curry paste instead.

But, keep in mind that the taste will change somewhat from that of classic red curry meals.

3 – Green Curry Paste

Thai green curry relies heavily on green curry paste.

It’s created using a fragrant spice combination that includes green chilies, galangal, lemongrass, and cilantro.

Both chicken and vegetarian recipes may benefit from the paste’s taste.

Just add green curry paste to a skillet with oil and simmer until aromatic.

Next add your selected protein or veggies and simmer until they are fully cooked.

Green curry paste may also be used as a marinade or to add flavor to soups and stews.

If you don’t have red curry paste, use green curry paste instead.

Keep in mind that red curry paste is often hotter than green curry paste, so start with less and gradually add more to taste.

4 – Sambal Oelek

Sambal oelek is a spicy chili sauce or paste from Indonesia.

It’s commonly created using a combination of chili peppers, vinegar, and salt.

The ingredients are combined to make a thick, flaming paste.

Sambal oelek may be used as a condiment, in soups or stews, or as a meat marinade.

It may also be used in place of red curry paste.

While using sambal oelek in cooking, bear in mind that a little goes a long way.

The paste is quite spicy and may rapidly overpower a meal if used in excess.

As a result, it is often added to recipes at the end of cooking.

When replacing red curry paste with sambal oelek, start with half the quantity of curry paste and add more to taste.

5 – Harissa Paste

Harissa paste is a spicy chili paste from North Africa that is popular in Tunisian, Algerian, and Moroccan cuisine.

It’s created using chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices like cumin and caraway seed.

The paste may be used to season soups and stews, as well as as a condiment for grilled meats and vegetables.

Most Middle Eastern stores sell harissa paste, which may be produced at home using fresh or dried chili peppers.

When cooking with harissa paste, keep the heat level in mind and start with less than you think you’ll need; the spice level can always be increased, but it’s difficult to reduce the heat after the food has been cooked.

Substitute red curry paste for the chile peppers for a milder paste.


Finally, a few other replacements for red curry paste may be employed.

Thai curry powder, green curry paste, yellow curry paste, sambal oelek, and harissa paste are among alternatives.

Each of these pastes will impart a distinct flavor to your food, so choose the one that best suits your tastes.

If you can’t locate any of these pastes, you may make your own red curry paste by combining chili peppers, ginger, and garlic.

Whatever option you use, add the paste gently and taste as you go to avoid having a meal that is either too hot or not spicy enough.


What can be used in place of red curry paste?

Malaysian curry pastes including yellow curry, laksa, and Massaman work well as alternatives as well. Madras, korma, and vindaloo curry pastes from India may also be utilized. Just keep an eye on the intensity. Begin with less than the recipe asks for, then taste and adjust as necessary. Further Curry Pastes

Additional Thai

What is a mild alternative to red curry paste?

If you can’t get red curry paste, green or yellow curry paste will suffice. But bear in mind that your finished meal may be milder than intended.

What is red curry paste made of?

Red curry paste is a tasty and adaptable basis for a number of Thai meals. It is made up of red chili peppers, garlic, sea salt, lemongrass, turmeric, and shrimp paste in its most basic form (source).

Is red curry paste the same as masala?

Curry vs. Masala

Curry is a spiced and salted cooked vegetable or meat. Masala, on the other hand, is a kind of blended spice that is used in a curry to give flavor and taste. This is the primary distinction between the terms masala and curry.

What flavor is red curry paste?

Curry in red. This curry is mildly spicy and one of the most adaptable. Red curry is cooked using a variety of red chilies, giving it a powerful and spicy taste. Coriander, cumin, red bell pepper, red chile, lemongrass, and ginger are among the spices used in the curry foundation.

Can I substitute curry powder for curry paste?

Curry paste contains entire chili peppers, but curry powder often does not, making the heat level in curry paste more powerful than that of curry powder. Curry paste is neither a replacement for curry powder, nor is it the other way around.

What is the flavor difference between red and green curry paste?

The main distinction is that red curry employs dried red chilies as a basis for its paste, but green curry uses coriander roots, green chillies, and is considerably sweeter.

What is the difference between curry and red curry paste?

Apart for the chilies, all Thai curries were traditionally cooked using the same components. For a very spicy meal, red curry was cooked with multiple red chilies, green curry with green chilies, and yellow curry with yellow chilies.

What is a substitute for red chili paste?

If you don’t have chili paste on hand, there are a few decent substitutions you may use. Sriracha sauce is a popular chili sauce with a taste and consistency comparable to chili paste. Swaps include sambal oelek, harrisa, gochujang, piri piri sauce, spicy sauces, and others.

Is red curry paste really spicy?

Red curry paste, the spiciest choice, is rich and spicy. Green curry paste is sometimes regarded as the most popular of the three because to its mild, balanced taste that is both rich and herbaceous. Yellow curry paste is hearty and somewhat sweet, and the spiciness varies based on the chilies used.

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