Best Red Curry Paste Substitutes

Red curry paste is a Thai cuisine staple that serves as the base for meals including curry, pra ram, and tom yum soup. Some individuals like to consume it as a condiment.

Thai-style sandwiches and egg dishes benefit with curry or a decent substitute for red curry paste.

There are other red curry paste replacements, however these are the top five: Curry Powder, Green or Yellow Curry Paste, Homemade Curry Paste, Harissa Paste, and Chilli Paste are all options.

Curry paste is fast and simple to use, even for novices. If you have some pre-made paste in the fridge, you can make a fantastic curry in minutes with a little coconut milk. Curry is a very adaptable meal that may incorporate anything from chicken and pork to tofu and fresh vegetables.

The Ingridients in Red Curry Paste

Red curry paste components might vary based on regional tastes and personal preferences. Most curry paste sold in supermarkets comprises many key components, including several varieties of red chili pepper, lemongrass, garlic, turmeric, and shrimp paste.

1. Curry Powder: The Best Substitute for Thai Red Curry Paste

Although hardly everyone keeps curry paste on hand, many individuals have dry curry powder on hand. Curry powder, unlike most other popular herbs and spices, does not derive from a single plant. Instead, it includes a spice blend.

Turmeric, chili powder, ginger, and cumin are common ingredients in curry powder. For a more zesty taste, certain types may additionally contain spices such as ground coriander and black pepper. Some home cooks even make their own curry powder stock.

Since curry powder and curry paste include many of the same ingredients, the two are often used interchangeably. In most circumstances, one teaspoon of dry curry powder may be substituted for one tablespoon of curry paste in a recipe.

Curry powder adds a diverse combination of spices to any cuisine, especially Thai. Although curry powder contains many of the same spices and tastes as red curry paste, the two are not interchangeable.

A Thai meal produced with curry powder tastes quite different from one made with curry paste. The powder has a stronger, spicier, more fragrant taste than the paste, thus it adds less sweetness to meals.

Since curry powder is so potent, it’s recommended to use it sparingly as a replacement for red curry paste. Begin with a tiny bit and taste before adding more. If you go too far, your dinner may become too hot to handle.

2. Green or Yellow Curry Paste: An Easy Red Curry Paste Substitute

Red curry paste is not the only variety that is often used in Thai cookery. Green or yellow curry paste is also used in many dishes. Both include many of the same ingredients as red curry paste, and although each has its own unique flavor, all three pastes have a similar flavor profile.

Although red curry paste comprises a variety of red chilis, green curry paste incorporates gentler green chilis into the mix. As a consequence, when employed in cooking, green curry paste lends less heat. Green curry has a bright, zesty flavor from spices like coriander and kaffir lime leaf.

Instead of chilis, the major component in yellow curry paste is turmeric. Yellow curry paste, although comparable to red curry paste, has a more fragrant taste typical of Indian food. Yellow curry is often hotter than green curry, but not as fiery as red curry.

In most circumstances, various curry paste colors may be used interchangeably to get a comparable outcome. 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.

3. Homemade Curry Paste: A Do-It-Yourself Option

If you can’t locate store-bought curry paste, make your own for wonderful results. The majority of the raw components you’ll need may be found at your local grocery.

If you don’t have access to specialist kinds like Thai birds eye chilis, you may use any fresh red chili from the grocery. In a pinch, you may rehydrate dried chilis or use bell pepper as an alternative.

The citrus undertones in red curry paste are often provided by lemongrass and kaffir lime. Both of these items, however, might be difficult to locate outside of specialist retailers. Instead, use fresh lemon and lime peel to give your curry paste a boost of flavor.

Another key component that might be difficult to locate is shrimp paste. You may use anchovy paste or mild miso paste for a flavorful umami taste. Additional components like ginger, garlic, and dry spices should be readily available in your home or at your local grocery.

Homemade curry paste is perhaps the most realistic and dependable red curry paste replacement. It may, however, take some time to prepare. Prepare a big quantity ahead of time to have on hand for quick curries and Thai foods on demand.

4. Harissa Paste: A Spicer Substitute for Red Curry Paste

Although red curry paste is often used as a base in Thai cuisine, harissa paste is used in North African cuisine. This hot condiment shares several components with red curry paste, such as red chilis, garlic, coriander, and citrus taste.

Because of the use of vinegar, harissa is more acidic than red curry paste, and it also has more heat and spice than red curry paste. Due of the intensity, harissa may not be suitable for spice-sensitive people.

Despite its high heat levels, harissa paste tastes comparable to curry paste and is an excellent alternative in Thai recipes. Harissa, like curry pastes, is often found in the International section of your local store.

When using harissa, keep in mind that it contains more oil than red curry paste, therefore it will likely thin down sauces more. You may need to alter the amount you use in a recipe. Begin with half of what you’ll need and adjust to taste.

5. Chili Paste: A Mild but Workable Substitute for Red Curry Paste

Chili paste is a decent replacement for Thai red curry paste, which is widely available in supermarkets. To generate a thick and tasty paste, dried chilis are roasted, reconstituted, and crushed. Heat and taste are maximized to provide a potent complement to any Thai food.

Chili paste and chili sauce are sometimes mistaken, however the two are made from somewhat different components. Despite the fact that they contain the same ingredients, processing eliminates more water from chili paste. The paste will not have the same effect on the consistency of your cuisine as a more watery chili sauce.

In many Thai cuisines, chili paste may be substituted for red curry paste. It includes red chilis, as the name implies, which are comparable to those found in red curry paste. It lacks many of the other components, though, and has a less complex taste profile.

If you wish to swap chili paste for red curry paste, you may add some more spices to keep the meal genuine. A little fresh lemon or lime, ginger, and coriander go a long way toward making chili paste work in a Thai cuisine.

Related Article: Korean Chili Pepper Replacement

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I use red curry paste in cooking?

Red curry paste is often used in Thai recipes, notably those for various varieties of curry. Red curry paste, on the other hand, may be used in various dishes that call for spice or heat. Experiment according to your preferences and find where curry paste works well in a meal.

Where can I find red curry paste?

Red curry paste is available in certain stores, however it may be difficult to locate in major chains. You may need to go to a speciality store in certain circumstances to acquire pre-made curry paste. You may also get curry paste online since most produced curry paste is nonperishable.

In Summary

Although red curry paste is an ubiquitous component in Thai cookery, finding it at your local grocery might be difficult. Fortunately, there are several alternatives that may be used in place of red curry paste.


What can I use instead of red curry paste not spicy?

You may use anchovy paste or mild miso paste for a flavorful umami taste. Additional components like ginger, garlic, and dry spices should be readily available in your home or at your local grocery. Homemade curry paste is perhaps the most realistic and dependable red curry paste replacement.

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 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.

Is there a curry paste that is not spicy?

The mildest curry is yellow curry, which is often prepared with coriander, cumin, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and yellow or red chile. This curry has a deep flavor with sweet and mild ingredients in addition to coconut milk.

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.

What is the difference between curry powder and red curry paste?

Curry paste is a liquid condiment produced from fresh chillies. For cooking, it must be dissolved into a liquid. Curry powder is a dry ingredient that requires the addition of a liquid or oil to activate it. Since it does not include fresh chilies, it will be significantly less hot than a curry paste.

How do you turn curry powder into paste?

Curry paste is just a blend of freshly ground curry powders, ginger, garlic, herbs, and salt. Put everything in a food processor or blender and you’ll have a quick handmade, thick curry paste (in under 10 minutes!).

Is it worth making your own curry paste?

Now, if you haven’t already figured it out, curry paste is one of those flavor-boosting items that’s well worth creating yourself. And it’s not difficult to do.

Is red curry paste the same as Thai 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 chillies, green curry with green chillies, and yellow curry with yellow chillies.

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