Why You Need Red Curry Paste—And 6 Ways to Use It
Move over Siracha. There’s a new sauce in the kitchen.
While there are many kinds of hot chili sauce available to cook with, nothing beats red curry paste for sheer delightful complexity. The tang of the lemongrass, bite of the ginger and garlic, and of course the heat of the red chiles all melded together give a dish the feeling it's been steeping for hours, even when you're just tossing it together.
Look for red curry paste near other Asian ingredients in most supermarkets. Depending on the brand, heat level will vary from relatively mild to has-quite-a-kick.
You may have picked up a jar of red curry paste to make one of our curry recipes, but think of this blend as more of a go-to fridge staple. Most brands combine lemongrass, chiles, ginger or galangal, shallots, and a few other flavorings—so in one handy product, you get flavors from more than a handful of ingredients. It’s a shortcut to better burgers, soups, stir-fries, grain bowls, and more.
This fresh, bright salsa is slightly spicy from the serrano chile, but not overthe- top. A jalapeño is a good substitute, but taste as you go: Some jalapeños are very mild while others have a lot of heat. Serve the salsa with tortilla chips or over fish or chicken.
View Recipe: Thai Salsa
Red Curry Shrimp Cakes
Cooking these over medium heat is key to getting the shrimp done without burning the exterior.
View Recipe: Red Curry Shrimp Cakes
Embrace this 25-minute curry that also happens to be vegan:
Thighs Be sure to rub the paste under the skin to keep it from sticking or burning.
View Recipe: Curry-Roasted Chicken Thighs
Sweet Potato-and-Red Lentil Curry
This fragrant, Indian-style stew hits all the right notes with aromatic garam masala, fresh ginger, and concentrated red curry paste. The coconut milk mellows and loosens the potato and lentil mixture just enough so that it can be spooned over rice.
View Recipe: Sweet Potato-and-Red Lentil Curry
Almond-Coconut Chicken Satay
We switch up the peanut butter in a classic satay sauce for almond butter and add Thai red curry paste, a powerhouse condiment made up of nearly 14 ingredients including fresh ginger, lemongrass, and chiles. Don’t worry about the extra coconut milk in the can; you’ll use it up in the following recipe. Soaking the skewers for 10 to 20 minutes will keep them from burning on the grill pan. You can also use metal skewers.
View Recipe: Almond-Coconut Chicken Satay
Thai Poached Cod
Mildly spicy Thai red curry paste adds a deliciously aromatic flavor and a gorgeous pink hue to the coconut milk broth. Cooking the bok choy separately while the cod poaches in the curry keeps it bright green and crisp-tender. Change it up with halibut steaks or even a couple pounds of mussels. If you can't find baby bok choy, thinly sliced white or green chard is a great substitute. Serve with a crusty whole-grain baguette or roll to soak up the extra sauce and a crisp glass of Riesling.
View Recipe: Thai Poached Cod