6 Best Green Curry Paste Substitutes

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Substitutes For Green Curry Paste



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Thai curries are the most popular curries globally. You can find them in Thai restaurants in any region. However, among all the known types of Thai curries, red curry dishes and green curry are the most popular options.

To make a curry dish, one of the base ingredients to buy is a curry paste. Now, the curry paste to buy depends on the type of curry dish you want to make. If you were going to prepare a green curry sauce or dish, you should buy a green curry paste.

But what happens if you can’t find green curry paste? What can you use instead of green curry paste?

Apparently, you have to pick up any of the best green curry paste substitutes, such as red curry paste, yellow curry paste, curry powder, phanaeng curry paste, etc.

What is Green Curry Paste?

Green curry is a very famous Thai dish that is said to have originated in the early 20th century. It’s a type of curry dish that is usually green in color after preparation.

Green curry got its color from green cayenne peppers and its spiciness from the little Thai green chilies. While these peppers might be small, they sure pack serious heat!

In addition, the green curry paste is primarily made from blending different varieties of chilies with some aromatic ingredients. But what is green curry paste made of?

What Is Green Curry Paste Made Of?

Green curry paste is traditionally made from a mixture of different varieties of chilies and ingredients, such as:

  • Green chilies
  • Garlic
  • Shrimp paste
  • Lemongrass
  • Shallots or red onion
  • Peppercorns
  • Cumin seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Makrut limes
  • Fresh basil
  • Coconut milk
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Jalapeños
  • Galangal or ginger
  • Fish sauce
  • Coriander
  • Etc.

Read Also: How To Use Curry Paste Without Coconut Milk

What Can I Use Instead Of Green Curry Paste?

Well, Thai green and red curry pastes can be used in place of each other. While the intensity and flavor profile will not be the same, it’s not in a bad way.

But apart from red curry paste, you can also use other Thai / Malaysian curry pastes to substitute for green curry paste, including yellow curry paste and Massaman curry or laksa.

Best Green Curry Paste Substitutes

There are many curry pastes out there to use as an alternative for green curry paste, but these are the closest ones to choose first.

1. Home Made Green Curry Paste

Green Curry Paste Substitutes

The green curry pastes you’ve been buying from the market or shopping online were made by someone or a company; you can make yours too. Making curry pastes at home is not a tough task, and it doesn’t take much time.

More so, if done properly, homemade curry pastes are tastier, spicier, and more nutritious than the read-made ones you buy locally and online. To make this paste, you need to buy the ingredients from your local market.

The main ingredients for preparing green curry paste include green chilies, onion, shallot, neutral-flavored oil, lemongrass, ginger or galangal, coriander, garlic, and other aromatic spices.

You can browse online for recipes on making green curry paste at home.

2. Yellow Curry Paste

If you’re not bothered about the resulting color of your curry sauce, getting the yellow curry paste can substitute green curry paste in any recipe.

Yellow curry paste is basically used for making Thai’s yellow curry dishes; however, the taste is close to that of green curry dishes; hence, you can use green curry paste and yellow curry pastes interchangeably.

Well, it is important to say that using yellow curry paste will make your sauce appear slightly yellowish even if you add too many green chilies.

Regardless, the paste is as spicy as the green curry paste. The yellow appearance is due to excess turmeric in the blend.

3. Phanaeng Curry Paste

Phanaeng  (popularly called Panang) is one of the popular curries in Thai cuisine. It is a hot curry dish made from mixing the Phanaeng curry paste with other aromatic ingredients. Yes, you can use this as a substitute for green curry paste.

The Phanaeng curry paste is made from blending dried chili peppers, ginger, kaffir, coriander root/seeds, lemongrass, and cumin seeds. Some people may include other ingredients to achieve a specific taste or color.

However, when you use this paste to replace the green curry paste in your recipe, the resulting sauce or dish will look similar to Thai’s red curry. Panang curry paste makes your dish reddish, but it really tastes good.

4. Curry Powder

Yes, curry powder is one of the best ready-made ingredients to use and replace green curry paste in any recipe. Although it doesn’t in any way look like a typical green curry paste, this aromatic ingredient can be used to prepare any kind of meal.

There are different types of curry powders, with each being made from grounding different types of aromatic spices.

More so, curry powders typically have a stronger taste than curry pastes; hence, you should use them in smaller quantities.

Well, there’s no much chili in curry powders, so they’re mild. If you were going to make a hot dish, you need to add more chilies into the sauce after adding the curry powder.

5. Red Curry Paste

Most definitely, you must have heard about red curries – the most sort after Thai curry dish. Red curry dishes are loved by people who prefer spicy, hot dishes. This curry paste is meant for preparing red curries, but it’s safe to use it for green curries.

It is important to note that red curry paste is made by blending several varieties of hot red chilies, along with other spicy ingredients.

If you do not love hot foods, don’t go for this substitute. It’s easy to find this paste in the market, regardless of your location.

6. Indian Vindaloo Curry Paste

The vindaloo dish is a popular Indian cuisine that looks so much like Thai’s red curry, but they are not the same. Interestingly, you can use the paste for making this dish as a substitute for green curry paste.

Vindaloo curry paste can also be made at home if you purchase the base ingredients. It’d add a unique flavor and taste to your meal, and you’d love it. Although an Indian cuisine, Vindaloo dishes are eaten in many countries outside Asia.

Read Also: What Does Green Curry Taste Like?

Frequently Asked Questions

Does green curry have shrimp paste?

Yes, green curry paste has shrimp paste, among other ingredients, such as green chilies, garlic, shallots, galangal, lemongrass, cilantro roots (coriander), and cumin seeds, white peppercorns, kaffir lime leaves, etc.

Should Thai green curry be runny?

Not necessarily! If your curry is runny, it simply means that you used coconut milk with a little percentage of solids, or you didn’t cook the curry long enough.

Why does my Thai green curry split?

Thai curry will split if there’s insufficient mixing of curry paste and coconut solids. This often happens if coconut cream is added wrongly or at the wrong time, and you then cook it incorrectly.

What is the difference between red and green curry paste?

The major difference between green curry vs red curry is the color, which differs due to the varied contents used for curries. Another difference is that green curry paste needs fresh green chilies as a base for its paste, while red curry requires dry red chilies.

What can I use green curry paste for?

There are a few things you can use green curry paste for, including soups, curries, and Stews, which are the most common uses of green curry paste. Green curry paste can also be used for noodles, salad dressing, seafood dishes, etc.

What is served with Thai green curry?

Thai green curries can be served with rice because of its somewhat neutral flavor, which lets you fully enjoy the intricate taste of the curries. Green curries can also be served with sliced bananas, sliced eggs, peanuts, cucumber, pineapple, etc.

What goes with Thai green curry instead of rice?

Aside from rice, a bed of finely shredded lettuce will also go well with Thai green curry.

How spicy is Thai green curry?

Thai green curry is basically very HOT – but you can easily reduce its spiciness/heat by deseeding the chilies when cooking green curry.


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