Massaman Curry Paste Vs Red Curry Paste

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Difference Between Massaman Curry Paste and Red Curry Paste



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Many people know about Thai red curry paste, it is the hottest curry in the world, and it’s pretty tasty. On the other hand, massaman curry is one of the unpopular, tasty curries out there. It is a part of Thai cuisine, but also popular in Malaysia.

Both massaman and red curries typically appear reddish after preparation, which makes people want to know the actual differences and similarities between massaman curry paste vs red curry paste.

Clearly, red curry paste is extremely hot due to the presence of several red chilies used in the recipe(s), while massaman curry paste is mild and sweeter, thanks to the addition of peanuts.

Is Curry Paste Different From Curry Sauce or Soup?

Yes, they are not the same. A curry paste is a base ingredient for preparing a particular type of curry.

For example, red curry paste is used for preparing red curries, green curry paste is used for preparing green curries, massaman curry paste is used for massaman curries, and the list goes on.

A curry paste is usually a mix of base ingredients for making a particular curry dish.

To prepare a curry paste, chilies, onion, lemongrass, and other ingredients are mixed together. Well, you can buy ready-made pastes from grocery stores that sell Thai or Indian recipes.

What is Massaman Curry Paste?

What is Massaman Curry Paste

The massaman curry paste has a unique taste, which is believed to be sweeter than most other popular Thai curries. It is one of the base ingredients for preparing massaman curries.

Well, this curry paste is not essentially different from other Thai curries you may have tasted, but it’s surely a “unique” one. Many people out there have various recipes for making this paste, but the base ingredients remain the same.

To prepare massaman curry, the following ingredients must be included in the recipe: raw peanuts, sliced beef, coconut milk, and soybean oil.

What is Red Curry Paste?

Red curry paste is the basic ingredient for preparing red curry sauces. There are over five (5) different types of red curries, and they are all made using red curry paste. This paste is made from blending several hot peppers with aromatic herbs and spices.

Well, red curry paste is not the only ingredient for making red curries. After the paste is made (or you can prefer to buy from the market), there are other ingredients required for making a red curry dish.

It is called red curry paste because it looks reddish; the strong red color is practically due to the excess red chilies used in the mix. The differences and similarities of this curry paste with massaman are explained below.

Difference Between Massaman Curry Paste and Red Curry Paste

The main difference is “hotness.” Yes, red curry paste distinguishes from other types of pastes due to its extreme hotness. In contrast, massaman curry paste is not hot, it’s mild; however, while preparing the main sauce, you may prefer to add more chilies.

Another difference between these two pastes is the ingredients used. You do not use peanuts for red curry paste, but peanuts are like the major ingredients for making massaman curry paste and sauce.

Similarities Between Red and Massaman Curry Pastes?

Massaman Curry Paste Vs Red Curry Paste

Yes, there are a few similarities between the two; they appear reddish after preparation. However, the red curry paste has a stronger red color, while the massaman paste is typically thicker and not as reddish as the red curry paste.

Can They Be Used Interchangeably?

Sure, you can use these pastes interchangeably. Some massaman curry recipes would instruct you to use ready-made red curry pastes to shorten the time for preparing your massaman dish.

However, since red curry paste is very hot, you have to be careful how you use it in making your massaman dish. The reason why some recipes mention red curry paste is that you could easily find it in stores; massaman pastes are typically scarce.

What’s Better About Red Curry Pastes?

It’s a hot paste – best for people that love hot, spicy sauces or dishes. More so, you can easily find this curry paste in Thai markets or local markets in Southern Asia.

What’s Better About Massaman Curry Pastes?

If you (or your customers/guests) prefer mild, sweet sauces, the massaman curry paste is a better choice. It makes your massaman curry taste better, and it’s not as spicy as the red curry paste.

Massaman Curry Paste vs. Red Curry Paste: Final Thoughts

Everyone has their unique preferences; to some people, hot and spicy foods are just the best, and to some others, mild and tasty meals are the real deal.

Choosing between massaman curry and red curry is all about loving hot/spicy meals or mild and sweeter meals.

Regardless, both are healthy foods, rich in essential nutrients, and good for everyone. Making the red curry paste or massaman paste from scratch takes approximately 17 minutes.

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