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7 Best Red Curry Paste Substitutes

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Let’s say you went out to the market to buy red curry paste, and somehow, you can’t just find it in any store. In such a situation, what are the possible red curry paste substitutes to buy to make your meal?

Uhm, when you can’t find red curry paste, you can actually decide to make another type of curry dish, let’s say green curry or yellow curry. More so, if you wouldn’t mind, you could try other cuisines like massaman curry or Penang curry.

Notwithstanding, there are other curry pastes you could use as red curry paste alternative. These curry pastes are also hot, and some of them are reddish too. The substitutes include Penang curry paste, curry powder, and more.

Best Red Curry Paste Substitutes

1. Homemade Red Curry Paste

Red Curry Paste Substitutes

Yes, when you can’t find red curry paste in the market, or the last one you bought wasn’t as good as expected you can make the paste by yourself.

The base ingredients for making red curry paste include hot red chilies, turmeric (small quantity), lemongrass or lemon zest, ginger, aromatic oil, and garlic cloves.

You will need to mix all these ingredients to achieve red curry paste. Some people use mortar to pound the ingredients, and some other use food processors. Either way, the goal is to mix everything together.

You can also lookup the internet for recipes on homemade red curry paste. If prepared well, homemade pastes are much better and tastier than the ready-made options found in stores and supermarkets.

2. Penang Curry Paste

Preparing a homemade curry paste would cost you more time; if you’re not willing to spend much time doing that, then you can buy Penang curry paste. If Penang curry paste is available in your local market, it’s a nice substitute for red curry paste.

Both red curry paste and Penang curry paste are red in color. So, if you use the Penang paste to cook your curry dish, it’d look so much similar to red curry, but won’t be as hot as a typical red curry made with the original red curry paste.

Well, Penang curry paste is even tastier than red curry paste because it contains coconut milk and raw peanuts as base ingredients. If you haven’t tasted a Penang dish before, this could be a good time to try it out.

3. Curry Powder

If you’re not so concerned about your curry dish appearing in one color (in this case, Red), then you can use curry powder to substitute red curry paste in your recipe.

Curry powder is a spicy ingredient gotten from grinding pretty many spicy ingredients.

Curry powder has a stronger “curry” taste to boost your curry dish, but it doesn’t add the same flavor red curry paste adds to meals.

Well, this can come in as a substitute if you’re making a dish that requires adding small red curry paste, let’s say 1 or 2 tbsps.  You can easily find curry powder; it is rampant.

4. Massaman Curry Paste

Here’s another close substitute for red curry paste. Until you taste a meal made with this curry paste, you can’t easily distinguish it from the red curry paste.

The massaman curry paste is almost as reddish as red curry paste; however, it’s not so hot!

Mere looking at the paste, you’d think it’s the red curry paste. Well, this curry paste is made with almost the same set of ingredients used for red curry paste, which includes red chilies, garlic, lemongrass, and others.

However, the number of chilies added to the massaman paste is not as many as the recommended number for red curry pastes. Mainly, it is the hotness level that differentiates the massaman paste and the actual red curry paste.

5. Madras Curry Paste

How about shifting to Indian cuisines? There are a few Indian curry pastes that look so much like Thai red curry pastes. The Madras curry paste is a perfect example.

This curry paste is used for preparing madras curries and sauces, which typically appear heavily spiced as Thai’s red curry dishes.

Madras curry paste is fairly hot and made with several varieties of red chilies. In Indian, dishes made with this curry paste are accompanied by Raita.

It adds a sweet taste to curry dishes and would make your meal appear like it’s actually made with red curry paste.

6. Vindaloo Curry Paste

This is another popular Indian curry paste. The vindaloo curry paste is used for preparing vindaloo sauces, which typically appears reddish, or slightly yellowish.

It is a distinctive curry paste made by blending the following ingredients, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, and red chili peppers.

The presence of red and black chili peppers makes the vindaloo paste much spicy, very close to the spiciness of red curry pastes.

However, the vindaloo curry paste and red curry paste do not deliver the same flavor and taste. Regardless, this paste can still serve as a substitute for red curry pastes.

7. Green Curry Paste

If you’d love to stick with Thai cuisine, then you should consider other Thai curry pastes such as green curry paste.

Of course, it is important to note that using this curry paste would change the color of your dish to green.

Also, the taste of green curry paste and red curry paste is not the same, but they are relatively spicy and hot. Green curry paste is made from green chilies, lemongrass, garlic, and other aromatic ingredients used for red curry pastes.

What Happens When You Substitute Red Curry Paste in a Recipe?

If you’re used to making curry dishes with red curry paste and then decide to switch to an alternative (for whatever reason), one of the things you’d notice is a significant difference in the level of hotness of your dish(es).

Many people that use red curry paste are doing so because of the high concentration of red-hot chilies, which boosts the spiciness of their meals. However, these red curry paste substitutes are pretty tastier and sweeter, you’d love them too.

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