Despite the fact that both these mixtures have the word “curry” in them, that doesn’t mean they are the same. Hence, we thought of sharing a detailed feature that will explain and clear out all your doubts about curry powder vs curry pastes.

In this episode, we will be focusing on comparing Thai curry pastes (Thai red/yellow/green curry pastes) to curry powder. Most importantly, the flavor profiles and heat levels between the two are significantly different. And this change basically occurs from the base ingredients used in them. In addition, curry pastes are typically wet and moist, while curry powder is literally a “powder” that is dry and easily dispersible.

So, there is more information that we need to share with you regarding these two flavor enhancers. Just scroll down to continue reading.

Curry Powder vs Curry Pastes- Difference Explained.

Curry Powder vs Curry Pastes - SpiceRally
Curry PowderCurry Pastes (Thai red/green/yellow curry pastes)
Base IngredientsTurmericRed curry paste – Red chilies
Green curry paste – Green chilies
Yellow curry paste – Turmeric / spices
Other IngredientsTurmeric
Coriander seeds
Black pepper
Red chilies (Kashmiri red chilies/ cayenne pepper/paprika)
Fenugreek
Cumin seeds
Garlic
Cinnamon
Mustard seeds
Ginger
Cloves

Some varieties might also contain:
Allspice
Curry leave
Nutmeg
Fennel seeds
Bay leaves
Cardamoms
Red curry paste –
Coriander seeds
Coriander root
Cumin
Garlic
Galangal/ginger
White pepper/ black pepper
Shallots
 Kaffir lime peel
 Lemongrass
Salt
Shrimp paste

Green curry paste –
Coriander seeds
Coriander root
Cumin
Garlic
Galangal/ginger
White pepper/ black pepper
Shallots
Kaffir lime peel
Lemongrass
Salt
Shrimp paste
Thai basil leaves, coriander leaves, Turmeric (optional)

Yellow curry paste-
Dried red/ yellow chilies
Curry powder
Coriander seeds
Cumin
Garlic
Galangal/ginger
White pepper/ black pepper
Shallots
Kaffir lime peel
Lemongrass
Salt
Shrimp paste
Fenugreek seeds, cardamom, mace, cinnamon, cloves (optional)
Base FlavorSpicy and savoryHot and savory
Flavor ProfileLess flavorful, spicy, and way milder than curry pastes with earthy, delicately warm, and savory notes.Intensely flavored and spicier than curry powder with bold, warm, tangy, and umami flavor notes.
Heal LevelLess hot than curry pastesHotter than curry powder
TextureA dry spice powder.Basically, a paste that is wet and moist.
ColorYellowish in colorRed curry paste – Reddish-orange
Green curry paste – Light to dark green
Yellow curry paste – Golden-yellowish
Mode of usage in cookingUsed as an ingredient during the cooking process (Never tempered with hot oil. Generally included in dishes that require slow cooking/ a longer cooking period)As a cooking ingredient (Usually tempered in hot oil before incorporating with other elements in the recipe)
Usages in cooking– With meat, egg, other seafood dishes, and eggs
– To make many Indian-inspired curries
– With salads and chutneys
– To blend into the fillings of fried food/snacks.
– With savory rice dishes
– To use as a dry rub and an ingredient in wet rubs or marinades
– As a base for soups
– To be incorporated in dipping sauces
– To mix with noodles, rice, pasta, and spaghetti
– With meat, fish, eggs, and other seafood
– To blend in with salad dressings
– To make fusion dishes
OriginWestern cuisine (This is known to be an Indian-inspired British creation)Thai cuisine
Availability– Usually comes in containers and packets.
– Readily available in local grocery stores, Asian grocery stores, supermarkets, and online sellers.
– Typically comes in containers/tubs
– Widely available in supermarkets, Asian grocery stores, and online shopping sites.
Storage– Keep in a dark, cool, dry place stored in an air-tight glass container.
– Can be kept with other spices in your spice rack.
– Once opened, curry pastes should be stored in a cold place with mild temperature and low humidity in a tight-fitting glass container.
– Can be ideally stored in the refrigerator.
Curry Powder vs Curry Pastes – SpiceRally

If you adore a richly flavored, well-balanced, and vibrant dish, we believe both curry powder and curry pastes would be excellent choices. Thanks to several versatile ingredients, they have their own way of adding the unique “curry” flavor and quality to whatever the recipe they are called for.

On your way to discovering how curry powder differs from curry pastes, you might not want to miss the article that we have shared about the differences between Garam Masala and curry powder. Click here!

However, as mentioned previously, due to the base ingredients, curry powder is typically milder and less hotter than curry pastes. While their textures are visibly different, they also have diverse cooking purposes.

Moreover, curry powder is usually a pure combination of spices and sometimes herbs. Therefore, it is generally considered safe for consumption by vegans. While on the contrary, curry pastes often contain animal traces like shrimp paste or anchovy paste. Hence, vegans should be cautious when including curry pastes in their diet.

The Flavorful Conclusion Of Curry Powder vs Curry Pastes

Both curry pastes and curry powder are perfect if you want a pure punch of savoriness and an Asian kick to your regular meals. However, just because they both have similar names, they are not at all the same. Starting from the texture, they have significant differences in flavor, heat level, usage in cooking, etc.

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