The two Thai delights which will be our subject leaders are things that we often get confused with regard to Asian cooking. On that note, here’s all you need to know about Thai red chili paste vs red curry paste.

The key difference between Thai red chili paste and red curry paste comes down to their ingredients. Red curry paste typically contains more spices like galangal, coriander, cumin, etc. Meanwhile, Thai red chili paste usually has only two main spices. Accordingly, their flavor profile, texture, color, and usage in cooking vary.

So, keep reading to learn more about how these two popular Thai cooking ingredients differ from each other.

Thai Red Chili Paste vs Red Curry Paste

Thai red chili pasteRed curry paste
Base ingredientThai red chilies (roasted)Thai red chilies (fresh)
Other ingredientsGarlic
Shallots
Sugar (palm sugar/ coconut sugar/ brown sugar)
Tamarind
Shrimp paste/ anchovy paste
Fish sauce
Dried shrimps
Salt
Oil (vegetable oil/ soybean oil)

It may also contain:

Vinegar
Nuts
Garlic
Galangal/ ginger
Lemongrass
Coriander root (cilantro root)
Ground coriander seeds
Ground cumin seeds
White pepper/black pepper
Shallots
kaffir lime peel
Shrimp paste
Salt
Fish sauce/ soy sauce (in some recipes)
Base flavorSpicy and warmSpicy and warm
Flavor profileLess piquant than the red curry paste with mildly hot, smokey, warm, savory, and slightly sweet-sour hints.Bolder, richer and more piquant than the Thai red chili paste with a slightly hot, warm, and strong “curry” undertone.
TextureChunkier than the red curry pasteSmoother than the Thai red chili paste
ColorIt has a deep red colorReddish-orange
Mode of usage in cookingAs a condiment and a cooking ingredientMainly as a cooking ingredient
Uses in cookingCan be incorporated into stir-fries, soups, and stews
It is great with crackers, toast, Roti, pita chips, fresh bread, etc.
Can be mixed into noodles or rice dishes.
As a flavor booster for sauces, gravies, and dips.
Can be brushed on grilled fish, meat, other seafood, or tofu.
Works best as a base for coconut milk-based curries, soups, stews, or broths.
It can be mixed into egg, meat, or fish dishes.
To be used as a flavor enhancer in marinades and wet rubs.
To be incorporated into sandwich or wrap spreads.
In rice, pasta, noodles, and spaghetti dishes
Mode of productionMade commercially and domesticallyMade commercially and domestically
OriginThai cuisineThai cuisine
AvailabilityAvailable under many brand names in different sizes.
Can be bought from leading supermarkets, online shopping sites, and especially from Asian grocery stores.
Available under many brand names in different sizes.
Can be bought from leading supermarkets, online shopping sites, and especially from Asian grocery stores.
StorageBest stored in an air-tight glass container
Refrigeration is not essential but can be kept for up to six months when kept in the fridge.
It should be stored in a well-fitting container/jar.
Can be kept in a cool, dry place in the pantry, refrigerated, or frozen in sealable freezer bags.
Thai Red Chili Paste vs Red Curry Paste – SpiceRally

More About The Difference Between Thai Red Chili Paste And Red Curry Paste

The names of these two ingredients differ by a matter of one word- “chili” and “curry”. And these two different words are certainly used for a reason! As you see, red curry paste and Thai red chili paste have a significant difference in terms of their flavor profiles. 

Thai Red Chili Paste vs Red Curry Paste - SpiceRally

Typically Thai red chili paste calls for roasted chilies, while the red curry paste is often made with fresh red chilies. Consequently, red chili paste gets its unique smoky warmth, and red curry paste holds a more “curry” note since it is blended with additional spices.

Moreover, Thai red chili paste comes with the privilege of enjoying it as a condiment and an ingredient. But, red curry paste is usually called for dishes that require cooking. The chili paste is good to go as a side condiment with fried rice, bread, toast, crackers, etc., while the curry paste is a great flavor booster to coconut milk-based curries and works wonderfully as a base for soups or stews.

So, if you need to learn more about the best possibilities to use when you don’t have red chili paste around, click on this link and refer to this article since we have shared the 05 best substitutes!

However, despite their differences, red curry paste can still be a good substitute for Thai red chili paste and vice versa. In fact, red curry paste can be used as an ingredient alternative for the dishes that originally called for red chili paste.

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