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What is the difference between green red and yellow curry paste?

What is the difference between green red and yellow curry paste / Image by stux from Pixabay
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What is the difference between green red and yellow curry paste?: The most important differences in Thai Curry PastesCurry Pastes give Thai Curries their typical and unique taste!

The curry pastes prepared with herbs and spices give the Thai cuisine its unique character. In contrast to Indian curry powder, in Thai cuisine, fresh herbs and spices are crushed in a mortar to form a paste

This paste is then getting used for curries in combination with coconut milk. Thus, each curry paste offers a unique taste experience, which all have one thing in common: an incredible variety of flavors.

All curry pastes at a glance can be found here!

With the different curry pastes, you can easily get mixed up. Especially if the Thai cuisine is still new territory for you and you want to taste it first. We want to give you a small and precise list of curry pastes and the most important facts about them.


What is the difference between green red and yellow curry paste?

What is the difference between green red and yellow curry paste
What is the difference between green red and yellow curry paste?

Both red and green curry paste is part of the classic Thai cuisine. Although the yellow curry paste is not originally part of this tradition, it is now getting offered in most Asian supermarkets and Thai restaurants.

The curry pastes differ primarily in their degree of sharpness. Red is the sharpest and green not the softestyellow the mildest variant.

Let’s look at the different types of curry paste here.

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Green Curry Paste

The green curry paste is not the softest variant, as many assume, but the sharpest. It consists of up to 50 percent fresh green Thai chili peppers, which are extremely hot. Besides, it usually contains garlicshallotsgalangal like Thai gingerroasted coriander seedscoriander rootgrated lime peellemongrass and shrimp paste.


Recipe for Green Curry Paste homemade for Thai Curry.

One glass of approx. 250 ml is sufficient for approx—2-3 curries á 2-4 portions.



  • Four green chilies large, fresh
  • Four green chilies small, fresh
  • One – two shallots
  • Three cloves of garlic
  • One piece of galangal approx. 2 x 2 x 2 cm
  • One stalk of lemongrass
  • Two tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • One tsp cumin, ground
  • One tsp turmeric, ground
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 Kaffir lemon or one tablespoon lime juice
  • One tsp shrimp paste (alternatively: 1 tsp fish sauce)
  • for blender: 3 tablespoons of oil


Cut off the stalk of all chilies. Cut the chilies open, remove the seeds and white skin and cut into medium-sized cubes. Peel the shallots and garlic cloves and cut into large cubes. Peel and chop the galangal or ginger. Cut the lemongrass into elegant rings.

Make green curry paste with the blender:
Put the chili, shallots, and garlic cubes together with the galangal, the lemongrass rings, ground coriander, and cumin turmeric, lime juice, shrimp paste or fish sauce into the container of the blender. Pour the oil over it and puree everything finely with the mixer.

Making the paste in the mortar:
Place all the ingredients in the mortar in portions and crush them into a fine paste.



Red Curry Paste

Somewhat milder, but still quite hot, is the red curry paste. It also consists of shallotsgarlicgalangal rootcoriander rootlemongrass, and shrimp paste. Also, roasted cumin seeds and green peppercorns are usually getting added. The red color comes from dried red chilies.


Red curry paste recipe for one small glass


  • Ten red chilies
  • Two shallots
  • Four cloves of garlic
  • 40 g ginger
  • Two Kaffir leaves
  • Two sticks of lemongrass
  • Two teaspoons coriander seeds (20 g)
  • One teaspoon cumin seed (10 g)
  • One level teaspoon turmeric
  • Two tablespoons peanut oil


Finely chop the chilies. Peel the shallots, garlic, and ginger finely and cut into beautiful cubes. Coarsely chop the kaffir leaves. Extract the hard outer leaves from the lemongrass and chop the soft, lower part finely. Put the prepared ingredients with the spices and the oil in a mortar and work into a fine paste. For small mortars, work in batches. Process the red curry paste immediately or store in glasses.

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Yellow Curry Paste

Yellow curry paste is mild and creamy. It is also called Kaeng Kari and consists of dried Thai chilies, which are not as hot as the pods used for the green paste. It also contains coriander seedscumin seedslemongrassgarliccinnamoncloves – and turmeric, which gives the paste its yellow color

Curry pastes can be bought ready-mixed, but can also be getting prepared by self. To do this, place the ingredients and spices in a mortar and crush them into a thick cream with a pestle.

In addition to the curry pastes specified above, the Thai kitchen also offers the Masaman and Panaeng curry pastes


Yellow curry paste recipe

Yellow curry paste is the mildest version of the curry pastes. It goes particularly well with chicken or fish.


  • Four stems of lemongrass
  • 120 g galangal or ginger
  • Eight shallots
  • Eight garlic cloves
  • 12 Kaffir lime leaves
  • Ten cardamom capsules
  • Two teaspoons cumin seed
  • Two tablespoons coriander seeds
  • One tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 – 6 dried red chilies (depending on taste)
  • One tablespoon ground turmeric
  • Four tablespoons brown sugar
  • Four tablespoons lime juice
  • One tablespoon of salt
  • ½ TL Cinnamon powder


Clean the lemongrass, removing the hard lower part and hard outer leaves. Cut the softcore into small pieces. Peel the galanga or ginger, shallots, and garlic and dice them coarsely. Wash lime leaves, dab dry, and cut into strips. Slit open cardamom capsules with a sharp knife and remove the seeds. Roast the cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds in a small pan without fat until the seeds start to smell. Puree all prepared ingredients with chilies, turmeric, sugar, lime juice, salt, and cinnamon in a blender to a fine paste. Pour into a clean twist-off glass and refrigerate until used.

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Panaeng Curry Paste

The Panaeng curry paste is somewhat milder than the red variant and, like the yellow paste, consists of dried Thai chiliesgarlic, and shallots. It also contains pureed galangal rootgrated lime zestcoriander rootsgreen peppercornsshrimp paste, and salt.


Massaman Curry Paste

The Massaman curry paste comes from the south of Thailand and can be getting translated as Muslim curry. It is quite hot and consists of dried Thai chilies as in the yellow variantcumin and coriander seedsgalangal rootgarlicshallotsshrimp pastelemongrassclovesgreen peppercorns, and salt.


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Hot Madras and Hotter Vindaloo Curry Paste

Other curry pastes come from India, for example, the hot Madras or even hotter Vindaloo curry paste. In addition to chili peppers, they often contain mustard seedscoriander and cumin seedspeppercornsgarlic, and ginger, or tamarind and turmeric.



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