Cooking 101: Thai Red Curry

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Thai Curry is the perfect food for those who appreciate something spicy! The right curry has a magical way of heating up a dish in a way that leaves you wanting more despite the sweat forming on your brow. These rich dishes are made using various curry pastes made from various chilis, lemongrass, herbs and spices.

Types Of Curry

A completely different animal from Indian curries, there are many different types of Thai curry.

Cooking 101: Green CurryGreen curry is made from green chilis and considered the spiciest.

Cooking 101: Yellow Curry
Yellow curry has a base of turmeric, cumin, yellow mustard seeds, nutmeg, kaffir lime leaves and kaffir lime juice. It is milder than red or green curries with a rich sweet taste.

Learn More About Turmeric

Cooking 101: Panang CurryPanang curry is a variation of red curry that is seasoned to be less spicy with peanuts added for a sweeter flavor.

Cooking 101: Masaman Curry
Masaman curry is a great introduction to curries if you have not had them before for something less spicy. This variation is more comparable to Indian curry made with cardamon, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. By far the sweetest of thai curries.

Cooking 101: Red Curry
And finally, the star of this blog – Red Curry. Though not as spicy as green curry, red curry still packs some heat while maintaining the sweetness that makes thai curry so irresistible. Red chilis are used for the base along with crushed garlic, lemongrass, shallots, ginger and fish paste with coconut milk.


How Its Served

With the exception of masaman, these curries are a thin sauce served in a bowl usually with rice. Curries go great with your favorite protein. They are served with a variety of vegetables including but not limited to eggplant, string beans, bell & other peppers.


What You Need

Cooked in a large skillet with deep sides, the most important part to making a successful curry is using aromatics like onion, ginger and garlic, full-fat coconut milk, rice vinegar and sugar. Perhaps the most crucial ingredient is the curry paste. To make your own would take about 20 minutes, but it requires many ingredients so store bought is definitely a more convenient option!

Interested In Making Your Own? See What Goes Into It Here

While we mentioned the typical vegetables for curry, it is up to you to decide because just about everything tastes better in it! We suggest broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, diced squash or sweet potato, sliced onion, carrot, kale and even (our favorite) snow peas. Vegetables should be easy to pick up with chop sticks, so slicing into 2 inch slices is better than chopping.

We will also give you a quick how to on making the perfect sticky rice to dip in your curry to make an already awesome meal even better.


Getting Started

Just like all awesome culinary creations, you start curry by sauteeing onion over medium heat. Add a sprinkle of salt during the process, then you will be adding ginger and garlic – all the good aromatics we mentioned earlier! Be careful not to burn the garlic, as this can deeply affect your end result. Add your vegetables and cook until everything is fork tender, allowing more time for dense foods that require it like sweet potato (cutting to small bits helps also). Once this is done, add any cooked meats you wish to incorporate, then add in your curry paste. Allow it to cook onto the protein and vegetables for about 2 minutes. Once the curry paste has smelled up your home and set onto your other foods, add coconut milk, water, and a bit of sugar, stirring to combine it all.

Let It Simmer
You are looking to reduce mixture only slightly. Bring your mixture to a gentle simmer and cook until everything in the pot has softened to a point you are happy with, ~8 minutes or so. Stir occasionally until you are ready to remove your pot from the heat and round the corner to the finish line.

Finishing Touches
Season your curry with tamari, rice vinegar, and salt. If you are looking for more punch in your curry, add no more than ½ tsp. Tamari. For more acidity, add ½ tsp. More of rice vinegar. Divide your curry into the bowls of your liking, then garnish with chopped cilantro and some red pepper flakes if it isn’t hot enough for you as-is.


Sticky Rice

Cooking 101: Red Curry Sticky Rice

While regular white rice is a perfectly fine and delicious side to accompany your curry, one fun Thai pleasure everyone is sure to enjoy and appreciate is sticky rice. Sticky rice is what it says in the name – sticky! This makes it much easier to enjoy with chopsticks to dip into your curry. The difference between white rice and sticky rice is in the breed – it is a short grain variety grown in South East Asia. What makes sticky rice sticky is that it only contains one component of starch – amylopectin – while conventional rice has 2. When hot water interacts with the lone amylopectin, starch molecules separate, making the rice soft and sticky.

When purchasing sticky rice, look for “sweet rice” or “glutinous rice”. You will want to prepare your rice before you get started on your curry, since it does take longer than the curry cooking process AND you will need to soak your rice for 30 minutes to soften a tough outer shell. From there, the cooking process is similar to other rice, with the only exception being the addition of salt. Bring it to a boil, turn it down to medium-low for a nice simmer, let sit 10 minutes before using a fork to check it. Stick your fork in an pull the rice to the side – if you still see water, let the rice continue to cook another few minutes. If not, turn off the heat, place the lid on tight and let it steam cook for 8-10 minutes/until you’re ready to eat.


Step By Step Recipe

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June 5, 2017