You are here on our site so we’re going to assume you like Thai food, and maybe love Thai curry! But do you know what the different colours mean? Or why they are different colours? Curry is curry, right? Well, no, in a word!
Traditionally, all Thai curries were made with the same ingredients except for one thing: the chillies. Red curry was made with several red chillies for a fiery hot dish, while green curry was made with green chillies, and yellow curry was made with yellow chillies.
In Thailand, these chillies have a slightly different taste as well as differing in colour. As the dishes developed over time, new things were added to the dishes to enhance the differences to make them a bit more distinct. While all three can be super spicy, usually red is hot hot hot and green is milder, with yellow in between.
The most popular of the bunch, Thai Green Curry has got even greener over the years with the addition of ingredients like basil, coriander and kaffir leaf. These ingredients mixed up with the green chillies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass and shrimp paste give the intense and fragrant flavour you always associate with Thai cuisine – mmm.
Red Curry hasn’t developed as much as Green Curry – it’s all about those red chillies. Sometimes as many as 20 fresh red chillies will be pounded into the paste for that tongue heating sensation. Sometimes chefs will swap some out for chilli powder for a deeper red colour, but always expect heat when you pick red!
This curry paste is a common base for lots of other Thai dishes too, often used with coconut milk to get the flavour but sooth the fire!
As well as yellow chillies, turmeric is an important ingredient in Thai Yellow Curry. Some Thai Yellow Curries look like Indian curries, but the taste is always very distinctly different because of the different herbs and spices used. As a milder sauce, you’ll often find it being served with fish or chicken. It’s especially delicious in a fish stew.