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People usually buy Thai curry paste just to make a curry, but in Thailand curry paste is one of those versatile ingredients that you can use to create all sorts of delicious dishes. Here are five ideas for how to use curry paste in your cooking.
You can simply use curry paste as a mixture in any ground meats recipe, from meatballs, meatloaf, or burger patty or sausage. The paste will enhance the flavor and aroma of the dishes. You can choose any kind of curry paste, red, green, yellow, Massaman or Panang, as your own choice.
An example of local Thai food that use curry paste as a ground meat mixture is ‘Sai Oua’ a Northern style pork sausage which is very savory and one of the most popular sausages in Thailand. The pork is mixed with an aromatic curry paste and herbs, cooked by a charcoal grill and then served with steamed sticky rice. Thai fish cake (Tod Mun Pla) is another good example of mixing curry paste with ground fish meat then deep frying it and serve with sweet chili dipping sauce.
For a fusion idea, try our Panang Burger recipe which use Panang curry paste to make beef burger patties and you will fall in love with it.
The blending of several herbs and spices gives curry paste a rich taste and aroma and makes it a perfect sauce for stir-fried dishes. You can start by pan-frying curry paste with vegetable oil (a spoonful should be enough) and simply add chicken, pork or beef (chopped or slice is fine) and any vegetable of your choice to the mixture, season it with fish sauce or soy sauce and a little bit of sugar. Then you will get a quick, but tasty dinner.
For a more complex taste, add some coconut milk when you fry the paste to make a thick sauce then put any meats or vegetables to cook with the mixture. You will get a creamier and tastier stir-fried creation in a short time. There are many ways to create stir-fried dishes with curry paste, and it can go well with most types of meats either poultry, beef, pork, seafood, or tofu for alternative. You can also choose a variety of vegetables to cook with curry stir-fries, but some popular choices are long beans, green peas, cauliflower, carrots, holy basils, baby corns, broccolis, eggplants, or potatoes. Try and be creative as much as you want, some locals use pineapples in their curry stir-fry to make the meat tender and add sweet savory taste to the dish, and the result is very satisfying.
Some local recipes to inspire you are Bu Pad Pong Garee (Stir-fried Crab Meat in Yellow Curry), Gai Pad Phrik Geang Tua Phak Yao (Chicken Red Curry Stir-Fry with Long Green Beans), Khao Pad Geang Gai (Chicken Curry Fried Rice). Or you can try our Tofu Green Curry Fried Rice recipe which is very easy, flavorful, and healthy too.
You can use curry paste to mix with eggs and get a lot of tasty creations from it. A plain omelet can be spiced up with a spoon full of curry paste. Or you can add some coconut cream to make the mixture thicker and creamier. Thai people like to use red curry paste, eggs and coconut cream mixed with tender fish or seafood and cook by steaming it, then you will get a yummy custard/pudding-like dish called ‘Hor Mok’ or Steamed Red Curry Custard. You can adapt this idea for western food like quiche or tart as well.
Want some curry ideas for your dinner tonight? Try our Thai Hor Mok recipe made from salmon, coconut milk, eggs and curry, simple to make but amazingly delicious.
Thais use curry paste in a marinade or as a rub for chicken, pork, fish, beef as well as seafood. Even before you cook curries, you can use the paste to marinade meat, it will make the meat tender and juicer when cooked. You can also use the curry paste for oven-baked, grilled dishes or skewers.
To make an easy marinade, adding a little warm water or coconut cream to deglaze the paste and mix them to be a thick sauce before tossing or rubbing it over the meat. Let the meat marinate overnight or for at least 30 minutes. A famous Thai Satay skewer is also used yellow curry or Satay curry paste to marinade and flavor chicken or pork. Also, Satay cannot be complete without a peanut sauce with curry paste as a base ingredient. Learn how to make easy Thai Chicken Satay here.
As we mention above, curry paste can be used as a dipping sauce for pork or chicken satay. The locals use red and Massaman curry paste mixed with coconut milk, palm sugar, tamarind juice and ground roasted peanuts (or you can use pure peanut butter) to create tasty and creamy satay peanut sauce. A popular Northern Thai chili dips called ‘Nam Phrik Ong’ is also made with minced pork, red curry paste, and tomatoes. Its taste is savory and not spicy at all. The dip is commonly served with boiled or raw vegetables and ‘Khaep Mu’ (Pork Cracklings). Some Northern Thai restaurants that serve western or Italian food offer a fusion dish called Spaghetti Nam Phrik Ong, which is similar to Spaghetti Bolognese with a more local taste.
For alternative ideas, you can also make a salad dressing by mixing curry paste with vinegar or yogurt. Or what about combine a delicious Massaman curry with a classic Italian favorite like pizza? Try our Pizza Massaman recipe which is very easy to make, but the taste is hard to forget.
These are just some examples of how you can use Thai curry paste besides making a curry and there are many more ways to create some interesting dishes. Some people even mix a red curry paste in a drink, like a Bloody Mary cocktail. So, if you try thinking outside the box, maybe you will find a new favorite dish or create your own specialty.