Red curry paste can be a key ingredient in many Asian dishes. This paste is very popular in Thai cuisine but you can add it to many other dishes.
You can find red curry paste in local stores or you can make your own at home. However, if you are missing this ingredient from your kitchen, there are also several alternatives you can use to make your recipe taste delicious.
If you want a quick substitute for red curry paste, you can always use standard curry paste or green curry paste. Keep reading to find even more substitutes for a red curry paste!
Best Red Curry Substitutes
The following substitutes can successfully replace red curry paste in any recipe but keep in mind that your dish will taste slightly different too.
1. Curry paste
Curry paste will be your best choice if you want to substitute red curry paste.
It will not add the pungent taste of the red curry paste and will not alter the color of your food with a red tint but it will still give you a delicious result.
Plus, you can find it fairly easily in most grocery stores in the seasoning section at a cheap price.
Curry paste is often used in Indian dishes but you can use it in any type of stir fry, stew, or marinate. If your recipe calls for one tablespoon of red curry paste, you can successfully replace it with one tablespoon of curry paste.
2. Green curry paste
Green curry paste is another good substitute for red curry paste. As you noticed, they are similar in name as they are both curry paste ingredients.
The main difference however is that one is made of red peppers whereas the other one is made of green peppers.
Greed curry paste has a milder taste than red curry paste and green color that will make your food look different.
You can use it in the same ratio and cook your food in the same way.
3. Chilli powder
Chilli powder has one common ingredient with red curry paste and that is chili. It will give your food the spiciness you want but it will not add all the other flavors you can find in red curry paste.
Chilli powder will also slightly color your food red due to its red color.
However, it is important to not add more than a pinch of it. If your dish calls for one tablespoon of red curry powder, you can add a quarter or tablespoon of chili powder.
Chilli powder is much spicier and you don’t want to add too much of it. It also depends on your personal preference as well.
4. Chili paste
Chili paste is as spicy as chili powder only that it comes in a paste form.
Also, you can find chili paste that has a milder taste if you don’t want your food to be extremely spicy. It will color your dish red and it will definitely give it a good taste.
You can’t expect the same flavor as you would get if you use red curry paste. However, use it with caution as it is a lot spicier than red curry paste.
You can use chili paste in sauces, different toppings, marinades, soups, or stews.
5. Tomato paste with chili flakes
Combining tomato paste with chili flakes can offer you great seasoning for many types of foods. You can add half a tablespoon of chili flakes to 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste and mix it well until you obtain a homogeneous paste.
Furthermore, use this paste to season different soups, stews, sauces, or pasta. You can add as much chili as you want to this mix, however, keep in mind that it is going to deliver a different taste than red curry paste.
6. Turmeric with chili paste
Turmeric is another ingredient in red curry paste and other types of curry. Thus, if you have turmeric and chili paste, you can mix them together and use the mix instead of red curry paste.
Mix two tablespoons of turmeric with a quarter tablespoon of chili paste and you can add some water too if you want your mix to be more liquid. Add the same quantity of this mix as you would add your red curry paste and use it as a substitute for it in all recipes.
7. Yellow curry paste
Yellow curry paste is essentially curry paste made with yellow peppers. It is not as spicy as the red curry paste but it can be a good substitute as well. You can use it in the same quantity as red curry paste as well and in the same types of dishes.
If you want to obtain the reddish color that red curry paste gives your food, you can add a tablespoon of tomato paste. If you want more spice, add a pinch of chili flakes to your recipe.
8. Garlic and chili sauce
Garlic and chili sauce or chili paste is a great combination to add to your dishes instead of red curry paste. All you have to do is mix grounded garlic with chili powder, chili paste, or chili sauce.
As far as the quantities go, you can mix these two ingredients in equal parts. Or add more of the ingredient you like. Keep in mind that this is not equal to red curry paste. Thus, you will need to add less of it to your food as the chili will make it spicier.
If your recipe requires one tablespoon of red curry paste, you can add half a tablespoon of this mix. Also, taste your food as you prepare it so you can adjust the seasoning as you like.
9. Garlic and tomato paste
If you mix 2 tablespoons of tomato paste with half a tablespoon of grounded garlic, you will obtain great seasoning for all types of recipes.
The red color offered by the tomato paste will give your food the same red tint as curry paste. This combination can substitute red curry paste in dishes such as stews, stir-fries, sauces, or pasta. Add as much of it as you like according to your personal taste.
10. Curry powder
Curry powder is very popular in Indian dishes. You can use it as an ingredient to different sauces or toppings as well. It is not spicy as the red curry paste but it will provide you the curry taste that you want in your food.
You can always add other spices in your recipe besides curry powder if you want to enrich the flavor. As far as quantity goes, add as much curry powder as you would add red curry and a tablespoon of tomato paste if you want to give your dish the red shade.
Homemade Red Curry Paste Recipe
If you don’t have red curry paste in your kitchen, you might have the ingredients to make it. You will be amazed at how easy it is to prepare this product from scratch.
There is no set-in-stone recipe when it comes to red curry paste. You can mix the ingredients in the amounts that you like according to your personal preference.
The traditional way to make this paste calls for equal amounts for all the ingredients. Mix them until you obtain a homogeneous texture and use it in your recipes as you see fit.
What is red curry paste made of?
Red curry paste comes from a perfect mix of different ingredients that will offer your dish the flavor you expect it to have.
You will need garlic, ginger paste, salt, red chili peppers, turmeric, lemongrass paste, onions, shrimp paste, chili powder, tomato paste, black pepper, sugar, and lime juice.
Even if you don’t have all these ingredients you can still make a delicious red curry paste. For instance, you can replace the lime juice with lemon juice or black pepper with white pepper.
Can I substitute Tom Yum paste for red curry paste?
While you might not want to substitute red curry paste with Tom Yum, it works great the other way around. Tom Yum contains fish sauce but you can use the same amount of red curry paste in your recipe.
The taste you obtain will not be the same since the fish sauce in the Tom Yum paste gives it an intense flavor. Your final dish will still be as good as it can get without the Tom Yum.
As you can see, red curry paste can be replaced with many combos of ingredients that you might have in your kitchen. You can also make it from scratch at home which is a big plus and once you see how easy and convenient it is to make it, you might not need to buy it ever again!