A Complete Guide to Thai Red vs. Green Curry

August 10, 2020
IN Thai Cuisine

Take a stroll around Seattle, and you’ll quickly see that there are plenty of Thai restaurants to choose from.

There are about 110 Seattle Thai restaurants to be exact. Each one may put their personal spin on traditional Thai dishes. 

But there are some things you’re going to find on all of their menus: curry.  Not all curry is the same, though, and it helps to understand the subtle differences. 

This guide will help you understand the differences between red vs. green curry. Read on to learn more!

Red vs. Green Curry: How They’re Similar 

Curry is more of a generic term that refers to a type of dish. The exact recipes vary from region to region, depending on the spices that are available.

Common spices that you’ll see in curry are a variety of hot chilies, lemongrass, garlic, shallot, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, coriander, and cilantro. 

If you’re considering dishes from South Thailand, these curries tend to have more coconut milk. Curry dishes from North Thailand tend to have less coconut milk and more broth based. 

Thai Red Curry vs. Green Curry: How They’re Different

While the dish’s spiciness can vary based on the chef, typically, red curry is hotter than green. Red curry tends to be more versatile, while green is more unique in its flavors. 

Green Curry 

This curry gets its distinct color from its ingredients. You’ll taste basil, and coriander. Then green chilies get added because it wouldn’t be complete without chili peppers. 

Other common ingredients added to this fresh-tasting curry are lemongrass, ginger, shallots, and kaffir lime leaves. 

Red Curry 

Traditionally, red curry is made with copious amounts of chilies. This gives it the red color and makes it quite hot.

Modern chefs have tweaked this traditional recipe by reducing the number of chilies in favor of chili powder.

This enhances the red color while also deepening the flavor profile of the curry. You’ll taste coconut milk, garlic, galangal, and shrimp paste in addition to the chili flavors. 

What to Order: Red vs. Green Thai Curry

Ordering a curry dish requires a few more steps than other menu selections.

The first step is to choose red vs. green Thai curry. You’ll then need to choose your meat. Typical offerings include chicken, pork, tofu, beef, prawns, and more vegetables.

You’ll then need to decide just how hot you want your dish to be. Don’t be fooled; green curry can get very hot! 

All curry comes with rice. Some restaurants let you choose white, brown, or to skip the rice altogether. We don’t recommend skipping the rice though—you need something to eat the curry with! 

Try the Best Thai Food

While the red vs. green curry debate will never end, you at least know your answer to which is your preferred flavor.

As you can see, each curry has a distinct flavor profile thanks to the unique and perfectly balanced blend of spices and ingredients. 

Feeling hungry? Order one of these delicious curries for yourself and experience the best Seattle Thai food tonight.

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