Curry is a broad term for saucy well-spiced dishes with ties to India, Thailand, and many other countries throughout Southeast Asia. Curry starts with a blend of spices, but there’s no exact formula. No two curries are alike! At home, you can use curry paste or curry powder as a shortcut. These ingredients will help you create dishes with complex layered flavors in no time at all.
The difference between curry paste and curry powder
Although both of these ingredients use the word “curry,” they have a different flavor profile and different culinary applications. Curry paste is a wet ingredient made with fresh chilies. It must be dissolved into a liquid during the cooking process. Curry powder is a dry ingredient that must be activated with a liquid or oil. It does not include fresh chilies, so it will be much less spicy than a curry paste. Curry paste is ideal for Thai-style curries. Dry curry powder is better for Indian-style dishes.
Types of curry paste
Curry paste can be green, red, or yellow. The color variation depends on the chilies included in the paste. Green curry is the spiciest of the curry pastes, and traditionally includes a fragrant combination of fresh green chiles, lemongrass and galangal (a relative of ginger).
Can you substitute curry powder for curry paste
The difference in flavor profile and heat level means that it’s not a good idea to substitute curry paste for curry powder. If you’re hoping to cook a traditional Thai or Indian dish, this substitution would throw off the flavors in your final dish.
Curry recipes we love
Chicken & Coconut Curry over Brown Rice
This recipe uses yellow curry paste and coconut milk to create a fragrant mild sauce for chicken and rice.
Thai Green Coconut Curry with Sweet Potato & Jasmine Rice
This dynamic curry gets its vibrant flavor from green curry paste. To balance its heat, we added sautéed sweet potato, collard greens, and cooling coconut milk.
Crispy Curry Chicken with Sautéed Zucchini & Nectarine Rice
This chicken is dusted with a coating of cornstarch and warming vadouvan curry powder to create a flavorful, crispy crust
Curry-Peanut Chicken with Jasmine Rice & Marinated Vegetables
This crispy chicken is blanketed in a rich sauce made with spicy yellow curry paste, smooth peanut butter spread, and creamy mayo.