What is the difference between green and red Thai curry paste?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “What is the difference between green and red Thai curry paste?”, and tell you whether red curry paste is the same as gochujang or not. 

What is the difference between green and red Thai curry paste?

The main difference between green and red Thai curry paste is that green Thai curry paste is made by using green chilies while red Thai curry paste is made by using red chilies.

This is also the reason why these two curries have different colors. Green Thai curry has fresh ingredients like cilantro in it which further give it a vibrant green color. Red curry paste has ingredients like paprika, cayenne or sometimes even tomato puree or paste.

Thai green curry paste has a more fresh aroma from all the fresh herbs used in making it. As far as the spice level goes, red curry paste is said to be more spicy. Green curry paste is also not mild, just not as hot as red curry paste.

What does Thai green curry sauce taste like?

Thai green curry sauce tastes spicy but not too spicy and it has a fresh, earthy flavor from the coriander, fresh basil and lemongrass. Some people also say that it is a bit sweet.

The spiciness from green chilies, freshness from abundant aromatics and cilantro, paired with richness from coconut milk make it a very popular dish.

Is red curry paste the same as Gochujang?

No, red curry paste is not the same as Gochujang. Gochujang is basically just Korean chili paste. 

Red curry paste has a lot of other ingredients added to it other than red chili peppers such as cumin, coriander, fenugreek, etc. These other ingredients are what give the curry paste its unique flavor. This is also why different types of curry pastes taste different and also have different colors.

Gochujang on the other hand is just made with mainly red chili peppers.

Gochujang is used widely in a lot of dishes to make the food more spicy. Depending on one’s own preference, they can add as much or as little Gochujang as they like. It is added as an ingredient. On the contrary, curry paste is used with a lot of different meats and vegetables. The star of the dish is the curry paste rather than an ingredient. 

Can I substitute Gochujang for red curry paste?

Yes, you can substitute Gochujang for red curry paste given that your recipe requires only ‘red’ curry paste. This is because red curry paste contains primarily red chillies. The only requirement for substituting Gochujang for red curry paste is that you have all the other ingredients like ginger, garlic, turmeric, sea salt, fish sauce, lemongrass, basil, and sesame seeds.

You need to add all of these ingredients to Gochujang in order to make your curry taste similar to an authentic red curry. 

However, for other Thai curries such as yellow or green thai curry, you can not use Gochujang as a substitute for curry paste as they have different flavor profiles. Their main ingredients are not red chili peppers. You can add Gochujang to add heat to these curries, but it can not be used as a substitute. 

How much curry paste do I use?

You should use 2 tablespoons of curry paste for one batch of curry if it’s too strong. You should use ¼ cup of curry paste for one batch of curry if the curry paste is too mild.

There are many different brands of curry paste available at the grocery store and they all differ in their flavor and heat. On the other hand, homemade curry paste will be different from store bought curry paste.

For example yellow curry paste is mild with more turmeric like flavor while red curry paste is very hot due to the red chilies. So the amount of curry paste you should use depends on which kind of curry paste you are using and how much heat you can handle.

If you are using red curry paste, do not add a lot of it if you can not handle the spiciness and vice versa.

Learn more about curry paste here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “What is the difference between green and red Thai curry paste?”, and told you whether red curry paste is the same as gochujang or not. 

Citations

https://www.desiam.com/blogs/news/red-or-green-thai-curry-paste#:~:text=Green%20vs%20Red%20color,paste%20requires%20fresh%20green%20chillies.
https://everythingwhat.com/is-red-chili-paste-the-same-as-red-curry-paste

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.