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9 Dishes You Can Make with Thai Red Curry Paste

When it comes to Thai cuisine, there are few ingredients as sought after as red curry paste. It’s highly versatile and tantalizing, spicy and complex. It serves as the added kick you need to jump out and take center stage, or it can play a supporting role, providing a smoldering undercurrent that keeps things interesting.

Below, we’ve gathered 9 of the most delicious recipes with Thai red curry paste. Each gives you a different take on this mouthwatering ingredient.

Table of Contents


1. Traditional “roasted duck red curry”

We begin by appreciating a time-honored, classic red curry that melds the richness of succulent duck with a spicy red curry paste infused with coconut milk. Here, your Thai red curry paste is going to do exactly what you expect it to — add a bold flavor profile that balances out with creamy coconut to create a delectable combination. It makes for a great delivery for the roasted duck.

The sweetness of the pineapple and cherry tomatoes will offer up still more excitement, leading to that rich mixture of flavors that Thai food is so well known for. Spicy, sweet, and savory all coalesce in the thick base of coconut, which is strong enough to hold everything together.

thai fishcake

2. Thai fish cakes

These are a great, greasy option that is perfect in potluck situations or for entertaining. The patties you create with the grouper fish meat give you a convenient way to serve the food, and thanks to the Thai red curry paste, they’ll deliver a lot more than your typical fried fare. In fact, these offer a bold alternative to the typical fritter.

Thai fish cakes are positively addictive. And despite their interesting flavor, they are actually fairly simple to throw together — as long as you have your ingredients on hand.

thai hor mok

3. Haw mok (steamed fish curry)

Haw mok brings together the delicate flavors of the sea with the distinct aromatic Thai curry spices in a unique culinary presentation. Traditionally, haw mok is served in a banana leaf that is folded to form the bowl. This recipe will teach you how to do that, which will take your Thai cooking game to an entirely new level. It’s a presentation that people won’t forget.

Thanks to the Thai red curry paste, the creamy blended haw mok takes on a fiery flavor profile, which never fails to make a strong impression.

thai jungle curry

4. Chicken “jungle curry”

Chicken jungle curry, or “gaeng pa gai,” skips the coconut milk but escalates in flavor with a unique combination of herbs characteristic of Thailand’s forested regions. Don’t let this recipe’s simplicity fool you; the end result is a delightful curry that will make everyone happy. Thanks to the chicken meat and plenty of eggplant, the dish is palatable to a wide range of eaters — even picky ones.

Again, the Thai red curry paste comes around to give everything a hint of drama and a burn that keeps things interesting. It works as a stand-in for other forms of “jungle curry,” giving what many people consider a better flavor.

5. Pork “pad prik khing”

This is a quick and easy Thai style stir-fry using red curry paste. Thanks to its lack of coconut milk, pad prik khing is known for being drier than other curry dishes. In Thailand, you’ll often find people making it with red curry paste, rather than the prik khing curry paste that the dish is named after. Confusing, but once you taste it, you’ll be making this a regular part of your recipe rotation!

In this version, pork gives everything a mild center to layer flavor over, which is the perfect choice for a base. The drier consistency means the flavor can become a lot more spicy, so having a relatively bland meat to soak it all in makes for a wonderful meal.

6. Stir-fried crispy catfish

A little less flaky and not quite as “fishy” as some other options, catfish has become a favorite protein worldwide. Its fairly mild flavor makes it a good base to layer on red curry paste, along with wild ginger and fresh peppercorn to create a little dazzle.

It’s also a surprisingly straightforward recipe, so you should consider it if you want something simple or would like a dish you can innovate with. You have plenty of places you can go using this as your starting point.

7. Red curry marinated fried chicken

It doesn’t really get much better than fried chicken — except for fried chicken with Thai red curry paste (“gai tod prik gaeng”). This will no doubt wind up a family favorite, so make sure you are ready for everyone to be begging for seconds.

The red curry paste is the strong note you can rely on for big flavor. Other than that, this one does not get too fancy, which is the sign of a good fried chicken recipe. One additional trick you can try is mixing a small amount of baking soda in with the flour to promote a crunchier texture.

8. Red curry fried rice

Thai fried rice dishes have become beloved the world over. They are the ultimate comfort food, and this dish gives you a version that preserves everything we love about fried rice while giving it a new twist with red curry.

If you want to meal prep but are looking for something that will stay interesting for multiple meals a week, this might be your best option. It has a lot of Thai character, and it provides you a great mix of wholesome ingredients, too.

choochee curry thai food

9. Choo chee curry with mackerel

With choo chee curry, you’ll be going a little thicker and sweeter than you might be used to. The fish is generously coated in a thick, red curry sauce made with coconut milk, which produces an irresistibly creamy texture. Kaffir lime leaves, alongside the brightness of sweet basil, pierce through the richness, infusing the dish with a refreshing citrus note.

That will add a ton of needed mouthfeel to the mackerel, which delivers a wonderfully fresh fish taste. Those two features are the heart and soul of the recipe. You’ll be relying on the red curry paste to sharpen everything up. It’s an important role to play, keeping things bright and flavorful.