Most of us who live in Thailand enjoy Thai food with the different types of Thai curry being one of the most popular dishes. Most Thais will make the curries from scratch using raw ingredients which can be purchased at markets and supermarkets. However, if you want to cheat, you can, of course, you can buy pre-packaged varieties or go to a restaurant!
Almost all Thai curries include chilli, garlic and other spices. Some curries will also add coconut milk and lime juice. Bala, preserved fish paste, is often used in Isaan and is popular with the locals but certainly doesn’t have the same attraction for foreigners! Often curries influence neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, China and Laos. Often many of the ingredients are the same; it is just the quantities that are used. Curries are usually made with chicken, pork, fish, seafood or tofu.
Here are some of the most popular Thai curries:
1. Red Curry
The Thai Red Curry originates from Central Thailand, and not surprisingly, it is red in appearance with the colour coming predominantly from red chilli paste. The sauce also includes fresh red chillies, galangal (part of the ginger family), lemongrass and garlic. Some villages will also add coconut milk to the curry to make it creamier. The dish uses meats such as pork or chicken as well as sometimes fish. You will find this dish available in all Thai Restaurants.
2. Green Curry
The Green Curry, like the Red version, is most closely associated with Central Thailand and can be the spiciest of Thai curries. It uses large amounts of coconut milk and lime juice, which, when combined with other ingredients, gives it a sweet taste. However, don’t be fooled; the curry is likely to be packed with spicy green chillies. Once again, this is a dish which is available in all restaurants.
3. Yellow Curry
The Yellow Curry is a very general curry which has several variations depending on its region of origin. As a general rule, it tends to be far milder than either the Green or Red curries but is still heavily spiced with turmeric, cumin and lime. The meat can include a range of different meats, fish or seafood and is packed with vegetables. A hotter version of this curry is called Elephant Curry.
4. Panang Curry
Panang Curry is probably one of the most popular curries with foreigners as it one of the mildest curries available. It is best associated with northern and central regions of Thailand as well as Laos and uses the familiar flavours of chilli, garlic, lemongrass and coconut milk. It is topped with peanuts which help to give it a very distinct taste.
5. Massaman Curry
The Massaman Curry is another curry which is popular with foreigners thanks mainly to the fact that it is milder. The curry is more in an Indian-style and is popular in both the central and southern regions of the Kingdom. It contains the usual spices and flavourings and is made with meats including beef. The dish almost contains potato which it an almost vindaloo texture although it lacks the heat.