Authentic Thai Recipe Ingredient: Thai Red Curry Paste

Photo of Thai Red Curry Paste and How it is Used in Authentic Thai Recipes.
Photo of Thai Red Curry Paste and How it is Used in Authentic Thai Recipes.

Thai Red Curry Paste

พริกแกงเผีด (Prik Gaeng Ped, Kaeng Phet)
There are (at least) 2 types of red chili paste (curry paste) in Thailand. Unfortunately they are both usually labeled as "Red Curry", though there are some major differences in the ingredients. To make Pad Prik Gaeng you need the one called Prik Gaeng Ped (พริกแกงเผีด). Note that the package photo here say Red Curry Paste on the front panel, but in Thai it says "Gaeng Ped". On the back of the package it says "Prik Gaeng Ped" in Thai. The key word is "Ped" which means "spicy" or "hot, as in hot chili".

The words Prik Gaeng Ped (พริกแกงเผีด) mean "Strong Spicy Chili Pepper" though whenever someone says Prik Gaeng, they are always talking about a chili paste, often referred to in English as "curry". If they say "Pad Prik Gaeng" they are talking about a stir fried dish made with this spicy chili paste.

All (or nearly all) Thai red chili pastes contain the same basic ingredients, those being sun dried Thai chilies, lemon grass, galangal, coriander root, red shallots, garlic, grated rind of the kaffir lime, and Thai shrimp paste. There may be some variation in these base ingredients, but the key added ingredients to make Prik Gaeng Ped taste the way it should are roasted and ground coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and white peppercorns. Without them you have a basic red chili paste which is used in a variety of recipes that are not generally considered spicy.

If you think you'll never be able to figure this out, you may want to just make your own. Our recipe found here is quite easy to do, though a little time consuming:

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