Curry Paste Vs Curry Powder

by Daisy Dao

Are you a curries lover? Curry paste vs curry powder have a similar name curry, and some people find it challenging to know the difference. Curry powder and curry paste are two Southeast Asian cuisine ingredients of curry dishes.

Although most people see them as similar, curry paste and curry powder species are used in different ways. In the article, we have highlighted each of them.

Curry paste

Curry Paste Vs Curry Powder
Curry Paste Vs Curry Powder

This is often used in traditional Thai or Thai-style food. It is a moist blend of different species and herbs whose color ranges from yellow, red, or green massaman and penaeng; the ingredient in each determines the name the curry is given. It has a very potent flavor.

The primary fresh herbs and dry spices include galangal, red chilies, kaffir lime, garlic, and lemongrass. The ingredients are crushed, and liquid or vegetable oil is added to create a paste. There are various variants of curry paste. The major variants include

1. Green curry paste

The green color in the curry paste comes from the fresh green chilies, contributing to the spicy kick of the chilies. The green curry paste has heat that varies due to its strength and size. You can quickly cook the curry alongside coconut milk. You can use the green curry paste with dishes like Thai curry, Thai Green Beef Curry, French Bean, Duck, etc.

2. Red curry paste

It has a heat level that is moderate and comes from the red chilies. It is the most versatile curry as compared to both yellow or green curry pastes. You can use the red curry paste with a wide range of dishes like seafood curry, chicken curry, and beef curry.

3. Yellow curry paste

The curry paste has a milder taste that comes from the yellow peppers. The spicy and sweet paste uses turmeric and curry powder as the main ingredients. The paste can be used with dishes like yellow chicken curry or fish stews.

Curry Powder

Unlike Curry Paste, Curry Powder is a traditional curry used in Indian curry. It is mainly made of cumin, red pepper, coriander, and turmeric. The curry powder is readily available in grocery stores as opposed to curry paste. It also comes with different variants like

1. Mild yellow

The variant curry powder uses common ingredients like coriander, turmeric, cumin, and salt. The curry has a mild taste, and you can make your yellow curry powder at your home following some simple steps.

2. Brown for a spicy kick

This curry powder variant includes ingredients like cinnamon, peppers, and clove, in addition to the mild yellow curry powder ingredients. The variant has a full flavor like that of yellow curry and the spicy taste of the peppers.

3. Spicy

This variant is for extreme heat and contains all brown curry and mild yellow powders, and fresh chili powder. It has the hottest flavor among all curry powder due to its mix with chili powder. It is ideal for all meat-based dishes.

The significant difference between curry paste and curry powder

Curry paste Curry powder
Contains certain moisture amount due to the use of wet ingredients such as lime, galangal, chili’s etc. it contains a paste consistency
It is mainly made of ground spices that are a dry spice mix
It is mainly used in Thai dishes and hence uses the Thai-style
Used in Indian-style although it is made from west dishes.
Curry paste is made with yellow, red and green chilies and this means that its heat level is relatively hot.
Many of the curry powders are formulated with a standard mild heat level.
Has three major variants of green, yellow and red variant.
It has mild yellow, brown, spicy curry and madras curry powder which has lower heat than the regular curry powder blends.
It is often fried before use
Can’t be fried because it will burn

How to use curry paste

With curry paste, you need to fry it on your pan for around one minute to bring out the flavor. Stir it first with the spoon to ensure that no oil floats at the top

You can also marinate your meat with curry paste before frying it with your oil. Use five teaspoons of curry paste to every pound of meat.

However, the amount of curry paste used on the meat will depend on personal preferences. If your taste is to have spicy and strong, you can add more curry paste.

How to use curry powder

Because curry powder can burn if fried, you can mix it with water to develop the paste. The reason for adding water is due to it’s prone to burn. You can do this as you fry your garlic and onions.

The paste curry powder is then mixed with onions, garlic, and other spices you may need to add to enhance your required flavor. You can too add the curry powder directly to your boiling soup.

However, with this method, the curry powder may fail to produce the flavor required or the flavor produced with the other method.

Can I use one of the curries as the substitute for the other?

Curry paste and curry powder are two different products. Therefore, it is not easy to use one as the substitute for the other unless you get a similar flavor. In addition to that, the texture of each species affects how they will be used.

All that you can do with both is that they can be used in savory dishes and hence can be switched and have an enjoyable result. It is good to note that the final dish will be somehow different from using the correct spice blend.

The best time to use curry paste and curry powder

Curry paste is ideal whenever one is making Thai-style or Thai dishes. With the curry, you can flavor your chicken or beef as well as the kinds of seafood. It can also be used to marinate.

On the other hand, curry powder is perfect whenever you make a traditional Indian-based dish like chicken or lamb curry. You can use dry rubs or add them to the soup.

Final Thought

The article has tried to show you the significant differences that exist between curry paste and curry powder. Before we highlighted the significant differences, we have looked at what each of the curries is and the major variants found in each of the curries. Curry paste is majorly associated with Thai-style dishes, while curry powder is related to Indian-based dishes.

Have you made your mind on which spice mix is ideal for your next curry recipe? In the comparison, curry paste vs. curry powder, you will realize that curry paste has a powerful flavor than curry powder. However, you will also find that it is not also available in groceries like curry powder.

For sure, you need to use either of the two curries if you haven’t tried one. All the convenience and preference depend on you. If you prefer a strong flavor, you can go for curry paste, and if you are new to curries flavor, you can begin with curry powder.

It is good to mention that you can prepare either of the curries at your home. All you need is to understand the ingredient you need and how to make them by yourself.

About Daisy Dao

Daisy grew up on the beautiful Honolulu island where she often found herself spending most of her day enjoying the ocean scent in sea waves. As such, Daisy came to appreciate the art of cooking seafood. She has experimented with baking, roasting, broiling, poaching, grilling (and every other cooking technique you can think of); and with all kinds of spices too. Now she is ready to present her experience: the art of cooking healthy food without any pre-packaged ingredients; food product recommendations for people who need a bit more guidance on what goes into their bodies; how to maintain an active lifestyle without having to give up your favorite foods!

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