Got some time to kill? Because there are a ton of Thai curry types. Yellow curry, red curry, green curry, Penang Curry, sour curry, jungle curry, Massaman curry… Still here? The list goes on – but you get the idea. All Thai curries are made with curry paste (Khrueang Kaeng, เครื่องแกง). The many types of curry reflect the tastes and available ingredients of the different regions in Thailand, and some have even been imported by border sharing countries and integrated to the Thai palate. No matter how many variations of curry exist (way too many to list here), the basis of most curry pastes comes down to a few staple ingredients – and is augmented from there. Lemongrass, garlic, galangal, shrimp paste, onions, shallots, chillies and cilantro root can be expected to be somewhere on the ingredients list.
Many Thai curries will rely on the addition of coconut milk which contrasts nicely with some of the deep, earthy, herbaceous and pungent flavors of the base ingredients. Fish sauce and bird chilis will add another layer of flavor to some curries – while kaffir lime leaves and finger root will do wonders for others. Luckily, we live in an age when heading to a local Asian grocery store can yield some perfectly good jarred curry pastes.