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Authentic Thai red curry recipe – crafted from scratch with homemade curry paste. This creamy dish is so quick and easy and full of traditional flavors! You can go with shrimp or simply choose your favorite protein, just serve with steamed jasmine rice to soak up all that irresistible spicy coconut curry sauce.
Authentic Thai red curry recipe
My hubby and I are total red coconut curry addicts! Our love for Thai food has gone a step further, and we decided to make all curry pastes from scratch.
We reached for our traditional granite mortar and pestle, and crafted large batches of each paste. Our freezer is now loaded with homemade curry pastes! If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can simply use a food processor.
You can’t have an authentic Thai meal without making everything from scratch, right?
And let me tell you, it’s absolutely worth every minute of it. It’s a tad more time and effort, but this authentic Thai red curry recipe beats any version I’ve had in Thai restaurants!
After grinding the paste, it wasn’t long before my hubby and I were enjoying the best spicy curry we’ve ever had! We savored every last drop of the creamy coconut milk sauce with perfectly cooked shrimp.
The eggplants and long beans add a delightful crunch, and fragrant steamed rice is perfect for mellowing down the spiciness of this comforting dish.
Thai red curry shrimp Substitutions
Thai red shrimp curry is incredibly easy to customize to your liking. It’s simple to swap out ingredients and add your favorite veggies:
- Protein options: Whether you like gaeng ped with shrimp, chicken, beef, pork or tofu, you can use any type of protein you want. The creamy coconut sauce complements any meat perfectly. Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Vegetarian: Substitute the shrimp with tofu, and the fish sauce can be substituted with vegetarian fish sauce, or half a teaspoon of salt.
- Vegetables: Common vegetables in Thai red curry include bamboo shoots, bell peppers, Thai eggplant, and snow peas. You can also add zucchini, carrots, or baby corn for variety.
- Spiciness: Adjust the spice-level by adding more or fewer chilies. If you can’t eat spicy, I suggest omitting the chilies altogether. Alternatively, you can use mild Spanish pepper instead of Thai bird’s eye chilies, or remove the seeds.
If you’re cooking for a large crowd or a family, you might like a milder curry. My gang garee curry recipe for yellow chicken curry is a crowd-pleaser, authentic Thai massaman chicken curry is a bit sweeter with peanuts, and this Thai beef panang curry recipe is perfect for meat-lovers!
Homemade red curry paste
What’s an authentic Thai red curry shrimp without homemade red curry paste?! Making your own Thai red curry paste is a game-changer. No more trips to the store or food markets for store-bought or pre-made paste. Just make a big batch at once, and you’ll be set for a while.
It’s amazing how much difference it can make in flavor. It takes your meal from good to amazing, and it’s so rewarding.
To me, investing time and effort into crafting an authentic red curry from scratch is absolutely worth every moment! In this recipe, I’ll guide you through the ingredients and the steps for making your own curry paste.
Note: This recipe is delicious with store-bought curry paste too. If you don’t have time to make your own curry paste, that’s totally ok!
For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Thai red curry ingredients
- Thai red curry paste – For store bought paste, I recommend using either Mae Ploy or Maesri.
- Shrimps – Look for black tiger shrimp, these are usually larger than others. Other protein options are prawns, chicken thighs or chicken breast, pork, beef, or tofu.
- Thai eggplants
- Long beans – Thai eggplants and long beans are 2 traditional Thai vegetables I love using in my Thai curries.
- Coconut milk – When you make a coconut curry, you should always use full-fat coconut milk. You want a rich and flavorful coconut curry sauce. In this recipe, I used coconut milk from the brand Aroy-D. (not canned coconut or coconut cream)
- Fish sauce – Adds a salty and umami flavor to the curry.
- Palm sugar – Palm sugar is an authentic sweetener of Thai cuisine, adding a caramel-like sweetness. It’s a healthy alternative to white sugar and brown sugar.
- Kaffir lime leaves – Also known as makrut lime leaves. Try looking for a package of fresh makrut lime leaves in an Asian supermarket, any leftovers can be stored in your freezer.
- Fresh red chilies – If you have a high spice-level, then go ahead and add some Thai bird’s eye chilies. If not, you can remove the seeds or omit the chilies altogether.
Homemade red curry paste ingredients
You can find most ingredients at Asian grocery stores or at Asian markets. Read more about the staple ingredients used in Thai cuisine in my guide of essential Thai pantry staples.
- Dry red spur chilies
- Kaffir lime skin
- Shrimp paste
- Dry chilies
Red curry paste instructions
Step 1: Begin by soaking dry red spur chilies in water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, you can chop your herbs and spices into pieces for easy pounding. Add drained chilies to a mortar along with lemongrass, galangal, and salt, pounding until fully broken down. Incorporate kaffir lime zest, turmeric, shrimp paste, garlic, and shallots, continuing to pound everything into a fine paste.
Authentic Thai red curry instructions
Step 2: Add one-third of the coconut milk to a pot or wok over medium heat, reducing it until the coconut oil separates.
Step 3: Stir in the red curry paste until the two are well mixed.
Step 4: Add the remaining coconut milk after approx 20 seconds.
Step 5: Add fish sauce and palm sugar, stir, then add vegetables and simmer for about a minute or until the vegetables has softened slightly. If using protein other than shrimp, add it now.
Step 6: Add shrimps, kaffir lime leaves, and chilies, boiling until shrimps are cooked, about 1-2 minutes. At this point, the vegetables should be soft to your liking. Serve immediately with rice.
Gaeng ped Recipe tips and tricks
- Adjustment for kids: You can leave out the chilies to tailor this Thai red curry for kids. Replace them with thinly sliced red bell peppers for color and more veggies. If you opt to use less curry paste for a milder taste, this will alter the overall flavor profile.
- Spice level tips: The spice level is a solid 7 out of 10. To customize the heat, adjust the number of chilies to your preference. To reduce spiciness, you can deseed the chilies or swap Thai chilies for a milder variety.
- Coconut milk: Choose full-fat coconut milk to achieve a curry sauce that’s both rich and velvety
- Dietary note: This authentic Thai red curry recipe is gluten-free. Just avoid adding any soy sauce and double-check the labeling of your store-bought items.
How to serve
This curry is perfect as a main along with a bowl of steamed white rice. Feel free to present it in a separate bowl or directly atop a bed of fragrant white jasmine rice. For a twist, try it with rice vermicelli noodles (khanom jeen). To garnish, a sprinkle of Thai basil can add a fresh aroma.
How to store Thai red shrimp curry
Let your leftover Thai red shrimp curry cool to room temperature. Transfer it into an airtight container and store in your fridge for up to 3 days.
To freeze: You can freeze Thai curry for later. Simply transfer it into a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Freeze leftover coconut milk for up to 6 months in an airtight container.
Reheating instructions: Simply reheat on the stove over medium heat until warm. Avoid overcooking the shrimp
Frequently answered questions
Is Thai red curry spicier than green?
The green chilies used in Thai green curry tend to be spicier than the red chilies in red curry. Ultimately, it comes down to the amount of chilies used in the curry and curry paste.
What does Thai red curry taste like?
Thai red curry has a rich, complex flavor profile that is savory, slightly sweet, and aromatic, with a balanced spiciness from red chilies.
What’s the difference between red and green Thai curry?
The main difference is in the type of chili and curry paste used, which affects the color and heat level. Green curry uses fresh green chilies and is more herbal in taste. Red curry is made with several red chilies for a spicy dish.
How can I make Thai curry less spicy?
To make Thai curry less spicy, use fewer chilies, remove their seeds, or lower the amount of curry paste used in a recipe.
Can I make this with an instant pot?
Yes, Thai curries are perfect for making in an instant pot.
More authentic Thai curry recipes you’ll love
- Hor mok pla recipe (Thai steamed fish curry)
- Kaeng som recipe (Southern Thai curry)
- Authentic panang curry recipe
- Thai jungle curry recipe
- Thai green curry pork
Authentic Thai Red Curry Recipe (Gaeng Ped)
This authentic Thai red curry recipe is easy to customize with your favorite vegetables and protein.
Thai red curry
Red curry paste
Red curry paste
Begin by soaking dry red spur chilies in water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, you can chop your herbs and spices into pieces for easy pounding. Add drained chilies to a mortar along with lemongrass, galangal, and salt, pounding until fully broken down. Incorporate kaffir lime zest, turmeric, shrimp paste, garlic, and shallots, continuing to pound everything into a fine paste.
Thai red curry
Add one-third of the coconut milk to a pot or wok over medium heat, reducing it until the oil separates.
Stir in the red curry paste until the two are well mixed.
Add the remaining coconut milk after approx 20 seconds.
Add fish sauce and palm sugar, stir, then add vegetables and simmer for about a minute or until the vegetables has softened slightly. If using protein other than shrimp, add it now.
Add shrimps, kaffir lime leaves, and chilies, boiling until shrimps are cooked, about 1-2 minutes. At this point, the vegetables should be soft to your liking. Serve immediately with rice.
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- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 418kcal
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 19.7g31%
- Saturated Fat 16g80%
- Total Carbohydrate 30.1g11%
- Dietary Fiber 6g24%
- Sugars 19.9g
- Protein 25.1g51%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
- Red curry paste: For store-bought, you can use either Mae Ploy or Maesri.
- This recipe makes a medium spicy curry. Add or remove chilies to taste, remove the seeds, or substitute Thai chilies for non-spicy chilies or bell peppers.
- Use full-fat coconut milk for a rich and creamy coconut curry sauce.
- This recipe is gluten-free.