Although curries are often associated with South and Southeast Asia, many curries are prepared and eaten in East Asia. However, most South and Southeast Asian curries are made using either commercially produced or homemade pastes, while other curries are made from ground spices. Chili pastes, in their various forms, are used in almost all parts of Asia.
Thai curry paste, both green and red varieties, include coriander, cumin, and ginger. They have a lower percentage of chili pepper. Chili pastes are made primarily from chili peppers, but also can include garlic and sesame seeds.
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Thai curry pastes are used exclusively to prepare curry dishes. Asian chili pastes are used to both prepare food and as a dip or seasoning for food as it is being eaten.
Although Thai curry paste is by definition from Thailand, other countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia use very similar pastes. Asian chili pastes are consumed from South Asia to East Asia, and in most parts of the Pacific.
South and Southeast Asian chili pastes are generally made from fresh ingredients. Some East Asian chili pastes are either made from fermented ingredients or are fermented after mixing.
Thai curry paste is generally made only from spices. Some Asian chili pastes are made with fresh or fermented beans, including soy beans or black beans.