How to Use Curry Paste

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Things You'll Need

  • Dutch oven

  • Small skillet

  • Blender

  • Thai red curry paste

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil

  • 1 stalk lemongrass

  • ½ cup white wine

  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk

  • Fish sauce

  • Fresh lime juice

  • 2½ lbs mussels

  • Fresh basil

  • Fresh cilantro

  • 1¼ lbs skinless mahi mahi fillets

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce

  • 1 tsp Asian chili sauce

  • 1 minced clove garlic

  • Lettuce, watercress, cucumber and scallions

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter

  • ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1½ tbsp of brown sugar

  • 1½ tbsp minced fresh ginger

  • ½ tsp chili flakes

  • 1 shallot

  • Beef, lamb or chicken

Image Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

There are three types of curry paste: red, green and yellow. Red is made from red chiles, green from green chiles and yellow from yellow chiles. Typically, as part of the paste preparation, onions, cinnamon, tumeric, nutmeg and other spices are added to the chiles. In traditional Thai, Indian and Asian cuisine, curry paste forms the flavor base for sauces that accompany meat, fish and vegetable dishes.


Step 1

Whisk together in a Dutch oven 3 tbsp of Thai red curry paste with 2 tbsp peanut oil, 1 crushed stalk of lemongrass, ½ cup white wine, 1 can unsweetened coconut milk, 2 tbsp fish sauce and 2 tbsp lime juice. Let the ingredients simmer. Add 2½ lbs of debearded and scrubbed mussels and cover the pot. Wait 8 minutes then check the mussels; if they are not all open, cover the pot again and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Sprinkle over the mussels 4 tbsp of freshly chopped basil, 2 tbsp of freshly chopped cilantro and 2 tbsp of freshly chopped cilantro stems. Serve as an appetizer.


Step 2

Skim 2 tbsp of cream from the top of a can of coconut milk. Warm the cream in a small skillet over medium heat until it is glossy. Add 1 tbsp of Thai red curry paste and stir until fragrant. Brush the sauce over 1¼ lbs of skinless mahi mahi fillets. Broil about 15 minutes until the fish is browned. Meanwhile make a dressing of 1/3 cup of fresh lime juice, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp Asian chili sauce and 1 minced clove of garlic. Toss lettuce, watercress, cucumber and scallions in the salad dressing and serve with the mahi mahi.

Step 3

Combine in a blender 1 tsp Thai red curry paste, ½ cup creamy peanut butter, ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth, 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1½ tbsp of brown sugar, 1½ tbsp minced fresh ginger, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp minced garlic, ½ tsp chili flakes and 1 shallot peeled and chopped. Blend until the ingredients form a smooth sauce. Serve as a dipping sauce with grilled meat such as beef, lamb or chicken.


There are hot and mild varieties of curry pastes. Read the label before purchasing to ensure you bring home the curry paste best suited to your palate.