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How much red curry paste?

I am thrilled to have finally found decent red curry paste -- the kind in a can, from a Thai grocery store -- instead of the crap that Thai Kitchen makes in the little jars. The back of the can says to use the entire can (4 oz) along with 4 - 5 cups of coconut milk. I plan on making a tofu curry with just one can of coconut milk and a pound of tofu, so I'm guessing the whole can is too much. I'm wondering what ratios people use for curry paste : coconut milk; since I've only ever used the weak Thai Kitchen stuff before I usually ended up adding a lot, and I'm not sure what would be appropriate with the canned stuff. Any thoughts?

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  1. What is the brand name? I'm very familiar with Maesri brand red. With that one, I use a little less than half a can per can of coconut milk, but I doctor it up with fresh chilies, ginger, galangal, etc. If you post the brand name, someone might have experience with it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordeaux

      Like Gordeaux, Maesri and Mae Ploy are the only two brands I buy. 400g tub of Panag paste and smaller cans/tins of the other curries.

      Never had a bad meal with Maesri and it is equal or better to all but the upper echelon of local Thai curry houses here.

      Keep in mind the amt.req. per recipe batch varies from type to type. I usually use a lot more green curry paste than panag or yellow when making a same sized batch of each dish since the Maesri green paste tends to be more timid.

      For a can of coconut milk I usually use 3-4 tblsp of paste. Start with three, and then taste agfter a brief simmer. You can always add more paste, but unless you have more coconut milk, there is a limit to the paste. For Coconut m.ilk, I use Chaokoh. Less than $1 a can and I buy it by the 6 or 12 can cardboard flat

      It 's really a add some, then cook and see if you need more process. And I;ve been cooking curries for over 15 years.

      BTW, I tried the Thai Kitchen green curry paste once. I;ve got several local markets where the Maesri brands paste sells for $1 a tin. Way cheaper than TK and waaaaayyy better. Win win,

      But you still need to add the palm sugar (or brown sugar), lemon grass, etc. to make it work as a good dish, depending upon the region and recipe.

    2. Whenever I've used curry paste for a lb of meat, I've used a generous tablespoon with a tablespoon of oil then add a whole can of coconut milk. And always a tablespoon of fish sauce or it's seriously missing something.

      1. Like mcf I usually start with 1 Tbls for a can of coconut milk and always add fish sauce. I often add more of both later if it isn't tasting as strong as I'd like (although I have to sneak the fish sauce past my boyfriend who is squeamish of all things that come from the ocean).

        1. Usually end up using 1/2 can but start small and add to taste.

          1. I had a fun encounter yesterday at that Asian market between the Pho House and the vietnamese barber in Sugarloaf Centre in Gaithersburg. On isle 4 across from the Vietnamese imports are what appear to be the Thai imports.

            I was staring at a shelf of various brands of curry pastes when a guy dressed in chef blues ran in and started looking for a tub of curry paste. I asked him if he was a chef and he said "yes, I cook." Then I asked do you mix it with water and he said, "no. No mix." So I said, do you mix it with coconut milk? and he smiled and said, "yes, good. You mix. Very good. I cook."

            So I think I grabbed the same 400g tub as he did, MaeSri Kaeng Par Curry Paste. There are only two Thai places near there, Sabai Sabai, and Mr. K's Chinese, and I love both of them, so I can't wait to use it. The back of the tub says to mix 6Tbsp with 3 Cups of boiling water, but for Medium hot use only 4-5 Tbsp.

            No mention of coconut milk with the Kaeng Par. On their website, MaeSri says, 'In the northern and remote village areas of Thailand curries are made without coconut milk in order to keep costs down, thus the term "jungle curry".'

            1. I make curry all the time with the little Maesri and Mae Ploy tins (and tofu, as well! If you don't already, try frying the tofu for the best texture). I'm somewhat of a wuss, so I use only about 2 T of it, and an entire can of coconut milk.

              3 Replies
              1. re: 35aweek

                OMG my mouth is on fire. I should have gone a little slower. Even after diluting with coconut milk, rice, and diced sweet potato, it is still too hot.

                1. re: GraydonCarter

                  You've just discovered for yourself that "jungle curry" is famous/notorious for being the hottest of the well-known Thai curries. ;) I just gave up on it myself, even though I can eat raw bird chiles without gagging. Basically, it's supposed to be that hot and it's just beyond me!

                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                    Ah, GradonCarter, you need to meet the addition of Brown Sugar while the curry is cooking to cut the heat. (In Panang, I also add Peanut Butter which does have some sugar, but the peanut flavor that Mr. Shallots got addicted to at our local Thai restaurant.)

                    Like so many of us, I start with a Tblsp. of curry in the creamy part of the coconut milk from one can then dilute with the rest of the can and (only then) add additional curry if I think it needs it.)