What’s The Difference Between Red And Green Curry?

Red and green curry are two of the most popular Thai curries, each offering a unique culinary experience. These vibrant dishes are renowned for their robust flavors and heat.

While they share many similarities, their constituents, preparation, and flavor are distinct. Knowing the differences between red and green curry will allow you to select the one that best suits your taste.This article, will explain what’s the difference between red and green curry.

Introduction To Red Curry

The Thai name for red curry is kaeng phet. Curry is what kaeng means, and phet means piquant. Therefore, red curry means “spicy curry.”

Red curry derives its name from the red chilies used to create the paste. It has a yellowish-red color and a flavor that is rich, faintly sweet, and spicy.

The origins of red curry can be traced to central Thailand. It is believed that this Thai dish was influenced by Indian curries, Chinese cuisine, and local Thai flavors.

In Thailand, red curry is a thin, soup-like curry that could be more fiery. It is prepared with large dried red peppers less spicy than fresh green peppers. Common ingredients include chicken, pork, and beef

Introduction To Green Curry

The Thai name for green curry is kaeng khiao wan, which translates to “sweet green soup.” The curry, however, is more piquant than sweet.

Green curry is one of Thailand’s most popular dishes, typically prepared with poultry or beef.

Thai green curry is commonly believed to be the spiciest of all Thai curries, but this is only sometimes the case. The intensity of the curry depends on the spiciness of the chilies use

What’s The Difference Between Red And Green Curry?

1. Color

Red Curry

The red color of red curry comes from the red chili peppers used to create the red curry paste. Typically, these chilies are sun-dried and then pulverized into a paste.

The basis of the sauce is red curry paste, which imparts a rich, red color when cooked. Red is visually alluring and imparts a warm, inviting hue to the dish.

Green Curry

The green color of green curry comes from using fresh green chilies, predominantly green bird’s eye chilies.

Together with other green herbs and ingredients, such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and coriander, these fresh chilies give green curry its vivacious and natural green color. The hue evokes the verdant, fresh ingredients utilized in the curry.

2. Flavor

Red Curry

Red curry is renowned for its well-balanced flavor profile. It has a combination of sweet, savory, and mildly spicy flavors.

Palm or brown sugar typically provides the sweetness, while seasonings and aromatics such as garlic, shallots, and lemongrass add depth and complexity. The moderate heat level makes the dish more approachable to a broader variety of palates.

Green Curry

Green curry is harsher and has a more herbaceous flavor than red curry. It is well-known for its robust, fresh chili spiciness, complemented by the aromas of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and fresh basil.

The spiciness can be quite potent, making it a preference among those who favor dishes with a fiery kick.

3. Ingredients

Red Curry

The red curry paste comprises dried red chili peppers, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galangal (a root similar to ginger), shrimp paste, and a combination of seasonings.

While red curry paste ingredients can differ slightly based on regional preferences and individual tastes, it typically has a balanced flavor with a hint of umami from shrimp paste. It is frequently prepared with poultry, beef, shrimp, bell peppers, and bamboo shoots.

Green Curry

The green curry paste comprises fresh green chile peppers, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and coriander root. The emphasis on using fresh, aromatic herbs and ingredients imparts a vibrant flavor to green curry.

It is typically prepared with poultry, shrimp, or tofu, as well as a variety of vegetables, including Thai eggplant, green beans, and zucchini.

4. Heat Level

Red Curry

Red curry is generally considered less piquant than green curry. Red curry is typically moderately spicy, making it more approachable for those with a lower tolerance for heat.

Green Curry

Green Curry is renowned for its spicy flavor. Using fresh green chilies increases the heat level, and when prepared traditionally, it is commonly perceived as quite piquant.

However, the level of spiciness can be tailored to individual tastes by adjusting the amount of green chili peppers used.


Red Curry

Red curry is adaptable and combines with numerous proteins and vegetables. It is frequently employed in Red Curry Chicken, Red Curry Beef, and Red Curry Shrimp dishes.

The flavor is faintly sweet and savory with a hint of heat, making it an excellent option for those who prefer a milder heat.

Green Curry

Green Curry is renowned for its intense aroma and excellent choice for seafood, poultry, and vegetables. It is frequently incorporated into Green Curry Chicken, Green Curry Shrimp, and Green Curry Tofu.

It is a favorite among spice enthusiasts and those who appreciate Thai cuisine’s fresh, herbal elements due to its robust flavors and spiciness.


When comparing red and green curry, the following similarities stand out:

  • Both curries are traditional Thai dishes.
  • They include garlic, chile, lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves.
  • Both green and crimson curries contain coconut milk.
  • Both can be prepared with beef, poultry, pork, lamb, tofu, or shrimp.
  • Traditionally, they are served over rice.
  • Both curries are soupy, with an abundance of curry sauce and liquid.
  • Both red and green curry can be prepared with an assortment of vegetables.

Although their Thai origins are similar, red and green curry offer unique flavor experiences. Red curry is typically richer, creamier, and spicier due to red chili peppers, whereas green curry is crisper and more herbaceous due to the use of green chili peppers and aromatic herbs. Your selection will depend on your spice tolerance and flavor preferences, ensuring a delectable Thai culinary experience.

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