Curry Paste

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A paste, originating from Thailand that is used to make sauce for seasoning a variety of meat, rice and vegetable dishes, which become "curried" food. Curry pastes are often made from a blend of ingredients which may include chiles, onions, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, cilantro, citrus zest, peanut oil, galangal, pepper, and salt. Depending on the type of curry paste and the different foods in the main dish, the ingredients may vary, but generally are similar to those listed. The traditional curry pastes most often available in food stores or East Indian and Asian markets are red (the most common), green (verde), yellow, Madras paste, and sweet curry paste. Orange curry paste is also available, but is not as common.

Red curry paste is made from fresh and/or dried red chiles mixed with coriander, cinnamon, cumin seeds, shallots, garlic, lemon grass, and peppercorns, while green paste is made from green chiles and herbs. Red curry paste is typically served with beef or chicken curries and green curry paste is most often served with chicken curries. Yellow curry paste, traditionally served in southern Thailand with chicken and beef curries, is made with yellow or red chiles, combined with other ingredients such as cinnamon, citrus ingredients, nutmeg, and turmeric. Madras curry paste was named after the city of Madras in India which is now referred to as Chennal. Madras paste is typically made from ingredients that include curry leaves, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and other spices that provide a hot and spicy flavor. Orange curry paste is made with red chiles that are stone ground and added to shrimp paste to be seved with seafood curries, such as seafood soups and stews. Sweet curry paste, which is common in Thai cooking, is made with coconut milk to sweeten the taste. Many sauces for curry dishes are created by mixing curry paste with coconut milk, fish sauce, and palm or brown sugar, to assist in thickening the ingredients and providing additional flavor to the sauce being prepared.

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