Which is hotter? Green or Red?
‘Which is hotter?’ is probably one of the most asked questions when it comes to discussing Thai green and red curries. Times have changed and travel has become more affordable to visit different countries and experience their culture and cuisine.
Chefs and restaurateurs can take inspiration from Thai cuisine and then change traditional recipes to fit the western consumer, most commonly to make curries milder or all curries will have the same spice. The chefs and restaurant owners who were born in Thailand cook true to their home without adjusting their recipes, producing truly distinctive difference between the curries.
I feel that this changes people’s perception of how spicy an authentic Thai curry should be. In general, traditional Thai green curry is hotter than Thai red curry. I say ‘in general’ because it does differ between the regions of Thailand. In southern Thailand green curry is much hotter than the green curry you will find in Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok.
When cooking at home, you will make a curry that suits your preference and spice tolerance. If you prefer to make your Thai red curry hotter, go for it! You’re not wrong or disrespecting Thai cuisine for doing so.
Our Thai green curry paste at Mae Jum is slightly less hot than our Thai red curry paste. The reason behind this is that my great grandmother loved to make her green curry this way with a secret combination of different green chillies varieties, some for heat and some for vibrancy. Her recipe has been passed down from generation to generation. The way my mother remembers her grandmother making it for her is the way we want to share with you!
Authenticity is important to us. I can assure you that there is still a kick to our Thai green curry paste. Without a doubt, you can tell us apart from other Thai green curry pastes on the market for being the spiciest! Whereas our Green Curry paste uses fresh green chillies, our Red Curry paste uses dry roasted red chillis which are more intense.
The quantity of the chilli doesn’t always determine how spicy it will be. There are many varieties of chilli which are grown in different landscapes and climates in Thailand. Some are small and spicy while others are big and sweet. Using a range of different kinds of chilli will yield the perfect balance of heat and sweet.
We use some sweeter green chillies to make our ‘kaeng kiew Wan’ which actually translates to ‘sweet green curry’. The sweetness from the shallots will also balance the spice in the paste. Whereas in our Thai red curry paste, we use red chillies varieties that are more flavoursome, but spicier.
I hope this short article can help clear up the confusion between Thai red and green curry and that you will continue learning about traditional Thai cuisine with us. And remember, when you cook with Mae Jum Thai curry pastes it’s not only authentic to Thailand but also authentic to family tradition.
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