Food - Drink
The Ingredient You Shouldn't Skip For Thai Curry Paste
By CLARICE KNELLY
Thai curry is a spicy and creamy comfort food for many, and each type of curry has its own flavors and spiciness levels. There's red curry, the most adaptable variety; yellow, with a more mild flavor; and green, which is popular for its fresh and distinctly Thai taste — however, these three different varieties share one common ingredient.
Shrimp paste is crucial to the flavor base of Thai curry dishes, because it provides a rich umami flavor and some added saltiness to balance out the other ingredients. The paste is made of shrimp that has been ground up, fermented, and mixed with salt, and a small amount doesn’t make dishes taste shrimpy or fishy.
Shrimp paste can be bought in Southeast Asian grocery stores as a very dry and firm block, or it can be found as a moist pr saucy paste in North America (where it may also be labeled "prawn sauce"). You can customize your Thai curry as much as you like, but by using shrimp paste, you’re also keeping things authentic.