Curry Paste vs. Curry Powder

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by markv, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. markv

    markv

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    Dear Friends:

    Does anybody know whether curry powder can be substituted in equal amounts for curry paste in a recipe? If not, what would the ratio be?

    I have a recipe calling for 3 tablespoons of curry paste and I want to use curry powder.

    Thanks,

    Mark
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    They're rather different animals in my opinion. Curry Powder is more Indian and Paste more Thai. Come to think of it, does curry paste even have cumin in it like the powder does?

    To me, they're not interchangeable or substitutable.

    Phil
     
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I have to agree with Phil on this. They really are not interchangeable. 2 totally different sets of ingredients in each one. I guess you could sub one for the other, but the final dish would be totally different than what the original intent was.
     
  4. markv

    markv

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    Yes, the recipes I have for red and for green curry paste, each have cumin in them. The recipes are from my cooking school.

    Mark
     
  5. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

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    Hey oh

    I guess the short answer is no.

    The long answer is better though.

    Curry powder is usually a mix of:

    Tumeric
    Cloves
    Chillies
    Corriander sead

    plus a variety of variouse other spices, some less, some more, and some powders have so much tumeric to almost be tumeric.

    Here, give this a read

    http://www.lionsgrip.com/curingredients.html

    Curry paste, on the other hand, is an entirly different flavour, and usually has no tumeric in it, can have tomatoes in it, uses fresh corriander and fresh garlic, and fresh chillies...

    NOT TO MENTION, powders are almost always Indian in essence, and pasts can be Thai or Indian, and Thai is real popular right now.

    Thai currys have lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, chillies, tamarinds, and more in them.

    Hmmm

    Ok, I will give this as a list of links, all on the same site, the html is a bit buggy otherwise

    http://www.10thaidish.athailand.com/...ste_Jungle.htm
    http://www.10thaidish.athailand.com/...aste_Green.htm
    http://www.10thaidish.athailand.com/...ste_Indian.htm
    http://www.10thaidish.athailand.com/...yPaste_Red.htm
    http://www.10thaidish.athailand.com/...e_Phanaeng.htm
     
  6. kerryclan

    kerryclan

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    The powder is definately different than the paste. I've made the same dish with both and actually liked the powder better. If you want a typical Indian type curry flavor, use powder. Even Indian curry paste does not have the same flavor.
     
  7. markv

    markv

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    Yes, I'm aware that they are not identical. Moreover there are a myriad of curry powders and pastes. Some pastes are made with curry powder and some are not.

    I'm doing an article for my column with a recipe that calls for curry paste. Because this is for the general public, I try to offer substitutions for more obscure ingredients that may be more readily available or better known.

    In my experience, people, (non-chefs), are more familiar with curry powder than paste. You can always find curry powder in the McCormick section of the spice aisle of most supermarkets but paste often requires a trip to an Asian market.

    Thus, I wanted to offer an amount of curry powder that would be comparable to the paste. I know they will taste differently. I'm thinking more in terms of heat and general spiciness. (And again, I know that varies from powder to powder and paste to paste). For example, the owner of the Asian market that I patronize reccomends 2-1, powder to paste. But I wanted to get your opinions.

    Mark
     
  8. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I really think that this is an instance where you can't suggest a subsitition between the paste and powder. They are just two totally different animals. Sure they both might taste all right in the dish, but powder will give you more of an Indian flavor and essence while the paste is more Southeast Asian. Instead of offering a subsitition, in this case, offer your subscribers some internet or mail order sources if they can't find what they need locally.
     
  9. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's narrow it down. What kind of curry are you making? The only authentic curry which uses a paste is Thai curry and that's only because it's considered a base. The other "pastes" you see in the aisles are short cut versions.

    All curries use onions or shallots as a base and these need to be cooked long and slow. If you're doing this already then why not use whole spices anyway? Dry ground spices do not do very well at the beginning stages of curry making.
     
  10. markv

    markv

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    Pete:

    Yes, I guess you're right. My recipe is a Thai dish and using curry powder would not be culinarily accurate.

    I'll just stick to the paste in the recipe and maybe offer the website of Kalustyan's, the famous spice store in New York City.

    Thank you everyone for your input.

    Mark
     
  11. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Since the technique starts with a wet paste first why don't you just use all the ingredients which go into the paste in the first place? For example, instead of curry paste, try this:

    Step 1

    Puree shallots, garlic, fresh red chiles, whole cumin seed, lemongrass and galangal.

    Lightly saute in about 2T of vegetable oil until aromas release.
     
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  12. markv

    markv

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    Kuan:

    Well that's another option. If the reader doesn't have an Asian market in their area, I can offer them a website source or a recipe to make their own paste.

    Thanks.

    Mark
     
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  13. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    I think these days you can get dried lemongrass and powdered galangal from most spice houses. I'm wondering if the powdered galangal (kha) would rehydrate properly so you could use it in a "reconstituted" spice paste? :)

    Since the ingredients used in spice paste are considered wet ingredients anyways, and the galangal isn't roasted or precooked beforehand, why not try it first? Same thing with the lemongrass.

    So basically:

    Fresh shallot, garlic, ginger, chiles.

    Dried powdered galangal, dried lemongrass.

    Add a little water and puree in blender.

    Fry it up in a wok until the the aromas start to come out and the fumes start stinging your eyes! :)

    Add chicken, add chicken stock, add lime leaf, stir in coconut milk.

    Finish with a squeeze of lime for a little extra zest.

    Of course, fish sauce and salt/soy sauce to taste!
     
  14. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Besides the uncomparable difference between the paste vs powder, even within the powder, the content of the individual spices within any given "curry powder is regionally specific.

    Since you're looking for a substitue for "curry paste" consider including a recipe (as MarkV mentioned) to make a batch from scratch the ingredients of which would be determined by the type of cuisine it will accompany and it's region of origin.

    Curry powder is an essential ingredient of curry paste. So it is misleading to be told to use 2-1, powder to paste only, but they may not really know the true difference in order to be able to tell you correctly.

    Curry paste is tends to be a combination of ghee, vinegar, curry powder , vinegar, and other seasonings - again depending on region.
     
  15. indygal

    indygal

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    Thank you for this!!!!

    I have one of my favorite cold weather dishes on the stove, curried cream of chicken soup. And horrors I had ZERO curry powder.

    I usually buy it, nice and fresh, in little baggies from the healthfood store.   But it is closed today.  I think I have all those ingredients but cloves, and I have fresh chilis still coming out of the garden.    You've saved my soup!

    DD
     
     
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  16. easycook

    easycook

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    just buy a curry powder that you like. add the type of spices you,e,g. if you like hot stuff add chilli powder if like onion add onion powder and so on. bascially curry powder consist mainly corrinder powder,smaller portion of tumeric , cumin,fennel powder,chilli powders.depending on types of curry powder e.g. indian indonesia, malaysia,thia, and of course nonya.check some receipt books and you will find the different.You add in salt, oil and it become curry paste.
     
  17. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Worlds apart, 2 different things. Most Indian families I know use a powdered curry which they mix themselves.

    Each family has different ratio combo's.  You can make your own custom curry powder home with spices you already have in your cabinet.

    Paste on the other hand became popular with Thai Cuisine or Southeastern Asiatic   (usually red curry paste) is normally made hotter to the taste Has to my knowlege no tummeric, and litte cummin or coriander. Both are distinct and used differently.
     
  18. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    My eastern (or western depending upon which direction around the globe you go) mentors taught me that curry pastes are made with water or chile soaking (if using dried) liquid in order to achieve paste consistency; as opposed using to oil. They also taught me to use coriander and cumin in Thai curry pastes including red, green, yellow, penang, and mussaman. Turmeric was used in the yellow and mussaman pastes.

    Needless to say there is no curry police and no one will come to your house to arrest you if you do it differently. This is just the way my mentors showed me.
     
  19. roselyn

    roselyn

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    After reading this blog last night, I ade my own curry powder by using equal teaspoons of spices I had on hand, which were
    Coriander
    Turmeric
    Dry mustard
    Cumin
    One dried red chili
    Garlic, dried
    Fennel
    Salt and pepper

    Put it all in my bullet blender and pulverized it.

    It was the best tasting curry powder I ever tasted. !
     
  20. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    Mark,

    T.U. for the very informative thread and to the contributors.

    1) Here is an interesting link:<edit-link error>

    2) On the above website, they provide this information and recipe for curry powder: 

    ***  In the book The Naked Chef to the Rescue,

    Chef Jaime Oliver lists the following Curry Powder Recipe:

    2 Tblsps. fennel seeds

    2 tblsps. cumin

    2 tblsps.coriander seeds

    o.5 tblsps. fenugreek seeds

    1/2 stick cinammon

    2 Cardamom Pods

    salt and black pepper 

    1 clove

    Have lovely Labor Day.

    Marge.  
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2012