This is a common question I get all the time – just by using curry spices, how do I make Indian curry? It’s a food culture clash! So, let’s look at the ingredients and the methods for these two beloved Indian-based curries.
Thai curry is the national dish of Thailand and is a spicy mixture of coconut milk, turmeric, coconut milk, garlic and other spices. Indian curry is a curry made with various combinations of spices of Indian origin. Both cuisines belong to the same family of curries, which originated in South Asia, and are derived from the cooking traditions of the people who live there.
I never thought I would find myself in this situation, but one of my favorite foods is the Indian Curry. I’ve always loved it, but I’ve recently discovered that the Thai Curry is also great. I know it may seem strange to have a Thai Curry obsession, but it’s a very different from the Indian Curry, and has a lot more going for it!
If food could fight, Thai and Indian curries would become award-winning legends. They are revered all over the world, are full of flavor and fill kitchens with their enticing aromas.
At first glance, you might confuse the two curries. But there are some distinct differences, which we will tell you more about now. At the end of this page you are Captain Curry, although we advise against abbreviating that word.
What is the difference between a Thai curry and an Indian curry?
Thai curry usually starts with fresh ingredients mixed into a curry paste. They are rich in flavor, light in color, and can vary in consistency from liquid to thick. Indian curries often start with briefly frying the spices, after which the meat or vegetables are braised with clarified butter, cream or yoghurt. They are rich, flavorful and usually have the consistency of a thick sauce.
Note that this article contains some generalizations to keep it simple. Curries are very different in the two countries; even the local regions have their own idea of how the recipe should taste.
Kudos: A special hello to our friends at Spice Factory who sent us some amazing spices. They were useful for this comparative article, but the team feels sluggish after a few curries during the day!
Some of the Spice Factory products used in the making of this article.
What ingredients are used in Thai curry and Indian curry?
Thai : Lemon grass, chilli, kaffir lime, coriander, galangal, ginger, garlic, tamarind paste and crab paste are often used to make the paste. It is fried in oil before the other ingredients are added.
Indian: Indian cooks use a variety of dried spices in their dishes; cumin, turmeric, cardamom, fenugreek, mustard seed, garam masala (mixture) and paprika are popular.
Popular ingredients used in all types of curries.
Related Articles: Japanese and Indian curry – a useful comparison.
What is the difference between an Indian curry and a Thai curry?
1. Indian curries tend to be thick
Many Indian curries have a thick, grain-like consistency. Ingredients like cream, yogurt, potatoes and tomatoes help to thicken the liquid.
In contrast, the popular Thai green or yellow curry often has a soupy consistency. But there is also the massaman or lamb curry, which is served in a sumptuous thick form.
2. Each has a unique flavour profile
While the flavors of Indian curries can vary considerably, they generally have a common group of spices on which to focus. Turmeric, brown mustard seed, garam masala, cumin and paprika create rich, hearty dishes in which the flavor profiles of the spices are balanced with expert precision.
Thai cuisine places more emphasis on using fresh ingredients to bring the dish to life. Ingredients such as kaffir lime, ginger and lemongrass give dishes a bright citrus taste.
3. Thai curries use less dairy products
In the preparation of Indian curries, ghee, butter or oil is often used to saute the spices at the beginning of the cooking process. This fat gives the curry a rich, velvety texture and also serves as a carrier for the spices, so each piece of meat or vegetable is coated with delicious spices. The cream and yogurt make the dish thicker and creamier, and also reduce the pungency.
Authentic restaurants in Thailand prefer to use peanut butter first and cook the curry in coconut milk or broth. This way of cooking makes the food lighter. Dishes like green curry and khao soi can become scorching without the dairy ingredients that help reduce the heat.
4. Thai chefs opt for bright flavours such as lemongrass and galangal
In Indian cuisine, ingredients like lemongrass or galangal are not unknown, but their use is not so widespread. They are widely used in Thai cuisine and give a lively flavor to Tom Yam and Tom Kha soups. They are also added to red curry, green curry, massaman curry, etc.
5. Indian curries started with dry spices
In several Indian curries, the whole spices are first roasted until aromatic. Few cuisines can boast as many flavors as Indian cuisine. Thai cooks prefer to prepare noodles based on different herbs, spices and other fresh ingredients.
6. Indian curry, often served with basmati rice
Indians like to serve curries with basmati rice, which absorbs the sauce well. The rice also imparts a subtle pandan flavor that helps to balance rich, spicy curries.
Thai curries are usually served with jasmine rice, which fills the air with its unique aroma. The rice grains are stickier than basmati rice, making it easier to hold with a fork or spoon.
To learn more about the difference between basmati rice and jasmine rice, click here.
Another popular side dish to Thai curry is coconut rice. It is long grain rice soaked in coconut milk. It is deliciously sweet and offers relief after a very hot curry.
7. Indian curries are never served with noodles
As mentioned earlier, Indian curries are often served with basmati rice. Other popular side dishes include roti, naan, paratha and chapati, and a hearty bowl of urad daal.
Thai curries can be offered in different thicknesses of noodles. You won’t see any Indian restaurants serving noodles.
8. Coriander seed is a treasure in Indian curry
Roasted coriander seeds (coriander) are often added to Indian curries. They impart a sweet, earthy flavor with a slight hint of lemon. In Thai cuisine, coriander seeds are not often used in curries; coriander leaves are sometimes used as a garnish.
WithIndian and Thai spice blends, it’s easy to prepare exotic recipes.
What is the difference between a Thai curry and an Indian curry?
1. Each kitchen can vary greatly in heat.
For those who don’t like spicy food, Thai or Indian cuisine offers curries for all tastes. The degree of spiciness depends on who is cooking, so it’s best to ask the restaurant when you eat out. They usually adjust the sharpness.
There are general rules for determining which curries are spicier than others. The following table contains some recommendations.
|Lamb curry, massaman, panang, yellow
|Korma, pasanda, malai kofta, chicken in oil, tikka masala
|Phaal, Vindaloo, Chicken Kashmiri, Paneer Kadai
2. None of the curries use many curry leaves
It can be assumed that curry leaves are the basic elements of any curry. After all, it’s a dish called curry. But Thai cooks prefer to use lemongrass or kaffir lime to give the dish more sparkle. Curry leaves are used in some Indian curry recipes, but often they are not used at all.
Comparative table of Indian and Thai curries
Are you trying to figure out the difference between these two curries? In this table you will find the most important differences.
|Thick or soupy
|It’s usually thick, like a sauce.
|Lemongrass, chili, galangal, ginger, garlic, tamarind paste.
|Various spices such as turmeric, brown mustard seed, garam masala, cumin and paprika.
|Spicy, aromatic, more emphasis on fresh ingredients
|Earthy, spicy, more emphasis on aromatic spice combinations.
|Shrimp, chicken, beef, pork, fish, tofu
|Chicken, lamb, fish
|Type of rice used
|Jasmine rice, coconut rice
|Basmati rice with long grain
|Carrots, broccoli, potatoes, peppers and onions.
|Cauliflower, potatoes, spinach, peas, tomatoes
|From soft to very hot
|From soft to very hot
|How it is made
|Often a pasta in a pan with extra ingredients
|The spices are first roasted before the other ingredients are added.
Does Thai curry taste the same as Indian curry?
Although both curries have some ingredients in common, Indian curries tend to be rich and luxurious, with impeccable spice balance; Thai curries are livelier and focus more on fresh ingredients.
Our favourite Indian curries
Butter chicken: A creamy tomato-based sauce combined with tender chicken. It is a mild dish that can be lightly sweetened. Some people confuse this curry with tikka masala. Check out our comparison between chicken tikka masala and butter chicken here.
Saag Paneer: If you love the sound of leafy vegetables cooked with paneer cheese in a fancy sauce, this is a great option. This is also a good choice for people who prefer soft foods. In this article, you will learn the difference between Saag and Palak.
Beef Vindaloo: Ingredients like chillies, paprika, garlic, turmeric and garam masala combine to create a spicy dish. Combined with tender, slow-cooked beef, it makes for a delicious, flavorful dish.
It’s also worth a try: Lamb korma, malai kofta, dhansak curry.
Tender chicken in a creamy tomato sauce is a winner.
Our favourite Thai curries
Yellow curry: This curry tends to be mild in flavor, perfect for those who like a creamy curry with lots of flavor. It goes perfectly with fish, chicken, pork, beef or tofu.
Green curry: Green curry can be very spicy, especially if you’re in Thailand! The flavor of this dish is raging thanks to bright ingredients like kaffir lime leaf, Thai basil, shrimp paste and cumin.
Beef Rendang: Rendang is beef cooked slowly in coconut milk, herbs and spices. The end result is caramelized meat with a rich flavor.
It’s also worth a try: Massaman curry, chicken curry with coconut.
Homemade green curry may be milder than in some restaurants.
Quick Tips on Curry
- Creamy elements like yogurt and cream help reduce the heat of the recipe.
- Don’t expect every green curry to be hot and every yellow curry to be sweet. They differ depending on who makes them.
- Drinking water is not the best way to relieve yourself after a spicy meal; soothing mango milk or lassi works better.
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India and Thailand produce some of the best food on the planet, including curries. If you’re trying these dishes for the first time? Maybe you don’t know the difference between Thai and Indian curries? Note that both curries range from mild to unpleasantly spicy.
Indian sauces are often thick and rich, with an impressive depth of flavor. The Thai version of curry is smoother, lighter and with more fresh ingredients. The important thing is that they are both delicious.A 5-ingredient recipe that tastes better than the restaurant..
Read more about difference between thai and indian curry and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Thai curry better than Indian?
Thai curry is a type of curry that is popular in Thailand. It is a milder curry than Indian curry.
Is Thai food spicier than Indian food?
Thai food is spicier than Indian food.
What’s the difference between Thai food and Indian food?
Thai food is a mixture of Indian and Chinese food. Indian food is a mixture of Chinese and Thai food.