Traditionally, every household makes their own curry pastes. But, nowaday, it is easier to buy them. From the picture of pales of curry pastes, you can see how much the Thais enjoy curry pastes.
Whenever I visit Thailand I would buy a kilo or two and bring it home with me. Then I'd put into smaller bags and freeze them. I have fresh supply of curry pastes for years to come. I'm not kidding you -- the frozen curry paste keep fresh for a long time.
If you are not visiting Thailand in the near future and in need of curry pastes, I recommend the one that comes in a plastic container. Inside the plastic container, you'll see vacuum packed curry. I think that it is fresher and tastes better than the canned one.
red curry paste
Prig Gang Ped พริกแกงเผ็ด
Red Curry Paste is made of dried chili peppers, salt, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime zest, garlic, shallots, cilantro roots, peppercorns, cumin and coriander. The spices are pound into a smooth reddish paste. The paste is fragrant with fresh and dried spices. Traditionally, the paste was made fresh for each dish. Today, most people buy the already made curry pastes and store in the fridge.
Red Curry Paste is available in plastic tubs and cans at Asian markets and some mainstream supermarkets. You can store red curry paste in a plastic bag in the freezer for a year.
The Red Curry Paste is not to be confused with basic red curry paste or 'gang kua'. The difference is the additional 3 ingredients, peppercorns, cumin and coriander, red curry paste in red curry paste.
green curry paste
Green curry paste has the exact ingredients as the red curry paste with the exception of the dried chili pepper. Fresh green pepper is substituted. Green curry paste comes in a can or plastic tub and is available at Asian markets and some local markets
Home made green curry paste is not that difficult to make if you have access to all ingredients. It can be made in the traditional mortar and pestle or food processor. Green curry paste can be frozen up to one year.
namya curry paste
This curry paste is a mix of shallots, garlic, lemon grass, galangal, gra chai, pepper, salt and shrimp paste.
It normally comes in a little plastic jar. If you keep it in the freezer, it stays good for a year.
masaman curry paste
prig gang masaman พริกแกงมัสมั่น
Masaman is an Indian influenced curry. Masaman curry paste has several Indian spices such as cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. When sold in Thailand, you can see whole white cardamom pods in the paste.