Curry is a signature dish in Thai food. Its perfect blend of spicy-hot and creamy sweet give it a flavor like nothing else anywhere in the world. If you want to give curry a try, but you are not sure how to tell the three types of curry apart, here is a little helper chart.
This is the mildest of all the curry dishes. If you are a little wary of spicy dishes and you just want to see how spicy a Thai dish can get, try yellow curry first. There is more coconut milk and sweetness mixed in with the rice and your choice of meat in this version than there is in the other two types of curry.
Green curry has a little more heat, but you will not really notice it until the slow burn starts to kick in. As the flavors heat up in your mouth, it will probably motivate your sinuses to run, which is followed by the burning and numbing sensation of the spices in the dish. The slow burn in green curry quickly dissipates, so you will feel it when it hits, but then it goes as quickly as it came.
Really, you should think of curry as a traffic light. Yellow is caution, green is go, and red is danger if you do not stop. Of course, red curry is the best if you want a truly kick-butt taste sensation in your mouth. Like yellow and green, the burn is slow, but because there is more of the peppers and spices in red curry, it will hit you like a fireball. Your nose will run, you will tear up, and you will breathe better than you ever have in your whole life as the capsaicin effect begins to dilate your blood vessels. Even if you do not usually enjoy or partake of spicy-hot dishes, you may want some red curry when you have a head cold because it will clear you right up!
For Those That Really Enjoy a Spicy Kick in the Pants
As with any Asian or Indian dish, you can always ask for “more heat”. Some Thai restaurants place chili pepper symbols and charts on their menus so you can request a higher level of “hot” in your dish. This allows you to experiment with the three types of curry and several levels of heat for each, but if you are not accustomed to Indian spices and chilis, do not start with the hottest of the hot in red curry. It may be more than you can stand!