Curries (kaeng) Curry is an often-misunderstood term. The term “curry” is derived from the Indian word kari, which simply means a sauce or a dish simmered in sauce. It’s more of a class of dishes than a specific flavor.
In Thailand people use the term kaeng (rhymes with “gang”) to designate a spicy seasoning paste. Chefs and scholars debate the number of different Thai curries, but most agree that there are dozens. In the U.S., red, green, yellow, and Mussamun curry pastes (all recipes in this chapter) are the most popular. Although Thai curries contain some dry ingredients, they should not be confused with the dry spice blends (masalas) of India.
Thai curries are complexly flavored pastes that rely mostly on fresh aromatics like lemongrass, galangal... more can be found within the pages of Southeast Asian Flavors book.
Roasted Rice Powder
Known as khao kua pon in Thai and thính in Vietnamese, is a pale, cinnamon-colored powder used as a traditional seasoning and binding agent. It’s produced by pounding roasted long- or short-grain “sticky” rice. Roasted rice powder is commonly mixed with seasoned meats, fish, and or vegetables. It’s used in northeastern Thai and Laotian salads such as laarb, and is sometimes sprinkled over spicy soups.
To make your own: Heat a dry wok or sauté pan over medium heat, add long grain (sticky) glutinous rice. Cook, stirring often, until a deep golden brown color is achieved. Uneven appearance is expected. Judge color/doneness on darkest samples. Once rice is sufficiently roasted, pulse in a spice grinder or pound in a mortar until desired consistency is achieved