I get it, Thai curry can be hot stuff. Maybe it was the pad gra-pao recipe you tried, or the surprise chili pepper in your takeout two years ago that made you throw in the towel forever, but I want to encourage you to try again. This time, however, I’m going to arm you with a method for controlling the spice on your plate. Whether you’re brand new to Thai food or a chili-veteran looking for a shake-up, you should boil yourself some spaghetti and treat Thai curry like pasta sauce.
Using Thai curry like pasta sauce gives you a reliable mix of the familiar and the adventurous, and it’s not even that big of a stretch. Bundles of thin, soft rice noodles instead of steamed white rice is a common pairing for certain Thai dishes. The clusters of noodles are actually great at grabbing a layer of the spicy liquid, and the starchy carbs can help tone down the heat.
If you happen to have rice noodles you can absolutely use those, but if your cabinets are full of angel hair or linguine, well go right ahead. Prepare the Thai curry, green, red, or yellow, according to the recipe, or if you’re using a jar, then according to the directions on the label. Keep in mind, the consistency will be considerably thinner than tomato sauce, so instead of tossing the pasta with the sauce, serve the boiled pasta separately with a bowl of the curry sauce on the side. Grab a spoon instead of a fork (or both) to help you sauce.
There are two pasta serving styles you can use. The first is spooning the curry over the noodles. Take a spoonful of the curry and drop it over a small section of the pasta. Eat it and decide how the heat is for you. If it’s too spicy, then you can easily scooch-over more noodles. Not spicy enough? Pour on another spoonful. The second method is dunking your pasta in the bowl of curry. Cut off a spoonful of pasta with your spoon. Dunk the pasta-filled spoon into the curry and allow it to soak the noodles and fill the bowl of the spoon. Eat the whole spoonful. I suggest that method once you know you can handle the spice.
You can add your favorite pasta mix-ins too. Do you usually like meatballs with your spaghetti? Give those meatballs a simmer in the curry. Thai yellow curry fettuccine primavera with peas, peppers, and zucchini sounds lovely. The recipe below uses a canned massaman curry that I like, and it’s a great mild-heat curry to start with.
Massaman Primavera with Meatballs
- ½ can massaman curry (about 2 ounces)
- ½ can coconut milk (6 or 7 ounces)
- 5-8 meatballs, cooked
- ¼ cup roughly chopped red pepper
- 3 tablespoons frozen peas
- 1 serving of thin noodles, cooked (rice noodles, spaghetti, linguine, or angel hair)
In a small pot, fry the massaman curry over medium-low heat for about two minutes, moving the paste around in the pot. Stir in half of the coconut milk until the mixture becomes smooth. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Drop in the meatballs, vegetables and the second half of the coconut milk. Stir until well combined. Cover the pot with a lid and let the mixture simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the peppers are cooked. Serve alongside the freshly cooked noodles.