Having long sat in the shadows of the universally adored Thai green curry, it's time to turn your attentions to the strong silent type – the Thai red curry. It packs more of a punch with its fiery garlic and chilli, more of a kick with its aromatic ginger and lemongrass, and more of a zing with its zesty kaffir lime. Find yourself seduced by Thai Manohra, Aroy Thai, and Thai Thai.

Red-hot and super-cool

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Part of the Thai red curry's allure is in its edgy character. Its green counter-curry is now so mainstream, that unless you order from a top Thai establishment like these ones, you often risk a more all-people-pleasing curry that is softer, creamier, sweeter.

Thai red curry is a cool customer. Sure, you'll get chefs putting their own spin on its vibrant curry paste, but there's a foundation of fire that remain the same. Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fresh chillies, dried chillies – all the chillies – fat cloves of garlic, lemongrass stalks, coriander roots, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, ginger, and fish sauce. Some add paprika, which not only adds to its red colour, but gives it a sultry smokiness too.

Rich, robust and rebellious

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It's really rather helpful for the Thai curries help us non-native curry countries with a colour category. For the uninitiated – this is not just about how pretty it looks.

The green curry is made with the fresh young green chillies, so is significantly hotter – despite any amount of cooling coconut milk that is added). Yellow curry is highly aromatic and super-bright, made with roasted spices and infused with turmeric.

The red curry – you guessed it – is made with big ripe red chillies. It has a more subtle heat, but a spicier savoury taste, and a richer and more robust earthy depth of flavour than the others. Rebel.

Succumb to temptation…

At Thai Manohra, you can count this as at least one of your 'five a day', as this red curry is a vegetable-fest – though you can customise it with whichever meat or prawns you like. Red Thai curry – your way.

Thai Thai has a few red curry creations on its menu. We like the Chu Chi Pla – steamed fish fillets in red curry and coconut milk – and the Massaman Thai Kai where chicken strips and diced potatoes are given the red curry treatment.

Aroy Thai has a number of red curry dishes too, and is a great option for vegetarians. The Kaeng Daeng is tofu, mushrooms, asparagus and broccoli, all dressed up in a vibrant red curry sauce. If you're a carnivore through and through, go for the Kaeng Pad, a lightly spicy red curry with duck, pineapples and grapes. Go on – overlook green and give red a try.

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