I have a delicious red curry recipe which I think could be improved if I could add a touch of acidity. I've tried using rice wine but this seems to either overpower the dish or add nothing at all. I'm wondering if I should be using a different type of acid.

My recipe goes:

Heat 1/4 can of coconut milk in a skillet.
Add 1 Tbsn curry paste.
Simmer until the oils separate and very little liquid is left.
Add remaining 3/4 can coconut milk.
Return to a simmer.
Add 1 tsp fish sauce.
Add 1 tsp palm sugar.
Add proteins and veggies.
Cook until veggies are soft.
Add 1 tsp rice wine.

I really want to add complexity with a bit of acid but I just haven't been able to achieve this.

  • 2
    Have you considered rice wine vinegar?
    – brhans
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 13:36
  • @brhans : my thought too, seeing that last ingredient
    – Joe
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 13:43
  • 1
    Consider just squeezing lime in right before serving. This is why lime is often given as a condiment or garnish to accompany various dishes. You generally do not cook with it.
    – user50726
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 23:16

3 Answers 3


Rice wine vinegar

If you are using plain rice wine, then you aren't going to get much acidity. Rice wine vinegar will give you a higher acidity to flavor ratio. I generally add rice wine as part of the stir fry process; I almost always make curry in the following order: aromatics (i.e. ginger, ground spices) -> stir fry vegetables/meat -> add liquid. Rice wine vinegar (and fish sauce, too) I like to add while stir frying as I find that tends to get the flavor into the vegetables without letting them get too soggy soaking in liquid.

Lemon or lime juice

I would be careful with lime, as it tends to add a sweetness, and I find that it can easily overpower a curry. But lemon, on the other hand, will give you more acidity without so much sweetness. Depending on what is in your red curry paste (specifically, lemongrass and how much), lemon juice could go well or clash. Lime juice is something I generally use in green curries.


Along with kingledion's great answer I'd add the following: plain old white vinegar. It has a punchy acidity but is otherwise quite flavour and odorless. It's an absolute staple in my kitchen since you can add it to nearly anything to boost flavor without much altering it.


Cane vinegar is the Asian acidic magic secret. It’s sweet and not too acidic and will not change or lose flavor like citrus. Add a couple teaspoons/tablespoons when you add your fish sauce and palm sugar

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