Thai Red Curry Paste

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Here’s my homemade red curry paste. A paste is the base of many a delicious curry dish, such as those made with scrumptious coconut sauces and a variety of meats or fish. I like to make a big patch of curry paste, as most dinner recipes call for only a few tablespoons, and keep the rest in the freezer.

2 tsp dry-roasted coriander
2 tsp dry-roasted cumin
1 ½ tsp white pepper corn

1 medium red onion
4-6 garlic cloves
¼ cup dried large red chilis (I use about 4 big guajillo chiles) – soaked, de-seeded and chopped
1 stalk lemongrass – sliced diagonally from bulb until no longer purple
2-inch galangal
grated zest of 2 kaffir limes
6 coriander roots – woody center removed and chopped finely
1 ½  tsp shrimp paste

(Yield: 1 ½ – 2 cups.)

To dry-roast the spices, simply dampen slightly, then place in hot wok and stir frequently (for a minute or two) until aromatic.  When cool, grind in mortar and pestle with white pepper corns; set aside.

I use a food processor to chop onion and garlic cloves, and then I mix in hand-chopped chilis, lemongrass, galangal, coriander root and grated lime zest. Then, I try to pound in mortar and pestle (adding spices and shrimp paste at end) to make into a smooth paste. This is a challenge – as anyone knows who has used a mortar and pestle, you basically bang loudly until your arm aches – so I try to remember the words of my cooking instructor in Thailand: “Think of it as anger management.”

When finished, I take Ziploc baggies (about six of them) and fill each with 3 tbsp of paste… perfect for taking out of the freezer, anytime you want to make a red curry. Easy!

17 Responses to “Thai Red Curry Paste”

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    […] As names go, lemongrass is pretty on the money. It’s a grassy, reedy plant with the aromatic scent of fresh-cut lemons. It adds a delicious citrus-y note to dishes — and it’s a must in most Thai curry pastes (both green and red). […]

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    […] Chinatown grocery store, I’ve been sadly living in a curry-free zone. My supplies of homemade red curry paste and green curry paste that I keep in the freezer are depleted. With options limited, I had to […]

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    […] chee” sauce, which I’ll have to do more research on, but it appears to be made with red curry paste and fresh coconut meat. With prawns, and served with rice, it was super-spicy and […]

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    […] And now, reader Riva of Brooklyn announces she has made a curry with CrackingCurry’s Red Curry Paste […]

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    […] absolutely necessary. Me and the steady dining companion (who also helped me make a fresh red curry paste) enjoyed it with a […]

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    […] we represented Thailand, bringing the fixings for Wild Ginger Curry with Shrimp, made with my homemade red curry paste…all of which, I can happily report, was devoured. […]

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    […] (namely, coconut cream, palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves and bird’s eye chile peppers), plus my homemade red curry paste. I particularly like Nigella’s addition of turmeric, as it gives this dish a lovely color. If […]

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    […] I made a few guesses….but it came out terrific. Below is my version of the recipe, using my homemade red curry paste. The tamarind is a key ingredient, as it is a souring agent and tones down the sweetness of the […]

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