Thai Red Curry Paste

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redcurrypaste

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”

  1. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Halibut in Red Curry Coconut Sauce Says:

    […] coconut cream (about half a can – you can freeze other half) 3 tbsp red curry paste 4-6 khaffir lime leaves (bruised) 4 tbsp fish sauce 3 tbsp palm sugar 1 can coconut milk 2 filets […]

  2. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Red Jungle Curry with Chicken Says:

    […] pieces 2 tbsp oil 4 cloves garlic 2-inch galangal 3-5 bird’s-eye chilis 3 heaping tbsp red curry paste 3 tbsp fish sauce 1 cup chicken stock 1/2 cup water 1 orange bell pepper (sliced lengthwise) big […]

  3. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » How to Slice Lemongrass Says:

    […] 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). […]

  4. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Penang Chicken Curry Says:

    […] you the truth, I don’t very often, only because I’ve spent a lot of time developing my red and green curries. However, I decided to try a yummy penang curry the other night, in part prompted […]

  5. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Curry House Call Says:

    […] apartment and found — of all appliances — that he had a fantastic wok. I had brought my homemade red curry paste, plus other critical ingredients, like palm sugar and fish sauce, to make Halibut in Red Curry […]

  6. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Coconut Curry with Greens Says:

    […] tbsp oil (I prefer sunflower) 3 tbsp red curry paste 5 kaffir lime leaves, torn 3 tbsp palm sugar 5 tbsp fish sauce 1 can coconut milk 1 cup chicken […]

  7. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Curry in the City Says:

    […] 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 […]

  8. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » My New Pan – and Spicy Southern Curry with Swordfish Says:

    […] cup coconut cream 3 tbsp red curry paste 3 tbsp fish sauce 1 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tbsp palm sugar 4 tbsp fish stock 1 bulb lemongrass (lower […]

  9. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Thai Dining in Syracuse Says:

    […] 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 […]

  10. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » A Cheatin’ Curry Says:

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

  11. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Curry Fest 2011 Says:

    […] had come straight from work, but was prepared: I had my stash of fresh curry pastes — both red and green — to make two favorite recipes, Spicy Southern Curry with Swordfish and […]

  12. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Wild Ginger Curry with Shrimp Says:

    […] 3 tbsp fish sauce 1/4 cup tamarind water (1/4 tsp tamarind, mixed w/water) 1 tbsp palm sugar 3 tbsp red curry paste 1 tbsp wild ginger, ground to paste 1/4 tsp whole coriander seeds 2-3 red chilis, chopped shrimp […]

  13. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Red Curry With Zucchini and Bamboo Shoots Says:

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

  14. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Happy Holidays! Says:

    […] 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. […]

  15. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Pumpkin Curry With Shrimp Says:

    […] (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 […]

  16. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » A Good Soup If You’re Sick Says:

    […] version of chicken noodle soup, and quite delicious. I’ve made it before, using my homemade red curry paste – but this time I added bok choy to give it some leafy green-ness. One other change: I […]

  17. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Red Curry With Pineapple and Shrimp Says:

    […] 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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