Thai Red Curry Paste
Many of Thai food items have one common base ingredient, Red Curry Paste. This piping hot curry paste is made by crushing many fresh hot and spicy vegetables like red chilli, garlic, and galangal. If all the ingredients are available, it’s very easy to make at home within 10 minutes and it gives better texture and flavor compared to ready-made paste available in the market. You can alter the amount of any ingredient mentioned below to get your desired.
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds or Cumin Powder
1 tablespoon Coriander Seeds or Coriander Powder
1/4 teaspoon White Peppercorns
2-4 Shallots, chopped (approx. 1/4 cup)
2 large or 4-5 small Garlic cloves
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped Galangal
2 stalks of Lemon Grass, chopped
6-8 Dry Red Chilies (or fresh red chilies), soaked in water for 2 hours, to taste
1/4 cup chopped Coriander Stems and Roots
Peel from 1 Lime (only the green part, not the white part underneath the skin), optional
4-5 Kafir Lime Leaves, chopped
A pinch of Salt
  1. Soak red chili in 1/4 cup water for around 2 hours and drain them. You can also add 2-3 thai red chili for spiciness. To cut the lemon grass, remove the hard stem part from the bottom and cut from the top as well. Remove one outer layer from the stalk and then cut the inside soft part into small pieces.
  2. Peel the lime using a peeler or a sharp knife to get the outer green skin or grate the outer skin using a grater. Make sure not to get the white part underneath the skin as it has a bitter taste. Cut kafir lime leaves into small pieces.
  3. Place 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns, chopped lemon grass (2 stalks), 2 large or 4-5 small garlic cloves, lime peels (from 1 lime), 4-5 chopped kaffir lime leaves and 1/4 cup chopped coriander stems and roots in the small jar of a blender or a mixer grinder.
  4. Add 1/4 cup chopped shallot, 6-8 soaked and drained dry red chili (or fresh red chili), and a pinch of salt. I have added only kashmiri red chili to make a mild paste. You can add red thai chili to make a spicy paste.
  5. Grind it to a smooth paste.
  6. Red thai curry paste is ready. Store it in an airtight container, it stays good for a week in the refrigerator. For a longer shelf life, place the curry paste in an ice cube tray, freeze it for 6-8 hours and then store the frozen curry cubes in a Ziplock bag for 1 month in the freezer.
Tips and Variations:
  • Use a traditional mortar and pestle to prepare a paste. Place dry ingredients together in a mortar and pound them using a pestle for around 5 minutes to make a powder, then add remaining ingredients and pound them into a smooth paste. When it is prepared using mortar and pestle, it has a better texture and nice flavor.
  • Use kashmiri dry red chili for a deep red color and thai red chili for spiciness.
  • Don’t worry, if the paste looks orange or brown because the color of the paste depends on the color of red chilies used while making the paste.
  • You can replace galangal with ginger and shallots with onion in the above recipe. If the white peppercorns are not available, use black peppercorns or just skip it.
Taste: Hot and spicy
Serving Ideas: You can use it to make Red Thai Curry and Thai Fried Rice.

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