Making authentic Thai Red Curry Paste from scratch is fast and easy and can be made in under 15 minutes. Make it in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle for a more authentic approach -both yield incredible flavors and aromas that will give your Thai dishes delicious flavor. Vegan-adaptable!
- 8–12 Thai chilies, fresh or dried, or substitute chiles de arbol
- 2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, or ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, or ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorn ( or sub ground white pepper, or black pepper)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup lemongrass, white parts only, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons galangal, slice thin, then finely chopped
- 1/2 cup shallot, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon kaffir lime zest, or regular lime zest.
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 1/2 tablespoon cilantro stems or roots
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
- 1–3 teaspoon water as needed
- 1–2 tablespoons paprika, for color.
Using a Food Processor
- Soak dried red chilis in water until soft. Drain, pat dry then cut chop into small pieces (they can burn so wear gloves if you need to).
- Toast the whole spices if using in a dry skillet over medium heat (coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and whole white peppercorns) until fragrant. Let cool then grind into powder form.
- Place everything into a food processor and pulse, adding just enough water to create a paste. Scrape the sides down, keep blending, scraping until you have a very smooth paste.
Mortar and Pestle
- Pound the fresh or soaked chilis and salt together until smooth.
- Add lemongrass and galangal, pound to paste. Move to another bowl.
- Pound the garlic, shallot, lime zest and cilantro stems, into paste. If it’s too full, divide it, then keep pounding away…it’s an arm workout for sure!
- Add the ground-up spices, and salt. Then mix everything together.
- Add the shrimp paste last and mix it in really well with the paste. Add paprika to give more red color. DONE!
- Curry paste will keep up to 10 days in the fridge or up to 3 months frozen.
- Chilies: Thai chili are spicy! Adjust the number of chilis to fit your spice level. The more you use, the spicier your curry paste will be. Feel free to use a milder red chili.
- If using fresh or frozen chilies, always remove seeds wearing gloves, they burn!
- For a more vibrant red color (without the heat) add 1-2 tablespoons of mild paprika. Do not use Smoked paprika.
- TIP: Always pound in small batches to ensure your ingredients are well pounded before adding more ingredients. After pounding the chilis and salt together first, remove, then pound the fibrous ingredients before adding the softer ones. Check out the steps below for how I would pound my chili paste in order of ingredients.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 53
- Sugar: 1.1 g
- Sodium: 716.6 mg
- Fat: 0.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.4 g
- Fiber: 1.5 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Cholesterol: 0.4 mg
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