Thai (ish) Red Curry Paste

I made red curry paste last week.   I intend to make a few batches of it before both; I exhaust my supply of fresh lemongrass and the thai basil packs it in for this year.  I find you can be fairly flexible with the ingredients of curry paste.  This probably isn’t particularly authentic but to me thats not as important as whether it tastes good.  For instance I would prefer to make my own with fresh ingredients and potentially sacrifice a component or two, (in a ideal world this would have galangal in it), rather than buy a paste that has sat around in a jar for months.

This is what I put in this weeks paste:

Thai Red Curry Paste

  • 2 tspn coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 100g shallots – chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic (actually I used about 8 small ones as thats what I have left from my summer harvest) – chopped
  • 5 hot chillies – chopped (or more to taste)
  • 3 lemongrass stalks – chopped
  • 1 tspn chopped coriander root
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste

Roast the cumin and coriander seeds*, then grind.  Place all ingredients including ground spices into a food processor and whizz together with a splash or two of water to make a paste.

I haven’t included ginger in this paste as I usually use this paste to make curry and I add the ginger seperately.  If you are using it for something else it might be worth adding ginger into the above recipe.  Galangal also works really well in this recipe, as do ground white peppercorns.

I use fresh chillies because that is what I have at the moment.  Dry ones are great too – just soak in water first.

*I do this on the stove top in a dry frypan – move them around a lot and roast until they just start to change colour and smell yummy.

I’m sharing this recipe on The Gardener of Eden’s Thursday Kitchen Cupboard , which this week is at Spring Garden Acre and Greenish Thumb’s Garden to Table.

This entry was posted in Autumn Harvesting, Chillies, Capsicum & Eggplant, Herbs & Spices, Recipes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Thai (ish) Red Curry Paste

  1. Jody says:

    Yum! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Daphne says:

    The funny thing is that I was just thinking of making things like curry powder and curry paste. I can’t eat peppers and all the commercial mixtures have them. But I could make my own. Now I just have to buy a few spices and figure out what I like.

    • Liz says:

      I make curry paste quite a bit and actually make it without chillies quite often (because of the kids – I add it in at the end of cooking for me). I think most recipes could be reasonably easily adapted. With this one I would add white pepper and ginger and that would make a really enjoyable paste for both curries and stir fries. There are quite a few Asian dishes that I enjoy without chilli – I find that yoghurt based curries that have turmeric in them are great without adding any chilli provided you use lots of ginger. Satay sauce is still delicious without chilli and there are probably more – I’ll give it some thought.

  3. Did you say yummy to the smell of roasted chillies? My husband love pan roasted chillies with some salt sprinkled on it.
    This home made Thai curry paste look enticing to me. I really want to give this a shot. What can I add in place of shrimp paste. I am not sure if I can get that gluten free.

    • Liz says:

      I’ve always thought that the shrimp paste I use is gluten free, intriguingly the ingredients are listed as shrimp paste and salt which I’ve always assumed means shrimps mashed up and salt but perhaps there is more to it???? If I was cooking for a vegetarian I would leave it out but season the dish a little more. The shrimp paste does enhance the flavour and gives it that Thai feel so if you can verify the ingredients then I do think its best to include it.

  4. Andrea says:

    I have been experimenting with cooking different spices which form the base of my curry depending on the recipe. I haven’t yet made a paste and are keen to try one, is this a suitable one to store for any period of time or best to use it when freshly made?
    This Autumn weather is just beautiful , hope you are enjoying plenty of it Melbourne.

    • Liz says:

      Isn’t the weather great? Really enjoying it – all that sun. This recipe makes enough for two curries so what I usually do is make one the day I make the paste and then freeze the rest. It does deteriorate in the freezer though so you want to use it reasonably quickly (within perhaps a month). I’m never sure how long things like this will keep in the fridge, it may even keep for a couple of weeks (especially if you add more salt) but I wouldn’t be sure.

  5. kitsapFG says:

    That looks delicious!

  6. mac says:

    Yummmm~~~~~~ I can smell the curry already! The corriander root and shrimp paste enhanced the flavor of the curry.

  7. Hi Liz, You’ve asked me of the tomatoes I planted. Because I am not at home this week I can’t tell you that. I will let you know the names when I am back home next week. That one from the picture was from purple variety. Have a great weekend!

  8. Nina says:

    Yummo! Anything with chilli is a winner, as far as I’m concerned. I’ll save this recipe and give it a go. I’ve got heaps of coriander seed that I dried and saved.

    You’ve mentioned before that you grow your own lemongrass. I have absolutely no luck. I’m surprised at some things you have success with that I don’t as we are only around 150km apart! I’ve tried three times to grow lemongrass and they just don’t thrive or they rot away. I’ve tried in-ground and in pots. Any hints?

    • Liz says:

      Hmmm – is it dying in winter? or some other time? If winter then how cold do you get? It dies at mum and dads in winter and they are about 4 degrees colder than Melbourne and only 60km away. If it is winter then I would try growing it in a pot and bringing the pot inside for winter perhaps.

  9. L says:

    That looks great! I’ve been meaning to make a thai curry paste myself so I can turn down the heat for the kids. Just waiting for my lemongrass to grow a bit.

    I’ve had a bit of a prawn/shrimp obsession lately, so I’ve been reading quite a bit about South East Asian shrimp pastes. The Malaysian type (belacan) needs roasting first – is that not the case with Thai shrimp paste, or does it rely on the fact that you cook it down in the pan as the first step in the recipe?

    • Liz says:

      I think you can get away with cooking it down in the pan as the first step. Having said that it may be pure laziness on my part but it does seem to taste fine without the roasting stage. My shrimp paste is a Thai one and it smells fine without roasting it (I find the same can’t be said for some of the other ones I’ve tried). Perhaps its pre roasted.

  10. Leanne says:

    I wanted to have a go at making some and my husbands reaction was why would you when you can buy it. But you have inspired me to have a go. It would be interesting to see if we can tell the difference.

    • Liz says:

      Yes you can buy it but it usually comes with a much higher fat and salt content not to mention perservatives and I don’t think it tastes nearly as fresh as something you make yourself. Well at least that’s what I tell my partner who is inclined to have similar views.

  11. leduesorelle says:

    I’ve relied on the bottled stuff for quick meals but, after reading your post, may have to experiment with making my own. Thanks for making it look so doable and easy!

    • Liz says:

      It is hugely easy and doable – like everything you just need to spend a bit of time on it. Having said that – its mostly chopping (unless you want to get out a mortar and pestle…)

  12. Wendy says:

    How fun! I would like to make that too. I bet it would be great added to just about anything!

  13. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I usually buy the can variety. I’ll bet it doesn’t even come close.

  14. I forgot to ask. What do you do with the extra? Can you freeze it? I’m so trying your recipe the next time I make red curry!

    • Liz says:

      Yes I do freeze it – this makes enough for two curries and so I usually make one on the day and freeze the rest. It does deteriorate in the freezer though so you still want to use it ideally within a month or two.

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