Making Your Own Curry Paste |

Making Your Own Curry Paste

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You might recall I was in Thailand earlier this summer, and of course, I ate a ton of curries. And there I realized that in 10+ years of professional cooking I had never made a curry paste from scratch.

So I made some with the locals.
It's quite simple, but does require a lot of elbow grease. If you're making an enormous quantity of curry paste, it's ok to make it in the RobotCoupe. However, any amount you make at home will really require using a mortar and pestle. We'll be making Red Curry Paste today.

To begin, organize all of your ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp cumin seed
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seed
  • 10 cardamom pods, but just the seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mace
  • 2 long pepper corns
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, minced
  • 1 Tbsp coriander root (cilantro), minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp galangal (sometimes called ginza), minced
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 2 wedges lime, squeezed (Kaffir lime if you can find it)
  • 5-7 dried chilies, soaked for 3 hours in cool water (use green chilies for Green Curry Paste)
  • 1 tsp salt

As mentioned above, first thing's first- soak your chilies. You can use fresh chilies, but the dried chilies create a much more vibrant color in the paste.

Next, toast all of you dried spices -separately, as different spices will toast for different lengths of time- in a dry pan until they give off a nice aroma. Let them cool slightly and then grind them to a fine powder. It's important this is done before adding any fresh ingredients; the large dried items will never fully break down if you try to pestle them together with soft, fresh ingredients.

Once your spices are ground, remove them and begin to pestle your chilies. Once they are smooth, add the remaining fresh ingredients and pestle until smooth. Finally add your ground spices back in, pestle til smooth and evenly distributed, and you're done.
Grinding the dry spices
About to grind the rehydrated chilies
Peeling garlic for a large batch of Curry Paste.


dbruce1 • 08/14/2013
which ingredient makes the paste yellow as in the accompanying picture?
haisoodewa • 08/14/2013
Keen eye- the picture at the very top is actually about to be used for a dish called Kao Soi, often referred to as Chiang Mai Noodle or Northern Style Noodle. The dish is influenced by neighboring Myanmar (and indirectly India). It starts with the red curry paste outlined here, and then yellow curry powder is added. So that shot does have a yellow tinge from the turmeric in the curry powder. Without the curry powder, the paste is a more vibrant red.
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