Thai Curry Pastes – Red and Green
I have always wanted to make the thai curry pastes at home from scratch – its like long time wish. I tried a couple of store-bought brands, but it never worked quite right, some are too pasty (too smooth), some are too spicy. So after searching a bit online and spending over an hour at the asian grocery store, I finally got all my ingredients in place and then I was good to go!!
I decided to make both red and green pastes, because both share about 80% of the ingredients anyways and then it was worth all the shopping and the chopping!
So get that sharp knife out and the largest cutting board you have and get going!
Red Curry Paste Ingredients
7-10 dried red chilles – Break the chillies and remove their seeds. Soak in half a cup of water for an hour. Do this first and then prepare rest of the ingredients.
2 inch galangal (or ginger) – coarsely chopped
1 lemongrass stick – very fine slice. Cut about 4-5 inches from the stub side off. Remove the hard top layer (like in spring onions) and then chop.
3 garlic cloves – peeled
5 shallots – peeles
5 cilantro stems – We need the cilantro root. So chop off the leaves and then gently wash the stems and chop them finely.
3 Kafir lime leaves – Remove the central vein off. Chop the leaves.
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
In a mortar and pestle – slowly add the ingredients and crush to form a coarse-to-fine paste. Or you can use a blender, but keep the paste coarse. Use the soaking water of the red chillies, do not add any additional water.
Green Curry Paste Ingredients
3 tsp lemongrass (about 1 and 1/2 stick)
2 inch piece of galangal/ginger – chopped coarsely
2-3 cloves of garlic – roughly chopped
6 stems of coriander – chop of the leaves and gently rinse the steps and chop them finely
5 small green chillies (thai chillies) – these are really hot. So use according to your spice level
5 long green chillies – not so hot
1 tsp turmeric
3 leaves of kaffir lime – Remove the central vein and chop the leaves
1 cup fresh basil
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
In a mortar and pestle – slowly add the ingredients and crush to form a coarse-to-fine paste. Or you can use a blender, but keep the paste coarse. You may use a little water to blend but not too much. Add only as much required.
Both these pastes can be frozen and used for months. So next time, when you have veggies on hand and dont know what to do, go to your secret stash of thai pastes, throw in a tblsp with 1 cup of coconut milk and veggies in a wok and voila! you are done.