Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste

While traveling through Thailand I fell so madly, deeply, head-over-heels in love with Thai food that, still to this day, no other food even comes close to its magical powers. If I had to eat one type of food for the rest of my life it would be Thai food. No question.

So, I broke my daily travel budget of $20 USD and took a Thai cooking class. I just had to know how they did it.

First, at least in this particular case, she used a mortar and pestle. Umm, yeah, that's the only time I used that method (hint: food processor). Used ingredients like coriander root and kaffir lime (hard to find in the US) and lots and lots of real, whole, fatty coconut cream and milk (when it came time to make the curry). No reduced fat stuff, you guys. It just does not taste the same.

That is what I learned.

So, when I got home I made my own Thai curry paste. It was good, but not the same. Then I went to Thai restaurants in our area. Still, not the same (and they had great reviews). And then I realized, Thai food will never be the same again. Ever. Unless I go back to Thailand, of course. 

So I got back to work, working on my own Thai red curry paste following the guidance and recipe from the one in Thailand. After several tries, this was my favorite. WARNING: It's spicy (the way I like it)- cut the amount of small red chillies in half (at least) if you prefer a more mild curry.

I used to buy store bought curry paste and found that, aside from color, it offered little flavor. Not to mention, it's expensive! You guys, making your own is super easy, all you need is a blender or food processor (or mortar and pestle!) and you're good to go!

What are your favorite Thai dishes?

Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste

Total Time: 10 minutes


2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemongrass, lower 1/3 chopped
2 teaspoons kaffir lime, peeled and chopped (substitute orange peel)
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh garlic
2-3 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons shrimp or anchovy paste
10 small dried red chillies (to make it spicy, use less if you prefer a more mild curry)
3 large dried red chillies, seeds removed and soaked in water for 15 minutes
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3-4 cardamom pods, roasted and ground
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
water (as needed)


Place all ingredients into a heavy duty blender or food processor. Slowly add water as needed and blend until smooth. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze and store in 2-4 tablespoon amounts for later use.

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