Making your own curry paste is easier than you think, and is worth the extra effort. Most of the ingredients can be found at an Asian supermarket, but if they're too hard to track down feel free to use the alternatives listed. This recipe yields quite a bit of curry paste, so you may want to freeze the extras in an ice cube tray, then store in a zip-top bag for future use.
|Prep Time||10 minutes|
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
- 8 ounces chiles green Thai, seeded and chopped (remove all the seeds for a mild curry; remove only some for a spicier curry)
- 1 bunch scallions green parts only, chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves and stems
- 1/4 cup galangal root peeled and chopped (alternatively, you may use fresh ginger)
- 3 tablespoons turmeric fresh, peeled and chopped (do not substitute ground turmeric)
- 2 stalks lemongrass tender bottom part only, chopped
- 3 kaffir lime leaves chopped (or the zest of 3 limes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste (optional)
- Important note: Do not handle Thai chiles or large quantities of any hot pepper without wearing gloves. Seeding Thai chiles is not for the faint of heart - they are tiny and incredibly hot. This is why serranos or jalapenos are recommended as an alternative.
- Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and white peppercorns in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Toast until fragrant and the white peppercorns are beginning to get a little color, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Combine the cooled, toasted spices along with the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. If using a blender, put the lighter ingredients, like cilantro, in first and the heavier ingredients on top. As you puree the ingredients, the mixture will be fairly dry. With this in mind, be sure to use your blender's tamper to help blend the ingredients evenly. If using a food processor, scrape down the bowl regularly to ensure a smooth paste.
- Blend until homogenous and fairly smooth. If desired, pack the paste into ice cube trays and freeze. Pop out the frozen cubes and store in a zipper-top bag. You may store some of the fresh paste in a container in the refrigerator, but be sure to use it within two weeks.
- When you use the curry paste, start with one frozen cube (or about 2 tablespoons fresh paste) for a curry that will generously feed two people. This will make a moderately spicy, deeply flavorful curry. If you like very spicy curries, you may way to use up to two frozen cubes (or about 1/4 cup fresh paste). Start small and work your way up. To get the best flavor form your homemade curry paste, fry it in a couple tablespoons of coconut milk before adding other ingredients.
Adapted from Food52