Thai Red(dish) Curry Paste

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you would know that I like making things from scratch. Of course the fanfare comes and goes. i like making my own sausages, until I get sick of eating it and I don’t anymore. I used to make my own chicken nuggets until it got too tedious for me. But for what reasons really? Well, foremost, it is cheaper. Taste-wise, it is actually a tie because it varies from experiment to experiment. Quality, well for sure, mine is not compromised. Those things. But I really am curious in making these things anyway.

Nice red ones
Nice red ones

I wanted to have some Thai red curry, and I wanted to make it from scratch. So I googled some recipes on how to make the paste and found some. I also discovered the basic difference in Thai and Indian curry in the process. I have always thought that the curries of Thailand was mostly herbs and leaves since the green curry was like that, but the yellow and red curries share the same spices such as cumin and coriander. But the main difference is that where the Indian dishes have that as the main component, this is only a partial component for Thai curries. The other half are the greens such as lemongrass, cillantro and fresh chilis.

The ground spices
The ground spices

So I bought some of the ingredients I needed and was surprised to find ripe, meaning red, banana (finger) peppers! These are usually green. I have only found ripe ones on a trip to Bicol. But this batch was mostly ripe, and I knew they were perfect for the red pepper paste.

I followed the general directions from the different websites. After the grinding and crushing and making it into a paste, I cooked mine by frying it. I was going to store this and not immediately cook with it. I figured that it was better to cook it than store the paste fresh.

It was quite tasty. Spicy too. I will cook with it in the next couple of days. Let’s see how it turns out 🙂

Cooked paste Not so red :?
Cooked paste Not so red 😕

Thai Red Curry Paste Recipe

1 teaspoon cumin, roasted and ground
1 teaspoon black pepper corns, roasted and ground
1 teaspoon coriander, roasted and ground
10 pieces of banana pepper, sliced small
a couple pinches of salt
1/4 cup lemongrass, white part only, minced
5 kaffir lime leaves, minced
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cillantro
a tablespoon of sugar (to taste)

In a mortar (or food processor), ensure all first three ingredients are ground finely. Set aside. In the same mortar, start with chili peppers and make it into a paste. Make it easier by adding in the salt. Once the ingredient is smashed into a paste, add the next ingredient on the list and beat it into a pulp. Continue until all the ingredients are mixed in.

In a pan, put some oil, and fry the paste. Taste. I added a bit more salt to mine but please note that in the actual cooking, you will still add some shrimp paste to the dish (besides the meat, vegetables, coconut milk, etc.). I added a bit of water to mine to loosen the paste up. Store in the fridge and use as needed.


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