Red curry paste

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  • 15 dried red chilies
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seed
  • 2 stems lemongrass
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shallots, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp galangal, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp grated lime zest (kaffir limes if you can get them)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp shrimp paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground white pepper


Soak the chilies in warm water until soft.

Dry roast the coriander in a small skillet for a minute or two, then pound to a powder in a mortar and pestle.

Cut off the dry, tough tops of the lemon grass and the stemmy bottom below the point at which the layers emerge, and remove the tough outer layers. Slice the remainder. (Some directions we saw said to use only about 4 inches from the bottom end, but we used at least twice that. But I think it should all be fairly moist.)

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle in the oil as you process, and gradually add a few Tbsp of water as needed to form a smooth paste. Add the salt and pepper and briefly process to combine.

Refrigerate or, for really long term storage, freeze.