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Massaman curry paste

Serves: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Authentic Thai cuisine

curries, basics

Difficulty: Super Easy

This classic Southern Thai curry paste is influenced by the spice trade with India and Malaysia, hence the use of cloves and cardamom, which you won’t find in most Thai dishes. It’s aromatic rather than spicy, so you will need to dry-fry or roast many of the ingredients before pounding them into a paste – that’s what gives this mild curry its distinctive taste.

Tools: Pestle And Mortar, Food processor


5 shallots, unpeeled
2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons sliced galangal
1 lemongrass stalk, sliced
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cloves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 dried red spur chillies, deseeded and soaked until tender
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon shrimp paste


  1. In a wok or frying pan, dry-fry the whole shallots and garlic over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until golden and soft. Set aside to cool, then peel off the skin.
  2. Dry-fry the galangal and lemongrass over a medium heat until fragrant and slightly golden (about 2–3 minutes). Set aside.
  3. Dry-fry the coriander seeds, cumin, cloves and peppercorns for 2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring continuously. Pound or grind to a powder.
  4. Finely pound or grind the chillies and salt. Add the roasted galangal and lemon grass and pound or grind well. Add the shallots and garlic and continue to pound or grind, then add the ground roasted spices, the cardamom and the shrimp paste.
  5. Mix until smooth.

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