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Red curry paste

Serves: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Authentic Thai cuisine

basics, curries

Difficulty: Super Easy

At my house in the north of Thailand, we always made our own curry pastes from scratch, using ingredients from the herb garden at the back of the house – the perks of living on a farm. I used to hate making curry paste as we had only a pestle and mortar and the ingredients seemed to take forever to grind down. I didn’t get to use a food processor until I was much older! Hope you enjoy this recipe (with a bit of help from the trusty blender).

Red curry paste works with fish, chicken, veggies, beef, duck and more. Try our salmon red curry or butternut red curry for a vegetarian alternative.



5 dried red chillies, deseeded and soaked until tender
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon galangal, finely sliced
2 tablespoons lesser galangal, finely sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated kaffir lime zest (or the leaves, which are more readily available dried or frozen)
2 teaspoons sliced coriander root (or stalk)
10 small garlic cloves
1/3 shallot, sliced
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and ground
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (leave out for vegetarian alternative)


  1. Finely grind the chillies and salt together using a pestle and mortar, blender or food processor.
  2. When you have a fine paste, add the two types of galangal, plus the lemongrass, lime zest and coriander root. Blend again or pound to a fine paste.
  3. Dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds for 2 minutes (until fragrant), stirring continuously, then pound or grind to a powder.
  4. Add the garlic, shallot, ground spices and shrimp paste. Continue to blend or pound until smooth.
  5. If you store it in an airtight container, this paste will keep in your fridge for up to 8 weeks. Pop it in the freezer on the day it’s made and you’ll have fresh curry paste for 6 months (top tip: freeze individual portions so you can defrost them as you need them).

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