Let’s learn how to make this tasty Thai staple – Thai Green Curry Paste. I’ll tell you a secret: it’s ok to use ground spices and skip the roasting and grinding. But your spices have to be top-notch fresh. The paste will not have the same pungency and aroma as going through the steps below, but we live in the real world and sometimes you need to make your life easier.
Are you looking for how to use the curry? See my recipe for Thai Chicken in Green Curry with Aromatic Herbs
You’ll notice in the photo that I had to use red thai chilies this time around. I keep a bag of them in my freezer – I actually prefer the frozen ones to fresh – same hit of spice, but easier to chop and handle, still sometimes ending up in my eye, but anyway… I was fresh out of green chilies. Not to worry. If you find yourself in the same predicament just take care to reduce the chili volume from 1/2 cup (you really don’t want a 1/2 cup of red thai chilies in here :)) to 8 – 10 chilies.
The paste will keep in the fridge for 3 days, or put it in a small freezer bag, punch to remove all air bubbles and store in the freezer until you need it.
Below is the authentic recipe:
- 1 tbs whole coriander seed
- 1 tsp whole cumin seed
- 5 peppercorns
- 3 stalks lemongrass
- ¼ chopped cilantro roots, leaves and stems
- 1 tbs fresh chopped galangal or ginger
- 1 tsp finely minced lime peel
- 3 tbs chopped garlic
- 2 tbs chopped shallot, pan fried until golden
- ½ cup fresh green thai chilies, stemmed and chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- Place the coriander seed in a small skillet and dry fry over medium heat until darkened a little and fragrant, 3-5 mins. Shake the pan to prevent burning. Transfer to a small bowl and cool.
- Roast the cumin seed in the same way. Combine the roasted spices and the peppercorns and grind to a fine powder, in a mortar with a pestle or in a spice grinder. Set aside.
- Trim the lemongrass stalks. Cut away and discard the grassy tops, leaving a stalk about 3 inches long. Cut away any hard root. Discard outer tough leaves. Slice each stalk crosswise very thinly. Coarsely chop.
- In a food processor, or blender, add the lemongrass, cilantro roots, galangal and lime peel. Process until broken down. Add the garlic, shallot and continue processing. Add the chilies, ground spices, salt and shrimp paste.
- Grind until the paste is fairly smooth.