This recipe for Thai Red Curry Paste is the prelude to a recipe, well actually, many recipes before and after.
My husband loves Thai food although over the years he has gravitated away from the richer dishes. Red curry still has a special place in his heart. Back in the day, I had made versions of the red curry paste from recipe books on hand. I ended up with various ingredients such as dried shrimp, fish sauce, etc some of which I did not later have much use for. For a while I used canned red curry pastes. Some of them worked pretty well, my favorite brand being the Mae Sri one.
Then thanks to H-Mart, I had a ready supply of ingredients such as lemongrass, kafir lime leaves and stuff. The quest for creating a practical reasonably authentic tasting curry paste began. Sure it is good to have a ready made option, but nothing beats the flavors of your own homemade creation when it comes to spices. Making your own also allows you to control the amount of heat and other flavors that you like more or less of.
I actually add in some sweet red bell pepper into the mix, not authentic but it complements the mixture well. It adds a gentle fragrant sweetness with a lots of color. It helps me add body to the mixture without notching up the heat too much. This paste works well for my vegan and vegetarian friends and frankly any time I have used it, I have not seen complaints from the husband. A few attempts done, I am ready to save this recipe for posterity.
A beautiful easy to make fresh tasting thai red curry paste.
- 10 dried spicy red chilies, soaked for 15 minutes in 1/4 water
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 6 kafir lime leaves
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger or galangal
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemongrass, the bulb portion only
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon powdered coriander
- 1 teaspoon powdered cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered black pepper
- 1/4 cup mild chili powder or paprika
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Place the soaked red chillies, bell pepper, lime leaves, shallots, ginger and garlic in the blender with 2 tablespoons water. Pulse a few times and then blend until smooth. It might need to be stopped a few times and scraped to ensure an even blending.
- Add in the powdered coriander, cumin, black pepper, mild chili powder or paprika, brown sugar and soy sauce and blend again until smooth.
- Store in a non reactive jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use this.