How to make Red Curry Paste

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons white pepper corns
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • 8 dry red spur chilies (soaked in water for about 10 minutes to soften them)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 10 – 14 small cloves of garlic
  • 5 small shallots (Thai shallots are the size of grapes, so it’s about 2 tablespoons worth)
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced coriander roots
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced ginger
  • Skin of ½ lime

Instructions

Using a mortar and pestle is the easiest way. If you don’t have one, you can use a blender to make this red curry paste recipe.
First, smash the dry ingredients. Add 3 teaspoons of white pepper corns to your mortar and pound it until it’s a fine powder.
Add ½ teaspoon of cumin and ½ teaspoon of coriander to the pepper and mix it all thoroughly, and then set them aside in a small bowl.

NOTE: If you only have pre-ground white pepper, you can eliminate the first step and just mix these 3 spices together in a small bowl.

Take 8 dry spur chilies (prik chee fa haeng), soak them in water for a few minutes to re-hydrate them, then drain the chilies. Cut off their stems, and you can then chop them into small centimeter pieces. You can take out the seeds to make their red curry paste less spicy.
Add the chopped dry chilies to the mortar along with ½ teaspoon of salt and start pounding. Keep on pounding for about 5 – 10 minutes until most of the chilies are nice and broken, the oils are coming out, and it’s starting to looks almost tomatoey.
Step back over to your chopping board and peel about 10 – 14 cloves of garlic. If the cloves are really big, use about 8.
Next peel 5 small shallots Chop them into small pieces.
Take 1 stalk of lemongrass, pull off and discard the outermost leaf, and then slice it from the bottom into small slivers. You want enough for 1 tablespoon.
Take the fresh coriander roots from about 3 stalks, cut off the roots, slice them into small pieces, and again you want about 1 tablespoon worth of coriander roots
Take your ginger and slice it into pieces, enough for 1 tablespoon worth.
Next take a fresh lime and slice off only the green skin. You want to slice off the skin very delicately, making sure you get mostly green, not cutting off any of the white pith. I used the skin from about ½ of the lime.
Toss all of those ingredients into the already pounded chilies. Pound and pound until you’ve got a buttery, oily, and extremely fragrant Thai red curry paste. This should take anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes, again, you can alternatively use a blender or food processor.
When your paste is buttery and smooth, go back to your bowl of white pepper and dry spices, and mix it into the paste. Mix it all in and smooth it out.
Done :)

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