Curry Pastes East-Asian

1 Jan

Curry pastes form the base of many East Asian curries particularly those from Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Burma. I find it handy to make up batches of paste when I have the ingredients available. It makes knocking out a tasty meal a doddle and the pastes keep for as long as a month in the fridge or can be frozen for longer storage. These are my favourite curry pastes so far.


Thai Red Curry Paste
I make my red curry paste HOT, aromatic and with a real capsicum kick. The red colour comes from the large quantity of red chillis, paprika and sweet peppers used.


15-20 red chillis,
1 large or several small sweet red peppers
2-3 mild paprika peppers or 1 tsp paprika powder
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
4 coriander roots, scrubbed clean
3cm piece of peeled ginger, roughly chopped
2-3 stalks lemon grass, tops and outer stalks removed
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp white peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp shrimp paste (optional)

Grind the dry spices to a fine powder. Remove the stalks and cores from the peppers and chillis and put them into the bowl of a food processor, add the spice powder and the rest of the ingredients and whizz to a paste. Grind to as fine or a rough a texture as you want. The paste is now ready to use. If you want to store the paste spoon into a sterilised glass jar, top with oil to seal and store in the fridge. The paste will keep for about one month. To store for longer use an ice-cube tray to freeze cubes which will keep frozen for 3 months.

Laksa Curry Paste (makes about 4-6 tbsp)

Laksa-Curry-Paste.jpgThis mild aromatic curry paste is used to make the famous Laska, vegetables, fish, chicken or meat with noodles in a spiced coconut broth. This paste is also great for making a quick curry with a South East Asian twist.
3 red shallots,
2 stalks lemon grass, tops and outer stalks removed
small piece galangal
2-3 hot Thai chillis
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp turmeric
10 laksa leaves
2 tsp dried shrimp
1 tbsp desiccated coconut
To make the paste, peel and roughly chop the  ingredients, remove the seeds from the chillis (unless you want it extra hot) and grind together adding a little water or oil if necessary. 

Thai Green Curry Paste
It is easy to find this curry paste ready made but it is so much better if you make it yourself. This fabulous Thai invention turns any kind of vegetable, fish or meat into the most delicious aromatic and spicy delight with just the addition of coconut milk.
4cm piece of galangal
2 stalks lemon grass, outer skin and dry ends removed
6 cloves garlic
6 kaffir lime leaves
juice of half lime about 1 tbsp
1 tsp black cumin seeds, dry roasted
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 tbsp coriander stalks roots and all
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 fresh Thai green chillis
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Thai Green Curry Paste II

1 tbsp roasted coriander seeds
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
5 white pepper corns
15-30 fresh green birdseye chillis
10 cloves garlic), chopped
5 shallots, peeled
3 stalks lemon grass,thinly sliced
1-2 tsp fermented shrimp paste (kapi)
1 tsp galangal, chopped
1 coriander plant; roots, leaves, flowering stalks the lot.
Toast the first 3 spices in a dry skillet or heavy pan to release the full flavour then grind in a mortar and pestle. Wash the coriander plant very carefully to remove all traces of soil. Put all the ingredients and the ground spices into a food processor and process to a paste. If you have the muscles for it by all means bash the whole lot up in the mortar. The paste will keep for about 1 month in a sealed jar in the fridge or it can be frozen. Freeze in portion size amounts using an ice cube tray.


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