Make Thai Green curry paste

 

 Thai curry pastes are generally made up of a combination of fresh and dried ingredients.

Thai green curry paste

I find it a very therapeutic and fragrant way to relax on a saturday afternoon. Now, if subjecting yourself to this kind of torture is not something you like to do with amazing regularity, by all means plan to make a huge batch and freeze so you can ease into a remarkably comfortable and undistured life! Like me!

Now the key to success is fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients and spices.

Ingredients for the curry paste

It is best to use whole ‘spices’  (cumin, coriander seeds) as opposed to in their ground form. The whole seeds have much more flavour and essence and oils than the ground so if you can, you’ll be giving your paste a huge lift to start with. 

Ingredients you’ll need

Dried

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, dry roasted
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, dry roasted
1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns (optional to dry roast)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Fresh

5g (1 teaspoon) galingale, skin removed and chopped
15g (1 tablespoon) lemon grass, lover part of the stalk
5g (1 teaspoon) Kaffir lime peel, chopped
2 tablespoons coriander roots, chopped
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 teaspoon fresh tumeric, skinned and chopped
20 small, green chillies
1 cup (30g) sweet basil leaves

Substitutes

If you don’t have or can’t find some of the ingredients on the list, here are some subsitutes

Ginger for galingale
Regular limes for Kaffir lime peel
Coriander/Cilantro stalks/stems for coriander roots
Red onions for shallots
Dried Tumeric for fresh tumeric
 
You could use a mix of basil leaves like I did, smoked garlic instead of regular….I guess the whole point is to keep the recipe more or less the same while varying as many parameters as possible…in a sensible way 🙂

Smoked garlic Smoked garlic - peeled Kaffir Limes Coriander roots 

I don’t know what you’d be able to substitute for the pungent, strong-smelling shrimp paste :-). If you don’t have it, leave it out. I’ve certainly made many curry pastes without it so don’t stress.
Shrimp paste Shrimp paste
Method

You can choose to dry roast all the dry spices at the same time in one pan. If so, start frying them one before the other, starting out with the largest….in his case the peppercorns. After 1/2 a minute, add the coriander seeds, followed by the cumin and toss about till fragrant. If you’re not comfortable with this, just dry roast them individually.

Spices for the curry pasteWhole dry-roasted spices

When ready, put them into a mortar and grind them into a powder. This is an important step. If you don’t crush them before you mix with the wet ingredients, you’ll end up with whole spices in the mix – and you don’t want that.

Crushed dry spices Crushed spices

Next step is to put all the wet ingredients together in a blender, add the dry and blend away till smooth. If you prefer, you can also do this by hand in a mortar and pestle.

Ingredients for Thai green curry paste

That’s it. Ready.

Thai green curry paste

Store in a jar with a tight lid. You can keep in the refigerator but use within a week or freeze…for up to 6 months, preferably in cubes
Thai Green Curry Paste on Foodista