Thai curry pastes are generally made up of a combination of fresh and dried ingredients.
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 undisturbed life! Like me!
Now the key to success is fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients and spices.
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
Dried1 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
Fresh5g (1 teaspoon) galingale, skin removed and chopped 15g (1 tablespoon) lemon grass, lover part of the stalk 5g (1 teaspoon) Makrut lime peel, chopped 2 tablespoons coriander roots, chopped 2 tablespoons shallots, chopped 1 tablespoon garlic, crushed 1 teaspoon shrimp paste 1 teaspoon fresh turmeric, skinned and chopped 20 small, green chilies 1 cup (30g) sweet basil leaves
If you don’t have or can’t find some of the ingredients on the list, here are some substitutesGinger for galingale Regular limes for Makrut lime peel Coriander/Cilantro stalks/stems for coriander roots Red onions for shallots Dried Turmeric for fresh turmeric 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 🙂 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.
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.
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.
That’s it. Ready.
Store in a jar with a tight lid. You can keep in the refrigerator but use within a week or freeze…for up to 6 months, preferably in cubes