Make Your Own Red Curry Paste

>> Tuesday, March 23, 2010

 Let me begin by apologizing for my prolonged absence from the blog. Over the past few weeks I've been struggling with some pretty ugly headaches. They are not eradicated yet but with the help of my doc, I am working on it. Despite this setback, I want to stick to my promise to post more often so let's start this week right (yeah, I know it's Tuesday, give me a break!)

Spring is here! In Los Angeles, the flowers are blooming, the grass is green, the sun is shining and the fruits and veggies that have been absent all winter are sneaking back into the farmer's market stalls, one by one. Strawberries! Asparagus! Artichokes! WooHOOO! Veggies of all kinds are perfect for today's recipe.

I love Thai take-out but I my sous-chef and I are working on saving money by cutting way down on eating out and ordering take-out. This curry paste lets me make my favorite Thai curries at home! Using fresh veggies and making my own rice, we can eat for pennies and the food is so good, I actually like it better than the take-out we used to get because I can customize it and make it my own. Bamboo shoots: out! Cauliflower: in! SO easy!

I got many of my ingredients from Simpang Asian Market and plain ol Ralph's. If you are having trouble finding these ingredients near you, you might try asking someone from your fave Thai take out place where they get their lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves.
 I learned how to make this Thai curry paste in cooking school. My cooking school blog has been in a holding pattern while I work on merging that blog with this one but I couldn't wait any longer to share this recipe with you. It's incredibly vibrant in color and taste, it will stain anything it touches but will also drown veggies, fish, tofu, chicken or anything else in flavor. I like to mix it into some coconut milk and add enough Sriracha to make it a little spicy then go nuts with add ins. I will share a couple of great curry recipes in the next week or so, but first, you gotta make this curry paste! P.S. It's vegan!

Thai Curry Paste
- 10 large dried red chiles, Guajillos or New Mexican
 - 2" section of Galangal or ginger
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 2 whole kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade
- 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
- 3 Tbsp cilantro stems
- 3 garlic cloves
- 5 shallots
- 1-2 fresh thai chilis (cut of the top and toss in)
Cut tops off dried chiles, cut in half, remove seeds and soak the chiles in HOT water until tender.
 Reserve the water to use later in thinning the curry paste.
Pound the chiles, garlic and galangal together until semi-smooth with a mortar and pestle OR blend in a blender.
My blender was not up to this task so I moved everything to the food processor and pulverized it.
Once smooth, add the remaining ingredients and blend until completely smooth. 
If needed, add a small amount of leftover chile water to get a smooth paste. (I added too much. My paste ended up with more of a pudding consistency but it still tasted great and works fine in recipes.)
This recipe yields 1/3 - 1 cup curry paste. It will keep up to 2 months in the fridge in an airtight container or zippered plastic bag.


Post a Comment

please leave comments or questions!