I don’t know if you have tried a recipe for Thai red curry paste, but I do know YOU NEED TOO!! I mean what I say too once you try this recipe you will not want to buy it at the store anymore! This homemade Thai red curry paste is not only tastier than the store bought versions, its healthier too! You will not be disappointed by the end of this short read!
What is Thai Red Curry Paste
Thai red curry paste is, essentially, a puree of vegetables and aromatics that is used as a base flavor profile for certain Thai dishes. Traditionally the ingredients for this red curry paste are slowly crushed together by using a mortar and pestle, this takes a lot of work, but it is said to release the vegetable oils better.
A recipe for Thai red curry paste is the most versatile of all the Thai curries! In layman’s terms, this paste can be found in the most dishes in Thai cuisine. Thai red curry paste recipes will vary from person to person. You will see noticeably short and simple recipes, and you will come across exceedingly long recipes.
I Like to keep my red curry paste simple, because I think using to many ingredients will result in loss of flavor at a certain point. What I mean is, there comes a point when adding more ingredients covers up the flavor of others. In most cases, I have found simplicity in recipes to produce better tasting food.
Thai Red Curry Paste Ingredients
One greats aspect of this recipe for Thai red curry paste is the flexibility of ingredients. A traditional Thai red curry paste recipe calls for ingredients that you may have not heard of. Coriander root, galangal, spur chiles, and shrimp paste are examples of the extremely specific ingredients in an authentic recipe. If you are looking for an authentic recipe, check this one out right here!
Here are the ingredients for this super easy recipe for Thai red curry paste
Onions& Garlic- These ingredients are the basis of flavor itself. You will find some form of onions in most curry pastes.
Dried Thai Chiles- These little peppers bring the heat (but not too much heat) to your recipe for Thai red curry paste. You can sub these out for a less spicy chili if you don’t like spicy.
Lemon Grass & Ginger- These ingredients bring a crisp freshness to the table with floral undertones that are unique to the Thai curry.
Tomatoes- Tomatoes give the paste a big more body and mellow out the spicy. They also bring a nice fresh acidity, and when cooked, add depth of flavor.
Cilantro- Gives off an herbaceous flavor and fragrant aroma. Cilantro can be left out altogether if you aren’t a fan.
Lime- The zest and juice tie all the flavors together with an underlying natural citrus acidity. It also helps the food processor spin!
Spices- Spices like coriander, white pepper, and cumin bring aromatic flavor in the best way to this recipe for Thai red curry paste. Don’t forget the salt!
How to Make Thai Red Curry Paste
I know the ingredients may seem like a lot, but I promise you this recipe is super easy! The hardest part is gathering the ingredients.
Once you have gathered the ingredients you have a choice to make! You can make this recipe in the blender, or you can make this recipe in the food processor. I personally like to use the food processor because it leaves the paste a little chunky, and I like the way it translates into recipes later on.
Whichever appliance you choose, the rest is simple. To carryout this recipe, you simply blend everything together! You may need a bit of water to help the food processor spin, I like to use some of the water I soaked the dried chiles in.
Once the Thai red curry paste is pureed, it is ready to eat! If you are planning ahead and making this before you need it, transfer this paste into an airtight container and into the fridge.
Thai Red Curry Paste Pro Tips
Toast The Spices
Toasting your spices helps draw out their flavor making them more defined and boldening their flavor. This translates directly into the end result of this recipe for Thai red curry paste.
Grind Spices First
When beginning to make your red curry paste be sure to grind your spices first. Before you throw all of the ingredients into your food processor or blender, give the spices a head start! Grinding the spices first, then throwing in the rest of the ingredients will ensure you don’t end up with whole seeds in your paste. More importantly, you don’t get whole seeds in your recipes later on.
Soak Your Chiles
Soak your dried chiles in hot water for a few minutes. This will soften them up and make them easier to blend into a paste.
Save Your Chile Soaking Water
When using a food processor to blend your Thai red curry paste, you will find often times it becomes too thick to blend. Save a bit of your chili soaking water and add to your food processor just until it begins to spin. This will help you make a uniform product.
Store your recipe for Thai red curry paste in an airtight container in cold storage for up to a week. I have found the best way to store this recipe is to place it in a glass jar with a twist lid. Be sure to tap all the air bubbles out! Lastly, cover the top of the paste in the jar with a neutral flavored cooking oil. This creates a seal over the top to reduce any discoloration and keep it fresh!
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Food processor
- Small glass jar
- 1 vessel for soaking chiles
- 1 pan for toasting spices
- 1 knife
- 1 cutting board
Easy Thai Red Curry Paste Recipe FAQS
Is this recipe for Thai red curry paste spicy?
This recipe uses dried Thai chiles so yes, it is on the spicier side. The tomatoes really mellow it out, but it still has a kick! If you want to tone down the spice level in this recipe, you can substitute the dried Thai chiles you can use ancho chiles which provide a smokey flavor. Another less spicy alternative are serrano peppers!
Can I use curry powder instead of red curry paste?
These two ingredients do have similar flavors, but they won’t give you the same results. Making a fresh Thai red curry paste adds a bright fresh flavor, while curry powder offers a “shadow” of the flavor you would get from paste.
The paste does more than just add flavor! If using paste, it helps thicken your liquid into a beautiful fragrant sauce. This works really well with coconut milk.
Is Thai red curry paste vegetarian? Vegan?
This recipe is vegan! Traditionally, a recipe for Thai red curry paste will have dried shrimp or shrimp paste. So be sure to check labels if you are buying at the store!
Thai Red Curry Paste Recipe
- Food Processor
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- 3 tsp Cumin Seed toasted, ground
- 3 tsp Coriander Seed toasted, ground
- 12 each Dried Thai Chiles soaked, reserve soaking water
- 8 Clove Garlic
- 1/4 Cup Yellow Onion quartered
- 3 Tbsp Ginger sliced
- 3 Tbsp Lemon Grass sliced
- 1 Medium Tomato quartered
- 2 each Lime juice and zest
- 1 Tbsp Cilantro chopped
- Begin by gathering all the ingredients and setting up your food processor. I use a mortar and pestle in this recipe, but you definitely dont have to do that. If you haven't toasted your spices yet, now is the time to do so.
- Toast these spices in a sauté pan over very low heat. Be sure to keep the spices moving in the pan. Cook like this until the spices are very fragrant.
- Once the spices are toasted, transfer to the food processor and blend them first so they dont get missed later on.
- Now add the rest of your ingredients in your food processor. You can do this in batches if you need too.
- Finally, transfer this recipe for Thai red curry paste into a storage vessel. I recommend using a glass jar with a twist top lid. Be sure to add a teaspoon of neutral flavored oil on the top of your paste to create a seal and keep it fresher longer.