Developed over years by the RecipeTin Family, this is our Thai Red Curry Paste recipe that will make a curry that is truly tastes like what you get at great Thai restaurants. Guided by world renowned Thai Chefs, this is a Thai Red Curry paste recipe that's doable for any home cook that we truly believe stacks up to the best of what you'll get at restaurants. See post for more background information. Use this to make Thai Red Curry! Recipe VIDEO above. Enjoy!
16dried chillis, chopped into 1 cm / 0.5" pieces seeds shaken out (Note 1)
1tbspchopped coriander/cilantro stem and roots(Note 5)
2red shallots, peeled and roughly chopped (Note 6)
¼cupreserved chilli soaking water
Taste dried chillies for spiciness - see Note 1. Place the chopped chillies in a large boil and pour over about 3 cups of freshly boiled water. Leave to soak for a good 30 minutes or so.
Remove chillis and reserve water.
Put chillis in a blender or powerful food processor.
Add remaining curry paste ingredients into the blender along with 1/4 cup of the chilli soaking water.
Blitz on high until smooth - test by rubbing between your fingers. It takes around 20 seconds in my Vitamix which is a powerful blender. It might take up to 1 minute. Use a touch more water as required to aide with blending.
Scrape into a bowl or airtight container. Store for up to 3 days in the fridge, or freeze it to use later.
Use in place of store bought curry paste in recipes that call for it - especially Thai Red Curry!
1. Spiciness - This curry paste is supposed to be quite spicy but not totally blow-your-head-off. This recipe is made with the generic Asian dried chillies purchased from Asian grocery stores which are usually not that spicy, it's more about the flavour they bring to curries. But in this recipe, we use a LOT of the dried chillies as they are the key flavour base, so they do make the paste spicy. The spiciness of chillies (dried and fresh) is like playing roulette - at different times of the year, they go up and down. The only way to really control how spicy your curry will be is to taste the chilli. If it's not that spicy, proceed with the recipe. But if it's spicy, then feel free to dial it back!It is not made with the small Thai Chillies which are considerably spicier. If using dried Thai chillies, use 6 - 8.You can substituted with other dried red chillies but always check spiciness first!2. 1 lemongrass with a thick stem is usually sufficient. Peel the tough green outer layers and slice the inside.3. Galangal looks like ginger but is more citrusy and harder. It's actually pretty hard to cut. Most recipes will tell you just to toss in chunks, but unless you have an extremely powerful blender or food processor, there's a strong chance you end up with grainy curry. So I strongly recommend grating it - it's the best way to ensure it blends in.You can find it in some grocery stores in Australia (Harris Farms and some Woolworths sell it). If you can't find it, use the same amount of ginger + the zest of 1 lime (in addition to what is already in the recipe).4. Shrimp Paste - I use Por Kwan Shrimp Paste in Bean Oil, the most popular one sold at Asian grocery stores here in Australia. (Here are some online links - for Australia and America). While many authentic recipes will say to use ordinary shrimp paste which is made with just fermented shrimp and salt (it comes either in small jars or dried blocks), we find that using Shrimp Paste sold in jars where other flavouring have been added (mainly oil, a bit of garlic, and soy sauce powder) goes a long way to making a truly restaurant quality curry paste. This is especially so when using a blender instead of mortar and pestle as when dried chillies are ground by hand, the natural oils are extracted. So using a shrimp paste in oil makes up for this.If you can't find Shrimp Paste in oil, Belacan is an adequate substitute which, believe it or not, is sold at Woolworths in Australia. Use 2 teaspoons, just sort of crumble it to measure out and put it straight into the blender. No need to rehydrate, like when used in other recipes.5. Coriander roots / stems - you'll find that authentic recipes call for coriander roots which has great coriander flavour. In Western grocery stores and most Asian stores (at least, here in Australia), coriander is typically sold with barely any roots at the base of the bunch. Cleaning the little roots there are is a pain, and if you don't clean it well, you end up with dirt grit in the sauce. So I get around this by using the stem instead - and more of it. Fresh coriander in any form is not a major ingredient in the curry paste because you lose so much of the flavour when it is sautéed for the curry, so don't get too hung up about this.6. Eshalots are the baby red onions. Sometimes called red shallots, French shallots.7. Blender vs food processor - because of the quantity of paste, I find it works better to use a blender and also typically, blenders are more powerful than food processors. I have a Vitamix blender which is very powerful, ideal for making red curry paste. This will work in a food processor as long as it's a decent powered one, and if yours is a large food processor, it's best to use the insert.8. USES: Use this homemade Thai Red Curry Paste in place of store bought in recipes that call for it. The most common use is Thai Red Curry. Red Curry Paste is also a key flavour base for many other Thai dishes, from soups to curries to stir fries, and Thai Fish Cakes.9. References: Over the years, we have referenced many sources in arriving at what we believe is the perfect balance of flavours. This includes some of the best Thai Chefs in the world, including David Thompson (Australia's Michelin starred Thai food expert), Sujet Saenkham (of Australia's popular Spice I Am Thai Restaurants), Sailors Thai, Chat Thai, Khao Pla, Gourmet Traveller, Chinta Rhia. We also referenced this Authentic Thai Red Curry Paste recipe from Eating Thai Food. We would say the DNA of our recipe is from David Thompson.