Thai Curry Paste
Panang Curry Paste
Green Curry Paste
Massaman Curry Paste
Red Curry Paste
Thai Curry Paste in Thai is called Nam Phrik Kaeng or Phrik Kaeng or Krueng Kaeng. Most of the curry pastes are available internationally such as red, panang, massaman, green and yellow curry pastes. I personally think that these ready-made curry pastes are useful for saving time, however, freshly made paste will always give higher level of fragrance and flavors.
Before starting to make a curry paste, you need to know the characters and flavors of each ingredient. This knowledge will assist you to create aromatic fragrance in your curry dishes.
The common spices and herbs used in Thai curries are coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black peppercorns, shallots, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime skin, dried and fresh chilies, turmeric and shrimp paste.
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These spices and herbs enhance a beautiful aroma and strong fragrance that distributes a distinctive flavor to curry dishes. However, there are little secrets for making an aromatic Thai curry pastes in traditional ways.
Before start making a curry paste, dry frying or dry roasting spices are needed as the aroma oil in each spice will be released this brings a unique fragrance to the curry dish. Dry frying is usually involves using a non stick pan and heating spices without using oil over low to medium heat. Be sure to constantly shake the pan to prevent the seeds burning.
The next step is grinding which is traditionally done by using dry fried spices pounded in a stone mortar and pestle. To reduce timing, I recommend using a coffee grinder. However, if you have small portion of spices, grinding with a coffee grinder may not be suitable.
The last step before you can blend all ingredients is grilling the shrimp paste (used in all curry pastes) on a hot grill or a charcoal grill which will release a unique flavor and fragrance to curry dishes.
On a short timing basis, dry frying and grinding methods can be skipped to blending ingredients. You may use ground spices instead. You can either add the spices directly when blend the curry or alternatively you fry them with the blended curry paste with oil. You curry paste will still be tasteful!
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