Red Curry Paste

Red Curry Paste in Thai is called Nam Phrik Kaeng Ped. It literally means "spicy curry" It usually consists of a large amount of dried red chili peppers and dried Thai red chilies which are much smaller in size and hotter.

In this recipe, dried red chili peppers are used. You may add dried Thai red chilies if you prefer a hotter flavor.

There are many Thai curry dishes using red curry paste such as steamed fish curry in banana leaves, Red Curry with Roasted Duck or stir fried red curry with pork and beans (pad ped moo kab tua fak yao).

Curry recipes from the south of Thailand is being known for very spicy. Fresh turmeric is used in most curry pastes to enhance the yellow color and hotter flavor. You may try adding fresh turmeric in your red curry dishes as you like. A half piece of turmeric may be used for a curry dish.

Additional unique ingredients to use are coriander and cumin seeds. These additional spices bring a beautiful aroma and strong fragrance that distributes a distinctive flavor to the dish.

Here is my secret for making an aromatic curry paste in traditional ways.

First is to dry fry coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a pan before grinding with a mortar and pestle or faster result I recommend using a coffee grinder (a small portion may not be good to use with a coffee grinder).

Secondly, wrap the shrimp paste with foil and cook under either a hot grill or on a charcoal grill for a few minutes. Doing this will definitely bring a strong fragrance to your curry dish!

Using a stone mortar and pestle, start pounding from wet ingredients (garlic, shallot, chilies, kaffir lime skin, lemongrass and galangal) until smooth, then add ground spices stated on the first step above, and lastly add shrimp paste to form a smooth paste.

red curry paste

Red Curry Paste
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Spicy Level: mild

Dried chilies 5 wholes
Coriander Seeds 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds
2 tsp
Galangal finely chopped 2 tbsp
Lemongrass finely chopped (use part from root to the middle) 1 tbsp
Kaffir lime skin finely chopped 1 tsp
Coriander roots finely chopped 1 tsp
Black peppercorns 1 tsp
Garlic peel skin off 2 tbsp
Shallots peel skin off and sliced ¼ cup
Salt ½ tsp
Shrimp paste 1 tsp

How to make

  • Dry fry coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a pan over low to medium heat. Constantly shake the pan to prevent the seeds burning.

  • Wrap the shrimp paste with foil and cook under a hot grill or you may cook on a charcoal grill for a few minutes.

  • Grind dry fried coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until smooth.

  • Process ground spices, shrimp paste and all fresh ingredients in a food processor until smooth. You may scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula during blending process to help the mixture forms a smooth paste.

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