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Penang curry paste

  • Makes ¾ cup
Penang curry paste

Paenang curry pastes can be purchased at specialty Asian stores or if wished you can prepare from scratch. Alternatively use a prepared Thai red curry paste from the supermarket.


Dry spice mix

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roasted
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, roasted
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted
  • 2 blades mace, roasted
  • 1 cardamom pod, roasted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 long dried red chillies, seeds removed

Wet herb mix

  • 1 small green pepper, grilled until black and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemongrass
  • peel from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander root
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion or shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • ½ teaspoon shrimp or fish paste, optional
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce


  1. Place all the roasted spices, salt and chillies for the dry mix into a coffee grinder and process until finely chopped.
  2. Transfer the ground spices to a food processor and add the ingredients from the wet-herb mix and process to form a smooth paste. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil, if wished, to obtain a very smooth paste.

Cooks Tips

- To roast spices, place them in a dry frying pan and cook over a low heat, shaking regularly until they are lightly browned and fragrant. It is best to pan-fry them all spearately as the small seeds like cumin will burn before larger seeds like coriander. - Coriander is often sold with the root cut off (you can get just the leaves and stems). Try to buy coriander by the bunch so you can use the flavour-packed roots, too.

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