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Thai Red And Green Curry Paste

  • Makes ¾ cups
Thai Red And Green Curry Paste

Preparing Thai curry pastes from scratch is like giving your nose a symphony in flavour. Once the spices begin to grind down, their volatile oils are released sending wafts of spice, sweet, fragrant, sour and herb flying. Adjust the temperature of the paste with the amount of chillies that you add.


Red Curry Paste

  • 8 dried red chillies
  • 1 lime (see Cook’s Tips)
  • 4-5 stems lemon grass (see Cook’s Tips)
  • 8 thin slices galangal (see Cook’s Tips)
  • 4 shallots, peeled
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1- 1½ tblsp salt

Green Curry Paste

  • Substitute 8-10 long green deseeded chillies for the red ones.


  1. Soak the dried chillies in warm water for 1 hour or until well softened, then strain. Cut the skin away from the lime and discard the pulp. Chop the lemon grass roughly.
  2. In a food processor put the chillies, lime skin, lemon grass, galangal, shallots, garlic, star anise, peppercorns, cumin, coriander, shrimp paste and salt. Process to form a smooth paste. Keep refrigerated in a covered container. (I find a lidded glass jar the best for keeping pastes.)

Cooks Tips

If wished use a mortar and pestle to pound the spices and flavourings to a paste. - Chillies: use large dried red chillies (not small dried bird’s eye chillies). Roll the large dried red chillies between your hands to loosen the seeds on the inside. Shake these out. Should you like a scorching hot curry, omit this step. - Traditionally a kaffir lime is used. This very knobbly fruit has a distinctive flavour. While we can readily obtain the leaves now, our climate is not hot enough for the tree to fruit. New Zealand or imported limes will substitute. - Use only the white bulb end of the lemon grass stalks. The tops are too fibrous and can be used to make tea or flavour soups and curries.

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