Yes, it’s easy to pick up a bottle of Thai red curry paste from your supermarket, but of course everything tastes better homemade. This DIY paste packs plenty of flavor and – once you have the ingredients – it’s simple to pull together.
Use it as a base for traditional curries, other Thai dishes, and curried rice dishes. It’s also perfect for bringing some oomph to soups and stews. But don’t overlook some lesser known options. This Thai curry paste makes a good marinade base for steaks or chicken. And, when mixed with vinaigrette, it’s a deliciously exotic salad dressing for mixed greens or fresh vegetables.
The spiciness of this chili paste all comes down to the hot peppers used. You can opt for Thai chilies that provide an extra hot kick. Or choose a dried red chili further down the Scoville scale for less heat. Chile de arbol, for instance, isn’t a traditional curry paste pepper, but it works (and provides only a fourth of the heat of Thai peppers). The nutty taste of the pepper adds a nice nuance to the paste’s overall flavor. Cayenne pepper works as well for a hot pepper that’s in-between the two.
–> Learn how to rehydrate your chilies here.
Like this recipe? You’ll love these too:
- Thai Yellow Curry Paste: Just as delicious for curries and a perfect starting point for some experimentation.
- Chipotle Paste: Want something on the smokier side? Chipotle chilies deliver plenty of it.
- Homemade Sambal Oelek: One of our favorite condiments – perfect for heating up so many things.
Explore the Scoville scale through our Up The Scale spice set, featuring medium heat jalapeño, extra-hot habanero, and fiery super-hot ghost powders.
Thai Red Curry Paste
- 10 dried red chilies
- 1 inch galangal diced (ginger can be used as a substitute)
- 1 stalk lemongrass diced
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- 2 Kaffir lime leaves
- 2 shallots diced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Rehydrate the chilies (see instruction link in notes below), then roughly chop them.
- Place the chilies into a mortar and pestle and grind them into a rough paste (not to your final preferred consistency..
- Add remaining ingredients to the chili paste and continue to grind the mix into a paste of your desired consistency.