Thai Basics - Red & Green Curry Paste

thai red-green-curry
Thai recipes are favorites for many people, including myself! I love coconut-based gravies, but its the special herbs and spices that are so typical of Thai cuisine, which attract me even more. Use of exotic spices like lemongrass, galangal and kafir leaves makes it interesting to the palate, and an easy way to incorporate vegetables in your diet! With these basic recipes to make Thai Red & Green Curry paste, you are all set to enjoy authentic Thai Curries any time you want, made fresh in your kitchen!

These are Basic Thai Curry pastes, and once you gather all the ingredients, you can make both of them at home, and store them for future use. They will stay fresh in a refrigerator for more than a month! You can find all the spices below at either an Asian food store, or the asian-food aisles in your local supermarkets, or even at World Food Market.

Red Curry Paste
3 shallots - sliced
1-3 red chillies (or 1-3 tsp Thai red chilli sauce)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece galangal, peeled and sliced (or use ginger instead)
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp fish sauce
**for vegetarians, use soy sauce instead
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process well.
To use immediately, fry the paste in some oil to release flavors before adding meat, tofu or vegetables. Add more coconut milk, as desired. Refrigerate in an air-tight jar for preserving up-to 1 month.

Green Curry Paste
1 stalk lemongrass
1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp sugar
1-2 green chillies - chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece of galangal
3-4 kaffir lime leaves - stems removed
1 cup fresh coriander, include both leaves and stems
1 tsp. dark soy sauce
1/3 cup coconut milk (or more - enough to keep the blades turning)
2 tbsp soy sauce

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend nicely. To use the paste immediately, first fry it in a little oil until fragrant. Then add the rest of your can of coconut milk and your meat, seafood, or vegetables. Also add leftover lemongrass stalk, if desired, for added flavor.

Non-vegetarians can replace the soy-sauce with fish-sauce for more authentic flavor. Add more chili sauce directly to the curry if this is not spicy enough for you. To lower the spice level, add more coconut milk and lime juice. Use fresh lemongrass and basil for enhancing the Thai flavors in your curry, adding these at the last minute.

Just keep a small spice jar handy, filled with these basic Red & Green Thai Curry Pastes; this will make preparing Thai recipes much more easier on the fly; in fact, these spices are highly versatile, and can be used to flavor Tofu Soups and Stir-Fry's too!

Related Recipes:
Tofu & Basil Thai Soup
Vegetarian Pad Thai
Mandarin Tofu Satay

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Divya said...

Looks super yummy. Looks like a lot of ingredients has gone into making it. Great work.

karuna said...

i always wanted to make thai at home. but never got into it. i think i will try ure recipe first. it looks simple and i am sure tastes great.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I love Thai food and I really love the red and green curries, but I find some of the ingredients too hard to find. The only way to get thai basil around here is to grow it myself (the nurseries sell the plants) and kaffir lime leaves are nonexistent! I don't know where the restaurants get them.

I can get some pretty good commercially made ones though. ;-)

sarah said...

thanks Mansi! that's precisely the recipes I've been looking for! I owe so much of my cooking skills to your blog:)D


Divya Vikram said...

love thai..great recipe.

Superchef said...

love thai anyday!! i still have a post pending for my red curry and rice recipe!! you will see it soon..

Sonu said...

Wow...those handy curry pastes...nice idea Mansi. Though, I haven't try Thai food at home. Will make it soon.
Thanks for ur good work here:)

Jude said...

Homemade thai curry pastes are just so much better than storebought.

Mansi said...

thanks people! glad you'll liked these! they sure come in handy in times of need:)

Amanda said...

Does anyone know approx how many servings this makes?
It looks great, but I don't normally have use of a kitchen and don't want to waste a lot of it.

Mansi said...

HI Amanda, these would yield about 2-3 tbsp of curry paste. It would be concentrated, so you'd have to adjust accordingly while making curries or soups. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I was the Chef at a Thai Place for 5 years, and married a Thai woman, roast the shallots and garlic in oil first and lightly saute the other whole (fresh) ingredients then puree and add your fish sauce and shrimp paste. Do NOT add coconut milk untill you cook your curry. This paste will last for a year in the fridge

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,
I have been cooking Thai Curries since a long time and the receipes mentioned here are very good.
For those who cannot find Kafir leaves, you can substitute with Lime Zest. Grate the green part of the Lime skin but be careful not to go to the white part under the green skin. You will have the same taste and smell of Kafir leaves.
Thank you and good luck to all.