Red Curry Paste

I posted the recipe for this back in January, but it wasn’t until this month that I could get fresh, local lemongrass, coriander with roots still on,  garlic and shallots all from the market to make the most local version of this intense, versatile Thai spice paste.  It’s great that local tri-state farmers are growing lemongrass.  Love that.

I use a food processor to make mine.  If you are a real patient person eager for an authentic experience you can use a mortar and pestle for the entire thing.  Good luck with that.  You could also use a blender, but I think you get more of an approximation of what the paste would be like if you pounded it in your mortar and pestle when you use a food processor.  A blender would make it too fine and it would just look like the stuff you get in a can.  At its heart it is a very rustic thing that Thai women (mostly) make in very basic circumstances from recipes that have been passed down to them from their mothers and their mother’s mother.

So when you are making the recipe please feel free to adjust.  In this batch I was so excited by the coriander roots I added way more than the recipe calls for.  I also like to add more cumin and more coriander seeds because I like the depth of flavor and the warmth these spices add to the hot acidic nature of peppers and lime.

Also don’t forget that this is a base for curries or sauces so you will have lots of opportunity to add and adjust as you make whatever dish it is you’re going to make.

Coriander roots.

I was trying to get arty with this shot.  The jar of curry paste is on a map of Bangkok and I thought this morning when I tool it that it was so perfect….

But now after some more coffee I think it’s kind of silly and this one below gives you a better idea of the look and texture of the paste.

Depending on how often you use this it will last forever in the fridge.  I think I had one batch last a year and it only seemed to get better.

Just do yourself a favor and wear gloves when you de-seed all those peppers!

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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