Food | How To

Every Night Can Be Curry Night If You Use This Hack for Easy Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste

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Thai red curry is a prized dish that so many people love to eat but could never make from scratch...until now! All you need is a mortar and pestle to get through making Thai red curry paste. We used this beautiful Zwilling Mortar and Pestle to get the job done easily.

Once you've made the paste, add it to some coconut milk for a quick curry, served over a fluffy bowl of rice. This is way better than the bottled stuff. You'll love this fiery curry paste!

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  • 2 tablespoons red chili flakes
  • 15 to 20 (1-inch-long) fresh red chiles
  • 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 fresh lemongrass stalks, 1 or 2 outer leaves discarded
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 6 (4-inch-long) fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro roots or stems
  • 5 small shallots, chopped (6 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Place chili flakes in small bowl and soak in warm water until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain well in a sieve.

While chilies soak, toast coriander in a dry small heavy skillet over moderate heat, shaking skillet, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes, then cool. Thinly slice lower 6 inches of lemongrass stalks and finely chop.

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Finely grind coriander and peppercorns with mortar and pestle (or in mini food processor), about 2 minutes, then toss together with lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves, cilantro, shallot, garlic, fresh chilies, and soaked dried chilies in a bowl.

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Pound mixture in 3 batches with mortar and pestle until a fairly smooth paste is formed, 8 to 10 minutes per batch, transferring to cleaned bowl if using food processor, add about 1 1/2 tablespoons water per batch).

Return all of curry paste to mortar, then add salt and pound (or pulse) until combined well, about 1 minute.

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