Serving

Red Curry Paste
Thailand
  -   Krueng Gaeng Peht
Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
5 oz  
***
1-1/2 hr  
Total
This brick red curry paste is very popular in Thailand, probably used more than any other. In hotness it's midway between the Yellow Curry Paste and the Green Curry Paste, so making it involves less suffering than making the green. Note: you will have fits of sneezing at certain points - this is normal - just tough it out. While some curry pastes are available commercially, what is commonly available in North American markets is "Red Curry Sauce", unsuitable for Thai Recipes - see our page Thai Red Curry Paste vs. Sauces.



-----
1
1
12
1/2
2
-----
1
1
4
1
-----
4
1/4
-----
1
1
---
t
T

c

---
T
T

t
---
cl
c
---
t
t
-- Spice Mix
Cumin Seeds
Coriander Seeds
Peppercorns
Thai Chili, dry (1)
California Chili (2)  
-- Galanga mix
Galangal (3)
Kaffir Lime peel (4)
Lemon Grass stalk
Cilantro root (5)
-- Garlic mix
Garlic
Shallots
------------
Shrimp Paste (6)
Salt
All volume measures are after chopping small (chilis after breaking up a bit). This paste is traditionally made by pounding in a large stone mortar, and that's still really the best way for parts. See Note-7

  1. Separately dry fry CUMIN and CORIANDER until quite fragrant and darkening just slightly, then cool and grind in your spice grinder along with Peppercorns. Do this first because the chilis may affect your nose.
  2. Grind THAI CHILIS to powder in your spice grinder and add to the spice mix. Break the CALIFORNIA CHILIS open and spill out the seeds - then break them up, grind to a powder and add to the Spice Mix.
  3. Peel GALANGAL if needed, and slice very thin. Slice into fine threads, then slice the threads crosswise into tiny bits. Pound to thin flakes in the mortar. Pour out into a bowl separate from the spice mix.
  4. Slice LIME PEEL into tiny bits and pound as with the Galangal. Add to the Galangal mix.
  5. Remove tough outer leaves from LEMON GRASS, cut off hard root end and pound thoroughly with the smooth side of your kitchen mallet - then slice crosswise as thin as you can for about 4 to 5 inches from the root end. Pound to thin flakes in the mortar and add to the Galangal.
  6. Chop CILANTRO ROOT (if using stems use 1 T instead of 1 t) fine. Pound to thin flakes (and/or pulp) in the mortar, then add to the Galangal mix.
  7. Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Slice SHALLOTS very thin and chop fine. Pound both to a pulp in the mortar, then scrape into a third bowl separate from the other two.
  8. Run the Galangal mix in your mini-prep food processor (a blender will also work but is too noisy for my taste) until it's as fine as it's going to get.
  9. Add Shallot mix and continue to process, but now it's going to be sticky so you need to stop and scrape down the sides frequently.
  10. Add Shrimp Paste, Salt and Spice mix and continue to process (scraping down the sides) until evenly mixed.
  11. You should now have a rather dry paste. Pack in a 6 oz jar. Stored tightly sealed in the refrigerator it will last for months.
NOTES:
  1. Chilis, Thai:   The half cup is for whole dry chilis, but break really long ones in half for more accurate measure. Dry red Thai chilis are quite hot so for a substitute you need something like de Arbols (make that a heaping half cup). If you can only get the common Japones use at least twice as much. For details see our Chili Page.
  2. Chilis, California:   These dried chilis are mostly for color, so New Mexico or Gujillo will also work, or 6 or 7 Puyas, which are closest to a chili used in Thailand.
  3. Galangal:   If you can't get it fresh or frozen, don't use dry - it has little flavor. Use fresh ginger instead - way different taste but better. For details see our Galangal page.
  4. Kaffir Lime:   if you don't have any, use grated zest of a regular lime (no white). Not the same but better than nothing. For details see our Kaffir Lime page.
  5. Cilantro Roots:   These are difficult to get even in Southern California, so you may have to use stems - include no leaves.
  6. Shrimp Paste:   Preferably Thai shrimp paste, which is a bit more refined than most. For details see our Shrimp Sauce / Paste page.
  7. Method:   I have carefully developed the above sequence to get the best results with the least effort and mess. For best results you need a Thai Granite Mortar or similar with a heavy pestle. "Gourmet" and standard kitchen mortars are totally inadequate (for practically any use, actually). My granite mortar is 7-3/4 inches across with a 5-1/2 inch diameter bowl and a 3 pound pestle. If you don't have such a device (then order one now), you can get by with just the mini-prep processor or blender, but the texture will be a little grainy. I have also made this by grinding the ingredients in the mini-prep first, adding them in the order given, then pounding the finished sauce in the big stone mortar. Both methods worked fine.
  8. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
sis_redcurry1 060119 r 160821 rt171   -   www.clovegarden.com
©Andrew Grygus - agryg@aaxnet.com - Linking to and non-commercial use of this page is permitted.