How To Make A Red Curry Paste?

Thai cuisine relies heavily on red curry paste, renowned for its robust, peppery, and aromatic flavors. Making your red curry paste from scratch can be a rewarding and flavorful experience, whether you’re a seasoned home chef or a culinary enthusiast.

By making this paste at home, you have complete control over the ingredients and can adjust the flavor to your liking. This article, will explain how to make a red curry paste.


For The Red Curry Paste

  • 10-15 dried red chili chilies (adjust heat level to taste).
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 thinly cut lemongrass stalk (use only the tender lower portion).
  • 1 thumb-sized portion of chopped galangal or ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of kaffir lime zest or lime zest
  • 2-3 citrus kaffir leaves (fresh or dried).
  • 1 gram of coriander seed
  • 0.5 grams of cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste (omit for vegetarian version).
  • 1 g of salt
  • 1 ml of sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil (to be used for blending).

For The Red Curry

  • 2-3 tablespoons of the red curry paste prepared at home
  • 1 (14-ounce) can of coconut milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce (adjust to flavor, or substitute soy sauce for a vegetarian alternative)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of palm or brown sugar (to flavor).
  • Protein-containing foods (chicken, seafood, tofu, etc.)
  • Vegetables (including bell peppers, bamboo stalks, and Thai eggplant, among others)
  • Leaves of Thai basil (for embellishment)

How To Make A Red Curry Paste?


Here are step by step instruction to make a red curry paste.

Step 1: Prepare The Dried Chilies

  • Remove the stalks from the dried red chilies first. The amount of chilies used will determine the spiciness of your curry, so modify the amount according to your taste.
  • Cover the dried chilies with warm water and place them in a basin. They should marinate for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. This makes the chilies simpler to blend later on by rehydrating them. Once the chilies have softened, remove them.

Step 2: Roast The Spices

  • Toasting the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns will improve the flavor of your red curry paste.
  • Put the spices in a dry pan that is on low heat. Toast them for a few minutes, stirring every now and then, until the smell comes out. Be careful not to toast them too much, as that can make them taste bitter. After you toast them, take them off the heat and let them cool.

Step 3: Blending The Curry Paste

  • In a food processor or mortar and pestle, combine the soaked red chilies, the toasted spices, the chopped shallots, the minced garlic, the sliced lemongrass (use only the tender lower portion), the chopped galangal or ginger, the kaffir lime zest, the kaffir lime leaves, the shrimp paste (if you’re not making a vegetarian version), the salt, and the sugar.
  • Start by blending or pounding the ingredients, adding vegetable oil to create a uniform paste. The oil aids in combining the ingredients into a paste-like consistency.
  • You may need to wipe down the sides of your food processor, mortar, and pestle to ensure that all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Continue blending or pounding until the purée is uniformly smooth and all elements are thoroughly incorporated.

Step 4: Store Or Use

  • Your red curry paste is now complete. You can make red curry with it immediately or preserve it for later use.
  • Red curry paste can be stored in a hermetic container in the refrigerator for several weeks. It can also be divided into ice cube trays, frozen, and then transferred to a freezer bag for extended storage. This permits the use of small amounts of paste as required.

Step 5: Making Red Curry

  • Put a little vegetable oil in a pan and heat it over medium-low heat. This will make the red curry. Made-from-scratch red curry paste should be added.
  • Cook the puree for one or two minutes until it becomes aromatic. This aids in the flavor release of the substance.
  • Add the protein you choose, such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu, and cook until no longer pink (if using flesh).
  • Stir-fry for a few minutes your preferred vegetables, such as bell peppers, bamboo stalks, or Thai eggplant, until they begin to soften.
  • Pour a can of coconut milk into your curry to create a creamy base. Season to flavor with fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegetarians) and sugar. Adapt the seasonings to suit your tastes.
  • Allow the curry to simmer until the protein and vegetables are fully cooked. It should be flavorful and aromatic.
  • Serve your homemade Thai red curry over prepared rice and garnish with fresh Thai basil.


Here are some tips to help you create the most delicious homemade red curry paste and red curry:

1. Adjust Spice Level

How hot your red curry paste is will depend mostly on how many dried red peppers you use. You can change how spicy you want it by changing how many peppers you use. For a milder puree, take out the seeds from some or all of the peppers.

2. Wear Gloves

When managing hot chilies, it is prudent to use gloves. This can prevent chili oil from getting on your hands, which can be difficult to remove and may cause irritation if you accidentally contact your face or eyes.

3. Use Fresh Ingredients

Use fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves whenever possible for the most authentic and vibrant flavors. You can substitute desiccated or bottled ingredients if fresh ingredients are difficult to locate.

4. Toast The Spices Carefully

As you toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns, be vigilant and maintain a low temperature. Over-roasting may result in an acrid flavor. They are lightly toasted until aromatic.

5. Customize Ingredients

Feel free to tailor the red curry paste to your personal preferences. You can adjust the amount of certain ingredients. If you enjoy the citrusy aroma of kaffir lime leaves, for instance, add more.

6. Store Properly

Refrigerate any surplus red curry paste stored in an airtight container. Additionally, it can be frozen for extended storage. Before securing the container, cover the paste with a thin layer of vegetable oil to prevent it from drying out.

Remember that you can control the intensity of your dish by adjusting the quantity of red curry paste. Red curry paste prepared from scratch enhances the flavor and authenticity of Thai cuisine.

Read More: How To Make A Homemade Fruit Cake?

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