Monday, December 18, 2006

Thai-inspired Green Curry Paste

There's nothing quite like green curry paste - more fragrant than hot, it's an excellent place to start if you're new to Thai flavours.

I would never claim any authenticity to this version but I have tried to combine the necessary elements to create a pretty good facsimile of what you can expect. As with most of these types of pastes, it's the variety of ingredients that bring complexity to the final product.

chillies and galangal

Naturally enough for Green Curry Paste, green chillies are needed. I've used a combination of small green and long green chillies. That odd thing to the right is Galangal - it looks a little like ginger but has a different taste. Where Ginger has a tang, Galangal has citrus notes and in this recipe I will be using both.

Another important ingredient is Thai Basil.

Thai basil

Although it looks like normal basil, one whiff of it's distinctive aroma will immediately tell you it's something totally different. It's also one ingredient you should not substitute with normal basil - so if you don't have access to it, then leave it out.

The other uncommon ingredient is shrimp paste or belacan. There's no other way of saying it, but this is a pungent ingredient. A warning of this comes in the fact that it's usually triple packed and once opened you will need to keep it in a sealed container to stop it's aroma infiltrating your kitchen. In this recipe you'll need to dry fry the shrimp paste which does compound it's scent but persevere and use it as it will make a difference.

green curry paste

Green Curry Paste

2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
6 long green chillies, roughly sliced
6 small green chillies, roughly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly sliced
1 small red onion, roughly sliced
20 grams lemongrass, sliced
10 grams galangal, peeled and grated
10 grams fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 lime, zested
2 spring onions/scallions, roughly sliced
2 tablespoons Thai basil, roughly sliced
¼ cup fresh coriander, leaves, stems and roots, roughly sliced
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon oil

Dry fry the ground coriander and cumin until just fragrant. Cool.
Dry fry the shrimp paste until just fragrant. Cool.

In a food processor/blender, place the chillies, garlic cloves, red onions, lemongrass, galangal, ginger and the dry fried ground coriander, cumin and shrimp paste. Process until a rough paste forms then add the lime zest, spring onions, Thai basil, fresh coriander, fish sauce and oil and continue to process until almost smooth. You may need to add a little more oil to get the right consistency.

You can use it now or store it in the fridge in a sealed container under a little oil to stop oxidisation.

This paste scores from 1-10

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  1. Haalo, you are so adventuruous making your own green curry paste! How much better can it get?

  2. Thanks WP - we're so lucky to have access to such varied ingredients it seems a shame not to take advantage of it.

  3. I am so impressed! I usually buy it in the bottle, it's never occurred to me to make my own.

  4. Thanks Bythebay - there are some very good commercial green curry pastes around.


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