Thai red curry paste

This authentic Thai red curry paste is famous for its Thai red curry. This Thai red curry paste can be used in curry or in starters. Can add any vegetables, fish, chicken and beef to make red curry with this red curry paste. Can make starters like fish cakes or crab cakes. A famous curry is made with this red paste duck curry in Thailand.

Traditionally a heavy based stone pestle and mortar is used and fresh ingredients are used to give that fresh and aromatic flavour to the paste.

The main basic ingredients are shallots, galangal, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste, and fresh or dry birds eye red chillies, and I have used both fresh and dry for the red paste. Apart from these ingredients can add other ingredients to flavour red curry paste like coriander seeds, cumin seeds and white pepper powder. I have added fresh turmeric also for the colour and taste, which is optional.

From the basic ingredients of red curry paste massaman and panang curry paste are prepared.

Now a days you get all the ingredients in big supermarkets or alternatively can replace few ingredients if not available like instead of kaffir lime leaves can use lime rid(grated green part), instead of coriander root can use coriander stems(stalks), instead of galangal use ginger, but taste differs. Add white pepper powder but can use black peppercorns.

Lemon grass, lime leaves has a very lemony flavour and different taste.

Shrimp paste (kapi in Thailand) plays a vital role in Thai cuisine and nam phrik a spicy sauce or dip. It is very important in green curry paste. Some add fish sauce also while preparing the paste but I have not added in it.

I have made this red curry paste from scratch in a pestle and mortar, first crush dry ingredients then add herbs, add the ingredients one by one , crush it to a paste, alternatively can use food processor which does all your hard work. Or first crush all the ingredients then add to the food processor for a fine paste. Can be stored in fridge for 1week and can be freezed for more than 3months.

For red curry paste , need to use Thai chillies (birds eye chilli, very hot and small in size) but sometimes I have used long red ordinary chillies which I get in India. I have used coriander stems instead of coriander roots and I got crushed frozen lime leaves from the store instead of fresh. This time I have used fresh red chillies and fresh turmeric for my red curry paste.


  1. Fresh Red chillies (birds eye) – 6
  2. Kaffir lime leaves – 1 to 2 tsp
  3. Lemon grass – 2
  4. Shrimp paste (kapi) – 1/2 tsp
  5. Shallots – 4
  6. Coriander root or stems – 2 tbsp
  7. Fresh turmeric (optional) – 1 tsp
  8. Galangal – 1 inch
  9. Garlic cloves – 3
  10. White pepper powder – 1/2 tsp


  1. Chop all the ingredients and transfer it to a plate.
  2. Pound galangal first, then garlic, then lemon grass, green chillies, shallots to a paste with remaining ingredients then add roasted powder and pound well.
  3. At last add shrimp paste (kapi), continue pounding until smooth paste.
  4. My paste is little coarse but gives more taste and flavour not like ready made ones with smooth paste and reddish colour.
  5. Transfer it into a bowl and refrigerate for 1 week or freeze it for 1 month.
  6. Put in ice tray and then freeze it as when required can be easily used.
  7. This paste can be used for fish cakes and red curry with chicken or vegetables.


  1. The outer skin of the lemongrass can be used to make stocks and soups and also to give extra flavour to the curries. After peeling the skin, the inner portion of the lemongrass can be used chopped or cut.
  2. I have not added salt in the paste, can add in it but need to be careful when making curry.
  3. You can ground to a smooth paste by adding little water and can ground in a mixer or food processor to make your work easy.