Red Curry Paste

Red curry paste is a good all-purpose paste used in many curry dishes as well as a seasoning ingredient in other dishes. If you want to make your own, this is a shortcut version.


makes about 3/4 cup

  • 16 small dried red chilies, seeded
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (white part only), coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fresh red chilies, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 5 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh gingerroot (or galangal), coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro roots or stems, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. grated lime zest
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, shrimp or anchovy paste

( Measurements in Cooking )


Place dried chilies in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 25 minutes, or until softened. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of soaking water.

In a food processor or by using a mortar and pestle, combine lemongrass, fresh chilies, garlic, shallots, galangal (or ginger, if using) cilantro, coriander, lime zest, cumin, pepper, salt and reserved soaking water. Blend to combine.

Add softened dried chilies and process until a smooth paste is formed. Add a small amount of water if paste does not come together. Scrape down sides of the bowl, as necessary. Transfer to a clean container and cover tightly.

make ahead:
Curry pastes can be covered tightly and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

freezing curry paste:
Transfer curry paste to a small resealable freezer bag and flatten. Freeze.To use, break off the required amount and seal the remaining paste tightly.

Alternatively, place the paste in mounds (about 1 tbsp/15 ml each) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze, then wrap each mound tightly and store in a resealable plastic bag.

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