Recipe courtesy of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

Red Curry Paste

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Yield: 1 cup
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1/2 cup small dried red chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped

10 whole peppercorns

1 tablespoon whole coriander seed, toasted

1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted

2 stalks fresh lemongrass

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro root, or leaves and stems

2 tablespoons finely chopped, peeled fresh galanga or ginger

1 teaspoon minced wild or domestic lime zest

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic

1/4 cup coarsely chopped shallot

2 teaspoons shrimp paste

1 teaspoon salt


  1. Place chiles in a small bowl of warm water to soak for 20 minutes. Combine the peppercorns, coriander seed and cumin seed in a mortar and grind to a powder with a pestle, or use a spice grinder. Set aside.
  2. Trim any grassy tops and hard roots off the lemongrass, then finely chop the stalk. Place the lemongrass, cilantro, galanga and lime peel in the mortar and grind to break them down. Add the garlic and shallot and grind until a moist paste forms, about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the chiles and add them to the paste in the mortar. Add the spices, shrimp paste and salt and grind well. Transfer paste to a jar, cover tightly and refrigerate.