Thai & Vietnamese

Red Curry Paste

Red Curry PasteAs I’ve mentioned before, red curry paste is a great thing to have on hand for a quick weeknight dinner. Not to mention that it’s an extremely versatile ingredient to have around. You can add a tablespoon or two to dishes based on rice, noodles, vegetables, soups, curries, stir-fries, etc. You can get a prepared curry paste in the supermarket, but making your own allows you to adjust the heat level to your liking – and it’s so much more fun. Many of the Chilli Peppersingredients are quite exotic, so you’ll have to get to know your local Asian supermarket quite well, but in most big cities it’s possible to find what you need. It’s worth it as homemade curry paste is so much more fragrant and inviting than store-bought. Finally, I prefer to pound mine with a mortar and pestle. It takes quite a bit of time and elbow grease, but it releases the oils much better, allowing for a more delicious final product. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, or the patience, you can also use a food processor. The vegetarian substitution I have done in this recipe is swapping miso for shrimp paste. You can also find a sauce called Golden Mountain Sauce which serves as a vegetarian alternative to shrimp paste. This recipe is adapted from “Basic Thai Red Curry Paste”.

Red Curry Paste

Red Curry Paste

Yield: Makes about 1/4 cup

Thai red curry paste veganized for your favourite curries!


  • 20 grams large dried chillies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon galangal, grated
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves discarded and white flesh only finely chopped
  • Rind of 1/4 of a kaffir lime (I couldn’t find it this time so I used 6 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro roots or substitute cilantro stems if you can’t find roots
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 – 8 birdseye chillies, de-seeded, adjust to your taste
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons miso paste or Golden Mountain Sauce


  1. Soak the dried chillies in warm water for about 30 minutes. Then drain and chop them finely.
  2. Meanwhile, roast the cumin, coriander, and peppercorns in a pan for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Allow to cool.
  3. In a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin, coriander, and peppercorns to a fine powder. Remove and set aside.
  4. In the mortar, pound the large dried chillies with 1/2 teaspoon of salt until they are quite fine. Add the galangal through the shallots and pound it into a thick paste. This could take around 30 minutes.
  5. Finally, add in the dry spices and miso paste and mix to combine.

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