Thai Red Curry Paste
Thai Red Curry Paste makes flavorful and amazing food, fast and easy. Thai red curry paste is basically a flavor concentrate used in many Thai dishes that delivers a punch of deliciousness without spending hours in the kitchen. The version we will make today is not hard, or time consuming. It also uses ingredients that are easily accessible in any grocery store.
Thai Red Curry Paste
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic , smashed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp. ginger (.01 oz/4g), chopped
1 T. cilantro stems
1 T. fish sauce
1 T. RealTaste Care Curry powder
1/4 t. salt
3 T. paprika, or other ground chili powder *see notes
Zest from 1/2 lime, 1 tsp. loosely packed
2 tsp. organic, pure maple syrup
Place ingredients in a small blender, or food processor. I like to use my Blendtec twister jar.
Blend just until a smooth paste is formed.
This stores well, so make up a big batch. You can keep it in your fridge for several months, or freeze it in 1-2 Tbsp. portions for future easy and delicious meals.
Use this paste in any recipe calling for Thai red curry paste. Feel proud of yourself! There are not many people who make their own curry paste. Now you are one of them. You know it's easy and you can control the quality of the ingredients as well as the spice level. You'll never have to spend money on a little bottle of paste again!
Traditionally this is made with a mortar and pestle. This takes time and effort. I prefer to take an easier and more modern approach; however, much like olive oil, the delicate oils in the garlic and ginger can become bitter with the increased friction and speed of a blender, or food processor. If you want to go the traditional route, good for you. I opt to give my garlic and ginger a little chop, and dice my onion. That allows the ingredients to spend less time processing, than if I threw it in whole. You could say this is the best of both methods- it is faster, but the oils do not process long enough to turn bitter.
Paprika makes for a very mild curry paste. Please substitute with other types of chilies to achieve the flavor and spice level you desire. The easiest option is to add a portion of cayenne in the 3 Tbsp. of paprika. You could also grind a few thai chilies in a small blender/spice grinder/coffee grinder, or any other type of dried chile pepper you prefer. I must admit, that I have gotten this nuclear hot, to the point that it was not edible and had to be discarded, so use hotter peppers with caution and in combination with more mild ones for a total of 3 Tbsp. ground powder. Here is a chile heat scale that may be helpful. While using Thai chilies may be more authentic, I would suggest using them in combination with other chilies that are less spicy.
Perhaps the best solution to the spice level is to serve red chili flakes on the side, so people can adjust the heat level themselves.
American style chili powder may not be substituted for the ground chile powder, as it is a combination of seasonings including oregano, cumin etc.
If you prefer to use more traditional ingredients, here are the substitutions:
Kaffir lime zest in place of lime zest
Galangal in place of ginger
1/2 tsp. shrimp paste in place of fish sauce
1 stalk fresh lemon grass, sliced, with the woody part removed.