Green curry is a classic Thai dish that's famous all over the world. You may have tried making the curry using store bought paste, but perhaps it's time to try making it from scratch? 🙂
Why make curry paste from scratch?
There is nothing wrong with a good store bought curry paste, and most Thai people buy the paste pre-made, too. So this is something to do because you want to experience the process. Like making homemade bread even when there's an amazing bakery nearby. I will say it's really fascinating to see the transformation of the ingredients little by little, and you will feel so proud of the finished curry at the end!
What's the best tool for making curry paste?
In the video tutorial I show you the traditional method using a mortar and pestle. But I have to stress that you need a big, sturdy granite mortar and pestle for this, otherwise it will be immensely frustrating. So don't use that cute little marble one!
Using the mortar and pestle may not be the "best" way to make curry paste if you won't have enough patience to pound it until it's very fine. Keep in mind it will be a bit of a workout.
If you need some electric assistance for this job, here are my suggestions:
- For the dry spices, use a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle to make sure they are very fine. Grind them separately regardless of what machine you want to use for the paste, and you can add the spices to the paste at any time.
- My personal favourite tool is a powerful immersion blender. This is because it can blend a small amount of ingredients, and it can tackle a low-moisture paste like a curry paste. Here's the immersion blender I use and recommend (affiliate).
- If using a jug blender, I suggest making at least a triple batch to give it enough volume to blend, and you will need to add a little liquid to get it to blend properly. If you're making a green curry with this paste, which most of you probably are, I would add some of the coconut milk called for in the green curry recipe. Note: Adding coconut milk to the curry paste shortens its shelf life significantly so I would freeze it if not using right away.
- Food processors are not ideal as they don't get the paste as fine as I like, and you would need to make a big batch in order for it to process properly.
Watch The Video Tutorial!
All my recipes come with step-by-step video tutorials with extra tips not mentioned in the blog post, so make sure you watch the video below to ensure success - and if you enjoy the show, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Thank you!
Authentic recipe for a homemade Thai green curry paste for the DIY minded. Once you have the paste, use it in this Thai green curry recipe.
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp white peppercorns
- 15 g green Thai chilies or serrano peppers
- 15 g milder green chilies (see note 1)
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 15 Thai basil leaves, julienned (optional, see note 2)
- 3 Tbsp thinly sliced lemongrass, from bottom half only
- 1 ½ Tbsp finely chopped galangal
- 2 tsp finely chopped makrut lime zest (or zest of half a lime)
- 2 cilantro roots or 4 cilantro stems, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 tsp fermented shrimp paste (optional, see note 3)
If your spice tolerance isn't super high, remove the seeds and pith from some or all of the spicy chilies (Thai/serranos) to reduce the heat, then finely chop them. If you're not sure how much to remove, I recommend deseeding all of them and you can always add more chilies to the curry later if it isn't spicy enough. *You may want to wear gloves when working with chilies, or wash your hands very well and be careful not to touch your eyes afterwards!
If using a mortar and pestle:
Grind the dry spices into a powder, then remove and set aside.
Add all of the chilies and salt to the mortar and pound until mostly fine; if at any point the mixture feels too wet and slippery, add the dry spices to absorb excess moisture.
Add the Thai basil leaves and pound into a fine paste.
Add the lemongrass, galangal, makrut lime zest, and cilantro roots; pound into a fine paste.
Add the shallots, garlic, and any remaining dry spices and pound into a fine paste.
Add the shrimp paste and pound to mix.
If you want to use an electric device, see blog post above.
- Using both spicy and mild chilies allow us to pack in more flavor without too much heat. Korean markets usually have mild green peppers available, and deseeded jalapenos will also work.
- Thai basil is added to boost the green colour without adding any more heat from green chilies. Other leafy greens such as spinach or gailan will also work, but since you will need Thai basil to make the curry, it's a convenient option. The flavour of the basil will not come through as the paste will be cooked extensively and will cook away most of the Thai basil aroma.
- Shrimp paste is added for extra umami, but it is not necessary. For vegans, you can also add 1 teaspoon of miso paste of doenjang, or 1 dried shiitake mushrooms, finely grated with a microplane.