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Thai Penang Red Curry Paste Recipe

User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (4 Reviews)


Shrimp in a penang curry sauce
Bill Brennan/Perspectives/Getty Images
This delicious Thai red curry paste recipe hails from southern Thailand and carries with it flavors from Malaysia, Burma, and even India (Penang is a state in northern Malaysia). Try this homemade Thai red curry paste with your choice of beef, chicken, tofu, wheat gluten, or beans and vegetables - you'll love its aroma and unique blend of flavors!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 4 Tbsp. tomato paste OR ketchup
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal, peeled and sliced (or substitute ginger)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, OR for vegetarians: substitute soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste, OR for vegetarians: substitute 1 Tbsp. Golden Mountain Sauce, both available at Asian food stores
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. chilli powder
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. coriander seeds, ground (grind them yourself in a coffee grinder for the best taste), OR use 1 Tbsp. ground coriander from the spice aisle
  • 1-2 red chilies, depending on how spicy you want it, OR 3/4 to 1.5 tsp. dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 can thick or good-quality coconut milk
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • GARNISH: 1 cup fresh basil leaves (roughly chopped if large)


  1. Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a food processor. Process well to form a paste.
  2. Add up to 1 more can coconut milk to the paste (this will create a curry sauce).
  3. Add meat, fish, tofu, wheat gluten, beans or vegetables, and cook either in a wok/large frying pan, or in a covered cassarole dish in the oven. Bake meat-based penang curry at 375 degrees for at least 1 hour, or until meat is well done.
  4. Garnish your Penang Curry dish with the fresh basil leaves. Note: for full instructions, check out my Penang Red Curry Recipe.
User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
A great twist, Member sitarani

I love malaysian and thai food, so I decided to make this curry (first time). I doubled this recipe and made the vegetarian version of it.The taste was great! My whole family loved it.. even my picky sister. Next time I would use less coconut milk. Since I doubled the recipe I used 3 cans of coconut milk... I think 2 or 2 1/2 would do it. I ended up adding about 1 tablespoon of salt.

4 out of 5 people found this helpful.

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