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Thai Red Curry Paste

User Rating 4 Star Rating (8 Reviews)


Thai Red Curry Paste

Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste - easy to make, and so much fresher & healthier than store-bought!

Darlene A. Schmidt
This Thai red curry paste recipe is EASY to make from scratch. You'll never buy packaged curry pastes again once you try this recipe. Homemade curry paste makes for tastier curries, and they're much healthier too! Red curry paste makes for excellent Thai curry, including curry chicken and seafood curries, beef curry, vegetarian curries, and fish curry. Or add a dollop of this paste to flavor Thai soups, noodles, or other dishes. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Makes Enough for 1 Large Curry


  • 1 shallot OR 1/4 cup purple onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, minced, OR 3 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass (available at Asian stores)
  • 1-2 red chilies, OR 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 2-3 tsp. Thai chili sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato ketchup OR good-tasting tomato puree
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper (available in most spice aisles)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, OR for vegetarians: 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, plus salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste, OR for vegetarians: 1 Tbsp. Thai golden mountain sauce, both available at Asian stores
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1+1/2 to 2 Tbsp. chili powder from the spice aisle (see note below recipe*), depending on how spicy you want it
  • 3 Tbsp. thick coconut milk, or just enough to keep the blades turning (reserve remaining for cooking the curry)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (OR add 1 cinnamon stick to your curry pot)


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process well to create a fragrant Thai red curry paste.
  2. If too thick, add a little more coconut milk to help blend ingredients. Note that it will taste very strong at this point, but will mellow when you add your curry ingredients plus remaining coconut milk. Also, it will turn 'redder' once it is cooked, bringing out the red chili color.
  3. If you prefer a curry sauce rather than a paste, add remaining coconut milk and blitz.

To Create a Curry out of Your Paste: Follow the instructions below, or see my Easy Thai Red Curry Chicken Recipe.

  1. Fry the paste in a little oil to release the fragrance (1 minute). Add your choice of meat, tofu, wheat gluten, or vegetables. Add remaining can of coconut milk to create the curry sauce. (if more sauce is desired, add some good-tasting chicken/vegetable stock). Some vegetables that work well with red curry include: tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, snow peas, cauliflower, and spinach.
  2. If using fresh lemongrass, add leftover pieces of lemongrass (upper part of the stalk) to the curry as you cook it - this will add more flavor. You can also add a cinnamon stick and 2-3 whole kaffir lime leaves OR substitute 1-2 bay leaves.
  3. Before serving, always do a taste test. If not salty or flavorful enough, add more fish sauce or salt. If too salty, add another squeeze of lime juice. If too sour, add a little more sugar. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If you've run out of coconut milk, add a little yogurt, sour cream, or cream.
  4. Before serving, sprinkle over a handful of fresh coriander/cilantro and basil. ENJOY!

*About Chili Powder: Since I can't get Thai chili powder where I live, I always use the chili powder from my local supermarket. Although Mexican in origin, I find it works wonderfully well for this and other Thai recipes, as the chilies are roasted first before being blended into powder. If using Thai or Asian chili powder, be sure to reduce the amount to a teaspoon or two rather than tablespoons, or it will be far too spicy.
To Store Paste: Place in an airtight jar or other container in the refrigerator for up to 1.5 weeks; freeze thereafter.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
My first attempt at making Thai curry, Member RadhikaRao

So I wanted to try making Thai curry paste from a scratch and see how it turns out. I looked at many recipes and even though I was a little concerned when one of the reviews here said that this recipe is quite different from the one originally from Thailand....I still tried it and I made a chicken dish for a friend and me tonight. It turned out really tasty. I did not find the shrimp paste in the store I went to get my groceries but nevertheless this dish was rocking anyway :)) a good bottle of French wine and this dish made my friend and me really happy.

9 out of 9 people found this helpful.

See all 8 reviews

Test-Drive Your Paste with my Thai Red Chicken Curry Recipe!
Try this paste in my Vegetarian Thai Red Curry
For an Even Spicier Red Curry Recipe, Try my Penang Red Curry Recipe!

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