Red Curry Paste

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 45m

Makes about 1 cup (8 Servings)

Since this curry paste keeps well in the freezer for a few months, make a large batch and pack it in an ice-cube tray to use as needed. To save time, look for prepared curry pastes in most Asian markets.


  • 1/2 cup dried red chilies
  • 8 pieces dried kaffir lime rind or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lime zest
  • 8 fresh or 4 dried galangal slices, each about 1 inch in diameter, chopped
  • 6 lemongrass stalks, tender heart section only
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds or ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns or 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro roots or stems
  • 1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste or anchovy paste


Cut the chilies in half crosswise, then shake out and discard the seeds. In a small bowl, combine the chilies with warm water to cover. In another small bowl, combine the dried lime rind and dried galangal, if using, and cover with warm water; let soak until soft and pliable, about 30 minutes. Drain the galangal and lime rind, chop them and set aside. Cut the lemongrass crosswise into thin slices; set aside.

If using whole coriander and cumin seeds, toast them in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool and transfer the seeds and whole peppercorns, if using, to a spice grinder or mortar; grind or pulverize with a pestle to a fine powder. Combine the ground spices with the salt and paprika and set aside.

Drain the chilies, reserving about 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) of the soaking liquid, and place the chilies and soaking liquid in a blender or mini food processor. Add the reconstituted or fresh galangal, lime rind or fresh lime zest, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, cilantro roots or stems, shrimp or anchovy paste and reserved dry spices. Process into as smooth a paste as possible, about 30 seconds. If the mixture remains coarse, transfer it to a mortar and mash with a pestle until smooth.

Serving Size = 2 tablespoons

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2053

nutrition information per serving

69 calories; 2g total fat; 1mg cholesterol; 427mg sodium; 12g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 3g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

Sign Up for Newsletters Here

Delicious recipes, easy meal ideas and holiday inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.