This is no commercial copycat – assuming you can mimic that at home is like thinking you can grill up fast-food burgers in your backyard. Think of this do-it-yourself curry paste as a fresh, bright version – one you can customize as you like. This recipe has a good amount of heat from the dried bird’s eye chiles; switch them out for something a little further down the Scoville scale if you like chile flavor without the punch. Replacing them with one dried guajillo pepper, for example, would tone things down considerably.
This recipe makes 12 ounces of curry paste, which translates to three jars of the store-bought stuff. To make curry, you may need to add more of this paste than the recipe calls for because it’s not as concentrated.
DIY Curry Paste
Yields | 12 ounces |
- 2 cups water
- 10 to 15 small dried chiles (bird’s eye chiles, chiles de árbol or something similar), seeded
- 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1½ tsp black peppercorns
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- ⅓ cup peeled and chopped shallots
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass, bottom and tip trimmed, 5 inches of stalk chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh or frozen galangal, peeled and chopped
- 2 Tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- juice and zest of 2 medium limes
- 1 Tbsp chile powder
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
| Preparation | Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat, add chiles and soak, 20 minutes to soften. In the meantime, add coriander and cumin to a small skillet and heat over medium, toasting seeds until golden and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes; remove from heat. When cool, grind toasted spices along with black peppercorns with mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
Add bell pepper, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, sugar, limes, chile powder, turmeric, paprika, salt, shrimp paste and ground spices to the bowl of a food processor; pulse on high until ingredients have broken down into a rough mixture. Stream in coconut oil and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl with spatula several times. Transfer to airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or seal tightly and freeze.