Muslim-style curry paste

Muslim-style curry paste

New Thai Food
1 1/2 cups
Jeremy Simons



Quantity Ingredient
1 red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 cm piece fresh galangal, peeled
1 lemongrass stem, finely sliced, white part only
6 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
10 dried long red chillies, seeded and soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained

Spice mix

Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cardamom pod
2.5 cm piece cassia bark
3 cloves
1/2 teaspoon blade mace
1 star anise
1 tablespoon sea salt


  1. To make the paste, dry-roast the onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass and coriander roots in a small heavy-based saucepan or wok over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, slightly charred and fragrant, for about 8–10 minutes. If the ingredients become too brown or char too quickly, add 100 ml water and cover with a lid to allow the ingredients to steam and cook all the way through. Remove from the wok when cooked through and cool.
  2. When cool, transfer to a food processor, add the chillies and blend to a smooth brownish red paste.
  3. To make the spice mix, moisten all the spice mix ingredients except the salt with cold water, then drain immediately. (This helps to cook them evenly all the way through without the outside burning.) Dry-roast the spices slowly in a wok or small heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat for 10–15 minutes – they need to be very fragrant when done. Set aside to cool.
  4. Pound in a mortar and pestle, then grind in small batches in a spice or coffee grinder to a fine powder.
  5. Stir the ground spices into the paste, then stir in the salt. The paste should be rich and brown in colour and have a heavy spiced smell. It keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or it can be frozen.
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