Good food: Thai green curry paste

PIN ITDo you love Thai green curry? So do I. Love it. When I was in Thailand many years ago I went to a traditional Thai cooking school and it was incredible. I set myself the goal of attending at least a one day workshop and cooking class in every country that I visited in South East Asia. I wanted to learn the art of traditional cooking so that I could replicate the amazing dishes that Asia offers, at home.

Whilst it’s very hard to replicate traditional Asian dishes in Australia, it is possible to get very close to the real thing. Sometimes I struggle to find some of the ingredients at home like straw mushrooms, and the many different kinds of ginger (who would have thought there were SO many kinds of ginger?!), or kaffir lime, but every now and again I can find them and the rest of the time there are things we can use to substitute along the way.

Do you buy your curry pastes? I used to, but they are expensive and like anything else pre-made you don’t have a lot of control over what goes into it. There is nothing quite like making your own, beautiful, fragrant curry recipe at home. It’s time consuming but it’s not difficult and you can create a paste that is appropriate to your own taste and suits your family. An added bonus? The paste keeps really well in the fridge so you make a big batch now and you have excellent, quality, fresh curry paste on hand for a couple of months (if you haven’t eaten it all by then).


Green curry paste recipe


5 large green chilies chopped
3 red birds eye chilies
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon grass (the thick bottom third only, thinly sliced)
1 teaspoon of kaffir lime rind (or regular lime rind works as a substitute)
2 tablespoons of finely sliced shallot
3 tablespoons of finely sliced garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped coriander root (yes, the root from the coriander, just give it a good rinse first)
2 teaspoons of Turmeric Ginger (yellow ginger)
2 teaspoons of Galangal Ginger (or regular ginger is an OK substitute, not ideal but OK)
1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1/3 teaspon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of shrimp paste (I make mine without because I can’t get good quality paste here in the country, you can omit it, but it’s better if you include it).


Preparing the seeds

You need to dry roast all of the seeds to really get them to release the flavour. Take a hot skillet and add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and pepper corns. Move the pan over the heat being careful to heat the seeds all the way through but not burn them. It should only take five minutes or so. Once the seeds start to brown and smell amazing, turn the heat off and remove the seeds from the pan.



Add all of the ingredients in a mortar and pestle and pound until you form a thick paste. It’s a real work out and it takes a while. Your paste should be thick and smooth and all of the chili skins should be pounded to a pulp and thoroughly combined. You can use a food processor if you have one (I don’t), but I do recommend that if you use a food processor once you are done put it in a mortar and pestle and give it a good pound anyway to ensure that the flavours are really released and combined together properly.

Once you have your paste scrape it all out of the mortar and pestle with a spoon and put it in a glass jar with a teaspoon of good quality oil over the top (coconut oil is the best, in my opinion, but use whatever you like) and seal the jar. The paste should keep well refrigerated for several months.

Keep your eyes out for our traditional Thai green curry recipe next week!


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  • May 23, 2013 - 1:43 pm

    Peggy - YUM!! I buy my paste but I always wonder why I don’t just make it myself. Well, now I can! Thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe.ReplyCancel

  • May 23, 2013 - 4:39 pm

    ALittaM - Amazing! Great recipe and very good pics, too.
    Where I live it’s virtually impossible to get a hold on many Asian ingredients, but I can work with the substitutes you listed and perhaps get a half decent result. We are big fans of curry paste and making your own makes you choose the intensity and flavour of it.
    Thanks for sharingReplyCancel

  • May 26, 2013 - 5:37 pm

    Bec | At Penny Lane - Yum! I love green curry, one of our favs here at home. I have to admit i have never made it from scratch though but i will definitely give this a go. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • May 28, 2013 - 11:44 am

    sassandspice - I love making green curry paste as well and went on a few cooking classes in Thailand (it’s really worthwhile to do in any SE Asian country). It’s hard to find kaffir limes here so I use kaffir lime leaves in the paste as well. It’s also hard to find fresh galangal sometimes too…unless you know of places I can get them in Perth?

    Now I feel like green curry so might make some tonight!ReplyCancel

  • July 30, 2013 - 5:01 am

    Inked in Colour: Good food: The Green Smoothie Diaries V - […] Tip: If you are buying (instead of growing) coriander always choose herbs that are really fragrant and never discard the roots. Chop them up and store them in a airtight container or bag in your fridge or freezer. They are essential for a good thai curry! […]ReplyCancel

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