Making 1.3kg Green Curry Paste
Green curry is one of the iconic dishes of Thai cuisine. Its lovely blend of fragrance and flavours from Thai herbs and spices, coupled with the richness of coconut milk makes it a delight. Here’s a recipe for the mandatory ingredient: Green Curry Paste.
Although it takes a lot of effort, this recipe makes it worth it. This recipe yields 1.3 kilogrammes of Green Curry Paste; enough for 3-4 dishes of green curry for 5-6 people each. Once made, the paste can be kept frozen in portions for up to 3-4 months.
Green Curry Paste Recipe
Green curry paste is primarily made of lots and lots of green chillies. I use a mix of green chillies and green birds’ eye chillies. The latter is the spicier of the two. Although chillies are the main ingredients, the spiciness can be controlled by limiting the amount of seeds included in the recipe.
Generally, the fresher the ingredients are, the better. Some dried ingredients can also be used, provided they are well-soaked and revitalised before using.
Other herbs, spices and shrimp paste are used for that wonderful fragrance and complex flavour profile. Kaffir lime skin is noted for its amazing fragrance, garlic and shallots are for their sweetness and volume, coconut milk for its rich and creamy taste.
Some basil leaves are optional, but a great addition for natural colouring as sometimes, the blend of ingredients does not look “green enough”.
To get that paste consistency, most of the ingredients are blended before being cooked slowly over medium heat.
For the chillies, remove the stems and pit all the seeds for a mildly spicy curry. With a gloved hand and the tip of the knife, slowly slit the chilli open. Scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Repeat for all the chillies. Make sure to remove the stems as well.
As I prefer my Green Curry to be slightly spicy, I will skip this step. Generally, green chillies are not as spicy as their red counterparts – so it’s recommended to leave some seeds in for that nice spicy kick.
Chop the cilantro roots into smaller pieces to have an easier time pounding them later.
Slice the lemongrass thinly to assist the blender later as it’s very fibrous. Cut the galangal into smaller pieces as well. Peel the skin of the shallots and garlic too.
For the kaffir lime, peel the skin as thinly as possible, avoiding the white layer. This is because the dark green layer is very fragrant and full of flavour, while the white layer is very bitter, which will affect the overall taste of the green curry paste.
Next, wash the white peppercorn and pound them until very fine. Add in cilantro roots and continue to pound until they are well-incorporated. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the mortar and set aside.
Then, pound the skin of the kaffir lime until the essence and oils are extracted with a pestle and mortar. Add in pepper and cilantro roots and continue pounding until a paste is formed. Set aside.
Blend the Ingredients
Blend all the ingredients. I did it in batches as my blender is too small to accept the whole volume.
I personally did it in this order: lemongrass, galangal, pounded peppercorns, cilantro roots, shrimp paste and kaffir lime skin. I have also added 150ml of water for ease of blending. Blend until very fine. Empty the contents into a large, clean basin.
Then, I blended the garlic, shallots with 150ml of water until fine. Add the mixture to the basin as well.
Lastly, blend all the chillies and 150ml of water until very smooth. If a more vibrant colour is preferred, add in a handful of sweet Thai basil leaves for additional colouring. This darkens the luscious green while maintaining the spiciness of the green curry paste. Continue to blend it all until smooth.
Empty the blended chilli mixture into the basin as well. Add in the salt, cumin powder, and coriander powder. Stir until evenly distributed and combined.
It’s time to cook the Green Curry Paste!
Cooking the Green Curry Paste
Over medium heat, cook the coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves until it comes to a gentle boil. This releases the essence of the leaves into the coconut milk. Stir occasionally to evenly distribute the heat. It usually takes about 2-3 minutes.
When the coconut milk is boiling, pour in the mixture of the blended ingredients. Keep on stirring over medium heat for about 1 hour. This will cook the paste, reducing the water content and making it thicker. During this time, it’s important to continuously stir the paste as it can easily burn at the bottom of the pan.
Be careful of the hot splatters that occurs while stirring the green curry.
After an hour, the green curry paste has thickened significantly, and the aroma is also super fragrant. Switch off the heat and allow it to cool completely.
As it cools, it will continue to thicken and become paste-like. Portion the Green Curry Paste into clean, airtight containers and label the date made, as well as the weight.
Store in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
This Green Curry Paste is quite a lot of work, but the effort is well worth it! The flavours are fresh and the spicy level can be adjusted according to preference. Compared with the store-bought green curry paste, the homemade version just has that extra fragrance, flavours and satisfaction. Enjoy!
PS. Unsure what recipe to use this Green Curry Paste on? Stay tuned for my Green Curry Chicken recipe utilizing this paste! 🙂
Thai Green Curry Paste
- Pestle & Mortar
- Blender/ Food Processor
- Frying Pan
- Silicone Spatula
- Chopping Board
- Sharp Kitchen Knife
- 500 g green chilli
- 150 g green bird's eye chilli
- 30 g cilantro roots, washed and cleaned
- 85 g lemongrass, sliced thinly for blending
- 40 g galangal, cut to small pieces
- 160 g kaffir lime
- 1 tbsp white peppercorn
- 500 ml water
- 130 g garlic, washed and peeled
- 350 g shallots, washed and peeled
- 50 g shrimp paste, or belacan
- 25 g sweet basil leaves
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 200 ml coconut milk, concentrated
- 160 g kaffir lime leaves
Preparing the Ingredients
- Remove the seeds from the chillies (optional for a less spicy green curry paste). Use gloves to protect the hand while handling the chillies.
- Remove the stems from the green chillies.
- Cut the cilantro roots, lemongrass and galangal into smaller pieces.
- Slice the skin of the kaffir limes, while avoiding the white layer. Discard the fruits.
- Wash the white peppercorn. Pound it until very fine.
- Pound peppercorn for 2 minutes, or until very fine. Add in cilantro roots and pound until fine and well-combined. Remove from mortar and leave aside.
- Pound the kaffir lime skin for 2 minutes or until the oils are released and fragrant.
- Blend lemongrass, galangal, pounded mixture of peppercorns, kaffir lime skin, cilantro roots, shrimp paste, kaffir lime skin, and 150ml of water until very fine. Empty the blender into a large basin.
- Blend garlic, shallots, and 150ml of water until very fine. Empty the mixture into the same basin.
- Blend all the chillies and 150ml of water until smooth. Add in basil leaves for natural colouring (optional) and blend until smooth. Empty the mixture into the basin.
- Add salt, cumin powder and coriander powder into the basin. Stir until well-combined.
Cooking the Green Curry Paste
- Heat the pan. Add in coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves. Stir until it comes to a gentle boil, for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in blended ingredients. Continuously stir for 1 hour, or until very thick and dry.
- Switch off the heat and allow it to cool completely. Distribute into clean and dry air-tight containers.
- Use clean, air-tight containers
- Portion the amounts per green curry dish (about 180g for 4-5 servings of Green Curry Chicken).
- Store in 2-3 weeks in the fridge, or 3-4 months in the freezer.
- If frozen, allow it to thaw to room temperature before using.