Green or Red Thai Curry Paste (aka Nam Prink Gang Keaw Wan)

Green/Red curry paste used in making green/red Thai curries or other Asian dishes, takes some patience to make, however it allows you to pound your mortar and pestle to your hearts content and get any of your frustrations out!  At the same time you benefit by making an amazing fragrantly delicious tasting dish!

Now if you are just pure lazy, go into any local Asian supermarket and buy the MAE PLOY (produced by the Theppadungpom Coconut Co. Ltd, Thailand) brand of pastes.  It’s as close to the real thing as you can get, and packs a punch.  The ones’ found in the retail supermarkets, are for me, lacking in flavour, taste and power!  I now err on buying this brand vs. going through the effort of making the paste.

I learnt the following recipe, when traveling in Thailand, specifically Chiang Mai, where I did a course on how to make my favorite Thai dishes!  So this is as genuine as you get, made by the locals!


(makes for 1-2 people, so increase quantities dependent on number of people or how much you want to keep in a sterilized container in your fridge)

  • 1 1/2 TBSP lemon grass (this is approximately 1 stalk, bottom half only)
  • 1 1/2 tsp galangal, peeled and diced into small pieces (if you can’t get galangal, then ginger is a replacement, but it doesn’t offer the same taste profile, but both are in the same family)
  • 1/2 tsp Kaffir Lime Skin – peeled and chopped finely (otherwise dried Kaffir Lime Leaves)
  • 5-7 small green chillies (can replace with red), and different variants if want milder or stronger or just add more chillies
  • 1 pinch or 1/4 tsp tumeric (fresh) – diced finely [this is to give it the color and amazing aroma, however not necessary for flavor, if you don’t have it, you don’t need it!]
  • 3 peeled Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Shallots – peeled and diced
  • 1/2 tsp Shrimp Paste (can obtain at any Asian Supermarket)
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

How to make?

  1. Place all the above ingredients into the mortar, and pound with the pestle, until it is a fine smooth paste.  Be patient, this will take awhile.  And I mean awhile!  Listen to music or watch TV whilst you do this.
  2. Once made, store in a sterilized glass container, if you are making a quantity that will last for more than one meal!
  3. Please refer to the blog on ‘Green Thai Curries’ to know how to make the curries with this paste!

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