This fragrant paste adds that extra aromatic level to your Thai dishes. It keeps really well, so make a batch and then store in the freezer for future use. Using ice cube trays to portion out the paste is a great way to manage your meals.

Ingredients (makes about 10 tablespoons)

  • 10 dried red whole chilies, de-seeded, torn and soaked
  • 4 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Thumb sized piece of galangal, peeled and roughly chopped (optional if you can get it)
  • 1 lemon grass stem, roughly chopped
  • 3 teaspoons coriander stem, roughly chopped
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped (or zest from two limes)
  • ½ teaspoon of dried turmeric
  • 20 peppercorns
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground mace (nutmeg or cinnamon could be good alternatives, but use half the amount)
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted
  • 1.5 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
  • 3 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted


  1. De-seed, tear and then soak the dried red chillies in hot water for 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare all of the other produce as set out in the ingredient list above. This includes roughly chopping the garlic, shallots, lemon grass, coriander stem, kaffir lime leaves (or zesting the limes). This is just to help the processor, you might like to chop finer if you are using a pestle and mortar.
  3. Toast the fennel, coriander and cumin seeds in a dry warm pan until they smell fragrant, be careful not to toast them too much though, cumin particularly catches in the throat when burnt.
  4. Then put all ingredients in a food processor or pestle and mortar and blitz until the paste is fine but still be fibrous.

Hungry for more?

Use this paste with our delicious Thai pumpkin soup

Food savvy tip:

Did you know you can create your own coconut oil from the cream at the top of a full fat coconut milk can.

Spoon out 3 tablespoons of the cream and place in a pan. Simmer gently until the cream starts to look oily and separates. You can then add your curry paste for 2 to 3 minutes to bring the spices to life.