Makes about 1 cup
6 whole cloves
3 dried bay leaves
1/2 whole nutmeg
4 tsp coriander seeds
4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp anise seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp white peppercorns
15 small or medium dried red chilies
10 fresh Thai red chilies
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup finely chopped lemon grass
(white and light green parts only)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro roots
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tsp chopped fresh galangal (or 3 tsp ground dried
galangal mixed with an equal amount water)
1-1/2 tsp grated kaffir lime or lime zest
2 tsp shrimp paste
2 tbsp water (approx.)
1. In a dry heavy-bottomed skillet wiped clean of any lingering oil, over medium-low heat, separately toast cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, anise seeds and black and white peppercorns, shaking them around a bit for even toasting, until fragrant and slightly darkened (see tip, below).
2. In blender, on high speed, blend toasted spices and dried chilies to a fine powder. Add fresh Thai chilies, garlic, shallots, lemon grass, cilantro roots, oil, galangal, lime zest and shrimp paste; blend to a fine paste, scraping down sides and adding water as necessary.
3. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze in pre-measured amounts for up to 6 months (see tip, page 80 of the book).
Use in any recipe that calls for Thai red curry paste, such as meat curries and satay sauce.
Each of the spices will take a different amount of time to toast properly; some will be ready in about 30 seconds, others in about 4 minutes. Watch carefully while toasting spices, as they will become bitter if over-toasted. Spices are ready when they are very fragrant and turn a few shades deeper in color.
The Blender Bible
by Andrew Chase and Nicole Young
Robert Rose, Inc. (Firefly Books)
384 pages, $19.95 paperback
Recipe reprinted by permission
This page created July 2005
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