Curries · masalas/ curry paste

Thai red curry paste -with vegetarian option


Hello Everyone !!!

After the indulging dussehra , now it’s time to focus on something Non Indian at Crackleandtemper. Today I am bringing you all a thai red curry paste made from scratch , I have also given a vegetarian option here where the vegetarians can enjoy without the addition of shrimp paste. I have adapted this recipe from Eatingthaifood by Mark Weines , but with a lot of convenient variations . I have used ingredients which was easily available to me as well as suitable for my palate. Do check the above website to read more about some traditional and delicious thai food with a good video attached to it. I have made this paste purely using my mortar pestle , I know I sound crazy :p, but it was totally worth the effort . But I would suggest you all to use a food processor if you are not too patient like me , it took me a good 30 minutes of effort to bring this into paste form .

Few changes which I have made from the original recipe firstly the chillies , I didn’t have authentic dried thai dried chillies so instead I used some ripe fresh thai chillies from my garden .
Look how beautiful they are

I have used them in this paste here and also some paprika to give some colour. You can increase or decrease the amount of chillies according to heat tolerance. I have made a moderate version here , if you are making a much spicier or milder version , do change the other ingredients according to your palate. 
For example
10 to 15 chillies if you can handle the heat
7 to 8 for moderate
5 to 6 for a milder version .

Another thing I would like to let you all know is you can make a vegan version of this chilli paste as well . The basic idea of adding shrimp paste to an authentic thai paste is to give umami to it . Umami is a savory taste and it’s one of the basic tastes (wikipedia) . The most common umami we know is Mono sodium glutamate or else known as MSG , but don’t worry I have not used MSG here . There are tons of vegan ways to add umami to your food check this article to read more So what I suggest vegetarians/ vegans to use soy sauce or miso paste instead of the shrimp paste in my recipe here. This curry paste can stay in fridge fresh upto a month and frozen upto 3 to 4 months.

Let’s read more about how to make this delicious curry paste


Prep Time – 15 minutes
Cooking Time – 30 minutes if using a mortar & pestle , 10 minutes with a food processor .
Yield- 200 to 300 grams
Author-  Parvathy V Nair



Thai Chillies – ripe red ones 7 to 8 
Onions – chopped 2 tablespoons , if you have access to shallots then use 5 or 6 it gives a much distinct flavour 
Garlic- 4 to 5 cloves 
Cumin powder- 1/2 teaspoon 
Coriander powder- 1/2 teaspoon 
Paprika- 1/2 teaspoon 
Cilantro roots – chopped 1 teaspoon 
Lemon grass- chopped 1 teaspoon 
Kaffir lime leaves – 2 or 3 leaves chopped 
Lime juice – 1 teaspoon , you may need to increase if you need more tartness 
Galangal- 1 teaspoon chopped , please do not increase the amount of galangal it imparts a pungent taste which might be too strong for your palate 
Shrimp paste – 1/2 teaspoon , for vegetarians or vegans use soy sauce or miso paste 1/2 teaspoon 
Jaggery/ Brown sugar- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt- as needed 


Using Mortar & Pestle 

1. First  start pounding the chillies , pound it for almost 5 minutes 

2. Now add the onions and garlic , pound for another 5 minutes 

3. If it has become a semi paste structure add cilantro roots, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal . Pound it almost for 10 minutes , now it might be reaching a thick chutney consistency 

4. Now add spices , shrimp paste/ soy sauce/ miso paste , jaggery/brown sugar, lime juice and salt . Pound it for another 5 to 8 minutes , thats it you are done !! 


Using food processor 

1. Place all the ingredients in the food processor and blitz it , thats it . Finally check seasoning and add salt or lime juice if needed . 


1. Please do not omit galangal , kaffir lime leaves or lemon grass from this recipe . If you don’t use them you won’t be getting the authentic thai taste. 

2. Please make sure to use lime juice itself not lemon juice . The authentic recipe suggests to use kaffir lime , since I couldn’t get it lime was the closest available taste. 



8 thoughts on “Thai red curry paste -with vegetarian option

  1. Hi Parvathi… Love your blog your pics and your recipes of course… Where do you get your galangal and lemon grass from?
    This is totally not related but I would love for you to give me some tips on photography for my cakes 😊

    1. Hi Ann

      Thank you so much for your comments . I bought galangal and lemon grass from Oceans near saravana bhavan. I absolutely would love to any time just let me know any help you want with taking pictures

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