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Thai red curry paste in a glass jar

Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste

Fresh, fragrant and flavor packed homemade vegetarian Thai red curry paste is ready in under 15 mins. This can be used in a variety of recipes for Thai curries, noodles and fried rice.
Course Cooking Basics
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 6kcal
Author Manju


  • 4-5 shallots sliced, about a cup and a half when sliced
  • 1 small lemongrass stalk about 1 tbsp when cleaned and chopped
  • 8-10 dried Thai red chile
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch piece ginger / galangal
  • ¼ tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves dried or fresh
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro stems chopped
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian fish sauce or vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Soak dried red chiles and dried kaffir lime leaves in warm water for about 15-20 mins. If you are using fresh lime leaves, you don't have to soak it with the chiles.
  • Toast the coriander seeds and peppercorns over low heat till fragrant and add the shallot to it at the very end and saute for just a minute or so.
  • Slice off the lower end of the lemongrass stalk and remove the outer few layers of it. Chop it finely. It should be about 1 tbsp when chopped.
  • Drain out the chiles and lime leaves from the water.
  • Add all the ingredients to a mortar and pestle or a blender jar and grind to a fine paste.
  • Adjust the heat level by adding more or less of the cayenne powder. The color of the red curry paste will not be bright red as you find in the bottled ones, and that is ok, the flavor will be just fine and even better than the jarred ones. If you are particular about the color and want more without adding more chiles, add a little ketchup instead.


Tips for homemade Thai Red Curry Paste
  • Use the freshest of ingredients possible. 
  • If you want to control the spice and heat level in your curry paste, start with a small amount of dried Thai chiles and then if you want more heat, add some cayenne powder to the curry paste and mix well.
  • You can use a large mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients to a paste. It is definitely time consuming and involves quite a bit of a work out but it does taste a lot better as the chiles release their natural oils slowly when you do this and it blends very well with the rest of the ingredients. If not, use a smoothie jar of your blender to get a very smooth paste. Unfortunately, the food processor has not given me the right texture that I love in a good curry paste.


Serving: 2tsp | Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 21IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg