Most supermarket Thai curry pastes are not vegan, they’re not even vegetarian, they contain shrimp paste and fish sauce. The two vegan organic brands I have tried have been very very hot and slightly over vinegary, which was disappointing (especially considering the price tag) so I resorted to making my own.
At first I was a little wary that I’d never use a whole batch of potent curry paste before it went off, and I hate to waste ingredients. If I was going to source and buy good fresh organic Thai ingredients and spices, I wanted the resulting paste to create many dinners for us in return. And then I read somewhere that this stuff freezes brilliantly, so I rummaged about looking for my novelty ice cream trays to make little red thai curry hearts and christmas trees. This didn’t just solve the problem, it made it fun and exciting. I couldn’t wait to get out there to the shops and markets and find my authentic Thai ingredients.
In the end I managed to only source about half of my ingredients as organic, and the galangal was tricky to find at all, eventually I settled for a jar of minced galangal from a supermarket, but I know the real stuff would make this even better. If you can’t find it at all, substitute it for more ginger root, but it won’t quite be the same.
This recipe make around 16 tablespoons.
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns (11p)
- 1 tablespoons salt (2p)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (23p)
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds (14p)
- 6 dried red chillies – soaked for 10 minutes in warm water to soften, then squeezed. (40p)
- 1 kaffir lime leaf – soaked with the chillies (10p)
- 2 tbsp coriander stalks (40p)
- 1 tbsp ginger root – peeled and sliced (15p)
- 1 bulb of garlic – all cloves peeled (50p)
- 2 stalks of lemongrass – the woody outer layers removed and sliced (90p)
- 1 tbsp galangal – peeled and sliced (30p)
- 4 shallots – peeled and roughly chopped (40p)
- 1 red pepper – deseeded and roughly chopped (£1)
- zest of 1 lime – grated (40p)
Put the dry ingredients into a dry frying pan and toast them over a medium heat for 5 minutes, keep them moving so they don’t burn. This can also be done in a hot oven for 5 minutes. Grind the toasted dry ingredients in a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar.
Prepare all the wet ingredients and chop them in a food processor until they form a paste, this may take a long time, and you will need to keep scraping down the sides of the bowl. Then add the dry ingredients to the paste and process again. Traditionally this would all be done in a large pestle and mortar with a lot of elbow grease, but I’m happy to defy tradition for this recipe.
The paste should be an orangey red colour and because of the fresh pepper and shallots it may be quite wet.
Spoon the finished paste into parts of an ice cube tray and freeze. After a few hours, when the paste is frozen, you can remove it from the tray and put the lumps into freezer bags or a container to store more conveniently.
I can’t wait to post up a Thai curry recipe to go along side this, now all the hard work is done.
This whole batch of paste comes in at £5.05, so that’s 31p per tablespoon for good, authentic homemade vegan curry paste, fresh from the freezer whenever you want it. No waste and no dodgy ingredients.
All that’s left to do now is find a recipe that uses the juice of those 2 zestless limes and a lot of coriander leaves!