Jungle Curry Paste (Kaeng Paa)

Course : Curry
Serves: 3
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2 large shallots -- minced
1 tablespoon garlic minced
1 tablespoon peeled -- minced fresh two-inch long slice dried *
1 piece fresh lemon -- grass, minced, or:
8 medium dried whole red chiles -- with seeds, minced,
2 1/2 teaspoons crushed red-pepper flakes
2 teaspoons minced cilantro root
1 medium fresh kaffir lime leaf -- minced **
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation / Directions:

* soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, drained and minced, or 2 tsp. peeled, minced ginger root ** or 2 dried, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained and minced, or 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest The preparation of Thai curry pastes involves pounding or grinding together an array of spices and herbs. This recipe is very hot; cut down on the amount of dried red chiles if a milder curry is desired. In a mortar or a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Using a pestle or the back of a metal spoon, press down on the mixture and stir until it forms a paste. (The curry paste can be prepared ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.) Makes 3 to 3 1/2 Tbs.. From "Eating Well", Jan/Feb, 1992.

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