Prik Kaeng Kiao Wan (Green Curry Paste)

Course : Curry
Serves: 1
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1 cup prik ki nu -- (green birdseye chiles)
5 tablespoons lemon grass -- finely sliced
10 tablespoons shallots -- (purple onions), chopped
10 tablespoons garlic -- minced
5 tablespoons galangal -- (kha), grated
5 tablespoons cilantro root -- chopped
2 tablespoons coriander seed
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons shredded bai makroot -- (lime leaves)
4 tablespoons kapi (fermented shrimp paste)
1 tablespoon palm sugar

Preparation / Directions:

This is a paste for a green curry and the 'wan' indicates that it should be slightly sweet as well as hot. Ingredients: If you can't get prik ki nu, you can use half a pound of serrano chiles or one pound of jalapeno chiles. If you use the latter deseed them before use. Note that if you use a substitute you will get a different volume of paste, and that you will need to use different amounts in subsequent recipes. If you can't get kha use ginger. If you can't get bai makroot use lime zest. If you can't get coriander root, use coriander leaves. Method: Coarsely chop the chiles. Toast the dry seeds in a heavy iron skillet or wok, and grind them coarsely. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process to a smooth paste. Place in tightly sealed jars, and keep in the fridge for at least a week for the flavors to combine and develop before use. The remaining three pastes are all made from dried red chiles: those sold in Thailand are frankly stale. Those sold in Europe and America are generally barely fit for human consumption. If you must use them then break them up and shake out the seeds, and soak them in tepid water for about 30 minutes before use. Preferably dry fresh red chiles. All these recipes call for one cup of fresh red chiles, or half a pound of red habaneros, or one pound of red jalapenos, deseeded. Dry them in the sun, or if the climate doesn't allow then dry them in a herb desiccator, or smoke them in a smoker or over a barbecue. The dried chiles (which need not be tinder dry - it is enough to remove most of the water) are then toasted under a broiler until *almost* burnt. Treat this stage with extreme caution: if you overcook them a noxious gas closely related to Mustard gas is released. This is quite dangerous - at a minimum cook them in a very well ventilated room with a fan on and have a damp cloth ready to cover your mouth and nose in case of emergencies -- and disconnect your smoke detector/fire alarm! Recipe By: Muoi Khunt

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