Thai Red Curry Paste

  • Serves

    makes About 1 Cup


This is one of the most versatile and flavorful curry pastes found in Thai cuisine.


  • 8 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 14 cup roughly chopped cilantro (with stems)
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 14 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 holland or Fresno chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layers discarded, tender interior layers finely chopped
  • 1 (1"-piece) ginger, peeled and roughly chopped


Step 1

Break the chiles de árbol into pieces, transfer to a small bowl, and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Let soak until softened, about 20 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, add coriander, cumin, peppercorns, and cardamom to an 8" skillet over medium heat. Toast spices, swirling constantly, until very fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer spices to a grinder and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.

Step 3

Strain chiles de árbol through a sieve, reserving liquid. In a food processor, combine chiles de árbol, ground spices, cilantro, oil, fish sauce, salt, nutmeg, garlic, shallots, fresh holland chiles, lemongrass, and ginger. Purée until the paste is smooth, about 2 minutes. (Sprinkle in a tablespoon or two of reserved chile soaking water to help paste grind.) Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

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