Thai Red Curry Paste
This is one of the most versatile and flavorful curry pastes found in Thai cuisine.
Yield: makes About 1 Cup
- 8 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed and seeded
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. white peppercorns
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1⁄4 cup roughly chopped cilantro (with stems)
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄4 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.