Easy Red Curry Paste

Red Curry Paste

The red curry paste can be used to create a wide range of Thai dishes. It is versatile and full of flavor. It is made up of red chilies, garlic, and sea salt. Lemongrass, turmeric, and shrimp paste are also included.

This is our (not traditional) inspired plant-based recipe, made with ingredients that are more readily available in the US. Check out the recipe at Temple of Thai for a more authentic version.

Red Curry Paste: How do you make it?

This version’s base is made up of red bell peppers, red chilies (red chilies), garlic, ginger, and green onions or shallot. We add bell pepper to make our paste milder. If you want a hotter paste, use more chilies. Skip the bell pepper.

Spices include turmeric, coriander, cumin, sea salt, and black peppercorn. For a bit of acidity, I added lime and lemon zest as well as juice.

You’ll have a beautiful, flavorful red curries paste that you can use to flavor any dish (in my opinion, this is just about anything).


  • Half a teaspoon of coriander seeds (or ground coriander).
  • Cumin seeds (or cumin ground): 1 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns (or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper)
  • One medium red pepper* (seeds removed, chopped)
  • I used cherry bomb, but Thai red chilies are preferred // stems removed)
  • One stalk of lemongrass (roots and tips trimmed, then chopped).
  • Use one heaping tablespoon of fresh ginger or galangal (or 1-2 teaspoons of ground ginger).
  • Three cloves of garlic (skins removed).
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh turmeric (or ground turmeric, 1 tsp)
  • Add more salt to taste.
  • Lemon juice three tablespoons
  • The original recipe calls for 3 Tbsp (45 ml) of juice from 1 medium lime.
  • Green onions: 6 stalks (sliced or substitute 1/2 cup diced shallot for six stalks)
  • Use avocado or grapeseed oil instead of water if you don’t want to eat fat.
  • Add one tablespoon of maple syrup or sugar de coco (to balance the heat).


  • Use whole cumin, coriander, and black peppercorns in a small pan and toast on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes or until fragrant. Stirring and shaking the pan occasionally is recommended. Take care not to burn yourself! Skip this step if you are using powder.
  • After the seeds have been toasted, please place them in a mortar with a pestle. Crush lightly. If you do not have a pestle and mortar, cool the seeds slightly, place them in a bag, and crush them using a rolling pan or heavy pan. Set aside.
  • Add crushed spices to a processor or blender that has a narrow base. Also add red bell peppers, red chilies (or shallots), lemongrass, garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, lime juice, zest and juice of the lemon, green onions, oil, water, maple syrup, etc.
  • Blend/mix until a paste is formed, scraping the sides as necessary. It can be difficult at first to grind the lemongrass, but persevere!
  • Add more salt, more chilies, more maple syrup, more oil, more water, more garlic, more ginger, more turmeric, more lime juice, more salt, more saltiness.
  • Curry paste can be stored in a jar and kept in the fridge for up to ten days. Transfer the paste to an ice-cube tray and freeze. Store in a freezer bag for up to a month.
  • This curry paste can be used for soups, sauces, and salad dressings.

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