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How to Make Thai Red Curry Paste from Scratch

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Did you ever wonder how to make Thai red curry paste from scratch. I know I did. I remember being told my half Thai cousin Angela who was born and bred in Thailand, that the secret to authentic Thai food is to always use fresh herbs and spices. My Aunty Sheree moved to Thailand when I was a teenager so I am blessed being shown a few Thai cooking tips over the years.

Sure I can buy Thai red curry paste in a jar but we all know that what makes Thai food so awesome is that zing of fresh herbs and freshly ground spices.

If I am going to make a Thai red curry paste from scratch I pull out my pestle and mortar and slowly grind all the spices and then the fresh herbs by hand. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar don’t worry you can always use blender or a spice grinder.

Just a note, think about getting yourself a nice heavy stone pestle and mortar. They look great in your kitchen to really help to connect you with the amazing world of spices.

Thai Red Curry Paste

Servings 12 people
Prep Time 20 mins


  • Pestle and Mortar



  • 1 1/2 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns whole
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt

THE FRESH HERBS (substituting any dry herbs will still work)

  • 10 medium garlic cloves rough chopped
  • 4 medium shallots peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass stalk sliced and diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander root save the leaf for the curry
  • 1 tbsp fresh galangal chopped
  • 1/2 fresh kaffir lime zest


  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Oil


  • Add the dry spices into the pestle and mortar and give them a good pounding for about 5 minutes or until well ground. This takes a bit of effort but it is well worth it. If you are in a rush or not into a little workout you can use a blender to make this curry paste. Put the ground spices in a bowl and aside to use later.
  • Put the sliced and chopped fresh herbs into the pestle one at a time and pound with the mortar for a minute or two to start breaking them down. Keep adding each fresh chopped herb and pounding to start to form a paste. Continue to pound unto the paste is smooth.
  • Add the oil and the dry spices to the herb paste. Now grind and pound the paste for another 3-5 minutes until the oils arse all combined and the paste is smooth.
  • Pour in the fish sauce and work it into the paste with the mortar.
  • Your Thai red curry paste is now ready to use.


Use your amazing fresh Thai red curry paste for a Red Fish Curry or a slow cooked Thai Vegetable Curry or a Chicken Curry. 
Course: Main Meals, Sauces, Condiments and Preserves

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