Here’s the thing you guys–red curry paste is a bitch to make at home. There is a reason why no one does it. There is also a reason why you can find it on amazon.com so easily–no one wants to deal with mashing that shit and buying a zillion ingredients at home. (SO much easier just clicking “purchase now” and having it arrive in a pretty package) BUT–I am in love with the idea of perfecting a red curry paste so good that in my bones, I can feel its authenticity. I think this recipe is a solid start. I have done quite a bit of tweaking since I began fussing with it a couple of weeks ago. I have tried it both ways–throwing it in a food processor and letting that do the work (the most favorable option if you ask me) and watching Josh struggle while mushing it in a mortar and pestle. There was no flavor difference. People online say that mushing the living daylights out of these ingredients frees the oils and bla bla bla–I didn’t get any of that. Pulse that shit on high for like 5 minutes and call it a day.
My favorite way to enjoy this is with a can of coconut milk (how much paste you use is entirely up to you, saving it is fine, (I would freeze rather than refrigerate) and serving it with a pile full of veggies, rice and chicken. (another option I like is to add 2 cups of chicken stock to the curry/coconut mixture for a more soupy experience) Ingredients can be hard to source but legit, amazon has this on lock. You can get almost any of these items with 2-5 business days. (what a world we live in!!)
While I am a faithful Italian, I am just loving the nutritious and the soulful properties of dishes like curry. I think winter creates a need for depth of flavor. My next mission, find 7 pounds of pork necks so I can make the ultimate ramen broth. YUM.
2 teaspoons kaffir lime zest (I actually think regular old lime zest would work just fine in this, might even be a little less bitter)
2 stalks lemongrass (just the part where the inner portion is purple, the bottom, discard the rest or use for tea), chopped
2 teaspoon galangal root (I zested this just like the lime after cutting off the ugly outer portion)
10 white peppercorns
6-10 dried chilies (really it depends on level of spice desired and type of pepper, cut open, remove the seeds and rehydrate for 10 minutes in cold water prior to chopping up into slices)
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (this smells like SHIT so be aware of that)
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup garlic
2 tablespoons cilantro root (the stems rather than the leaf of the cilantro)
Basically, chop the items a bit prior to chucking them into the food processor (same if mushing them by hand, you will want a head start on that business). Pulse until a paste is formed and all the items are finely chopped. Throw a dash of oil into a pan and cook the curry paste (you dictate the amount) on medium heat for 3-5 minutes while constantly moving it around in the pan. This will toast the ingredients and release their wonderful, magical, mythical flavors. Throw in your coconut milk and bring to a low simmer. Some people toss their chicken and veggies right into the curry and let them cook that way. I prefer to saute them in a separate pan to get a nice char on them. Cook your rice according to package directions and throw the dish together in whatever manner you please.