This southern Thai basic curry paste is a staple in making many southern Thai curries. Turmeric added is good in providing a wonderful yellow colour to dishes.
The tropical South of Thailand is peninsula with many beautiful beaches, flanked by the long coastlines, is rich with fresh supplies of fishes, crabs, prawns, lobsters and other shellfish. Since seafood often has a fishy smell, many dishes here are likely to amply include herbs and spices to cover that unpleasant smell, especially turmeric that is excellent for this and make dishes look wonderfully yellowish too.
This southern Thai basic curry paste, a staple in making many curries in southern Thai style, also contains turmeric. Cooks can tweak it before using in each recipe by adding a little more shrimp paste, ground pepper or even turmeric.
- 5-6 dried red cayenne peppers
- ½ tsp peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sliced crosswise lemongrass stalks
- 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh turmeric
- 1 tsp roughly chopped galangal
- 1 tsp citrus zest (use makrut lime zest if available)
- 1 tbsp roughly chopped shallots
- 1 tbsp roughly chopped garlic cloves
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- To reconstitute the dried chilies, use a scissor cutting along the edges of the chilies and remove the seeds, cut crosswise into 1-inch lengths and then soak in water for 15 minutes, or until soft. Drain well before using.
- Add the peppercorns in a granite mortar and then pound with a granite pestle until ground.
- Add the soaked chilies (from step No. 1) and salt and pound until ground.
- Add the lemongrass, turmeric, galangal and citrus zest and pound until ground.
- Add the shallots and garlic cloves and pound until ground.
- Add the shrimp paste and then pound and stir to incorporate all ingredients and form a smooth paste.
Tip: This paste is well known in Thai as namprik kaeng tai.