I have never understood why people don’t bother making their own curry pastes. The secret to any good Asian curry is in the paste and, when it only takes 10 minutes to whip up a big batch that you can store for ages, I really see no excuse! Plus, you have the added bonus of knowing exactly what went into it; no nasty additives and preservatives, and the pride of having made the whole dish from scratch.

I learnt these curry paste recipes from a Thai that has been cooking with her family since she was 6 years old, and can assure you that they will transform your curry into a real winner. Use them to make my Traditional Thai Red or Green Chicken Curry and you will be in for a real treat!

Traditional Thai Red & Green Curry Paste
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Sauces, Dips & Dressings
Serves: 4 people
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass (use only lower halves of stems with the bulb for more flavour)
  • 1 tbsp galangal
  • 1 tbsp shallots
  • 1 tbsp garlic (leave the skin on if using small Asian garlic)
  • ½ tbsp kaffir lime zest (or leaves)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
For green curry only:
  • 10 green peppercorns (or black/white peppercorn)
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp fresh green Birdseye chilli
For red curry only:
  • 7-10 dried red chillies
  1. Add the following ingredients to a pestle & mortar:
  2. Slice the lemongrass and galangal into small circular discs.
  3. Chop the shallots, garlic and green OR red chillies into small pieces.
  4. Add the kaffir lime zest and salt.
  5. (For green curry only: Add the green curry paste ingredients).
  6. Smash the ingredients using an up and down hand motion (do NOT grind as this will cause the paste to become watery) until a paste is formed.
  7. Add the shrimp paste & mix.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  9. Enjoy!