Traditional Red Curry Paste by Mortar and Pestle

Nothing like taking your frustrations out with a positive outcome! Great to have around the kitchen to experiment with. Will keep about a month refrigerated.


Dry ingredients

  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp powdered-dried lemon grass (also known as “powdered Sereh”)

Wet ingredients

  • 6 dried hot red chilies, 1 ½ to 2 inches long*
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp shrimp paste (also known as “Trassi” or “Gkapi”)
  • 2 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Jar
  • Sauté Pan


  1. Under cold running water, wash the chilies. Remove their stems and brush out any seeds that cling to the skin and break the pods into small pieces.
  2. In pan over medium heat, roast seeds to release their oils. Stir or shake the pan frequently for even browning. Cook until they are uniformly dark, but not burned. If you burn them, they will impart a bitter flavor. Let them cool before crushing.
  3. In mortar, add the “dry ingredients”. They are, seeds, paprika, and powdered-dried lemon grass. Crush with pestle to form a nice powder. When done, remove from mortar and set aside.
  4. In mortar add “wet” ingredients: chilies, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, ginger, lemon zest, and salt. Crush to break down fibers.
  5. Add “dry” ingredients to paste and continue to crush until you get a nice uniform paste.
  6. Place in jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. Let paste come to room temperature when you are ready to use.

What you should know

Note: to make green or yellow curry paste, use green or yellow hot peppers and remove paprika from ingredients. For more heat (taste), add seeds to “wet” ingredients.

Re: Red Curry Paste (Traditional by Mortar)