Vegan Thai red curry paste or should I say magically versatile curry paste which is one of the essentials that you need to have stocked up so that you can use it whenever you want and practically in anything you want. If you love thai food – especially red thai curry and haven’t considered making it at home , you might want to read this super duper easy recipe to create your very own red curry paste.
Because homemade is the best , and so darn easy to make .
It’s versatile and easy to store – freezes beautifully for the never-ending stock
Plus if you are a vegetarian you will definitely wanna make it.
Traditionally thai curry paste calls shrimp paste or fish sauce , hence vegetarians need to be more careful while ordering these curries at a restaurant. But at home you are more relieved as you know what goes into the paste.
So what is this fiery paste made of-
The heart of this paste is red chilies
Traditionally thai dried chilies are used , but use what peppers you have on hand.
I always have Indian spices stocked up , so I have used Kashmiri dried red chilies , which isn’t very spicy if deseeded . Hence , this gives me a chance to add more paste which means better color and flavor.
Loads of ginger and garlic and cilantro and onion/shallots and lemon.
Some dried spices – easily accessible
Some Kafir lime leaves , Lemon grass and Galangal –
Though its difficult to substitute anything for lemon grass tweaking some ginger, cilantro and some lemon juice or zest works pretty well.
Do not get disheartened if you are unable to find authentic stuff – there is always a way out and again no reason for you not to try it out.
Read the notes for possible substitutions that works equally well for a successful red thai curry paste.
Now don’t under estimate this fiery and flavorful paste. It has a lot more potential than just making a red curry . Wait until you make this quick curry paste and you will be adding it in everything possible .It can pep up a boring dish instantly. That is why I always have it stocked up. For those hectic days or the days you are completely lost what to make , or when you are bored but still have to put up an interesting dinner – this paste will always come to your rescue.
Get set for express dinners which are healthy too – if you have this pre prepared curry paste, quicker and better than take outs.
Ok – so you are interested to know how you can use it apart from red thai curry –
For starters –
Any kinda stir fry on this earth – and they are ready in less than 15 minutes
Spice up your soups , salads with a dash of this paste- much needed in this cold weather.
Give your noodles, rice , pastas a good kick with it.
We all love pizzas – why not make some off beat ones – thai style.
Makes a fantastic burger/ sandwich/ wraps spread – just mix up some mayo , herbs and the red curry paste – you are good to go with a fancy one.
These are just few examples , there are endless possibilities .
I hope you like it as much as we do and make it a part of your routine.
Enjoy the step by step quick tutorial followed by the recipe ,notes and substitutions .
Traditionally mortar and pestle is used to pound the chili paste , but my skin and eyes are not chili friendly , hence I just quick grind everything. You can use a food processor or a spice grinder.
Wear food safe gloves 🙂 ( I do it as my skin can’t handle chilies that well )
Deseed the chilies ( I do as much as possible so that the paste isn’t over the top spicy)
Soak the chilies in some hot water for 20 minutes .
Meantime dry roast the spices.
grind the spices once cool , add in everything else and grind to a smooth paste.
Congratulations!! you have just made the delicious , fiery and full of flavors – vegan thai red curry paste – Super easy isn’t it.
Make ahead of time
If I am not using it right away , i freeze some portion in form of ice cubes- 1 tablespoon measure , once frozen pop them out and place it in a freezer safe zip lock bag for future use . Stays great upto a week in the fridge and for a very very long time in the freezer.
Vegan Thai Red Curry Paste
- 12-14 cloves garlic
- 15-17 dried red chilies
- ¼ cup finely chopped onions/ shallots
- 3 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 3 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3-4 kafir lime leaves/ 1 tablespoon kafir lime zest / lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon ginger paste/ grated
- 4 tablespoon lemongrass paste * / 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoon coriander leaves with tender stems.
- salt to taste
- Deseed dry chilies and soak it in hot water to soften for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile roast coriander seeds, cumin and pepper on low heat until aromatic for 2 minutes.
- Let it cool completely before grinding.
- Drain out chillies from the water.
- Grind the dry spices and kaffir lime leaves.
- Add shallots, chilies and pulse them few times
- Add ginger, garlic, lemon grass paste, lemon zest , salt and cilantro leaves and grind until smooth.
- The paste is now ready to use.
- It will be very spicy and tangy , but balances out once added to the food.
Possible substitutesSometimes traditional Thai ingredients are hard to find. Swap ginger for galangal.
Swap shallots for white onion.
Substitute Kaffir lime leaves with fresh lemon juice
Use lemon grass paste instead of lemon grass stalk for the same amount that is called for.
Storing curry pasteRed curry paste stays well in the fridge upto a week. You may store it in the freezer for 3 months. I freeze the paste in form of ice cubes. 1 tablespoon measure , once frozen pop them out and place it in a freezer safe zip lock bag for future use .
Hope you give it a try . Let me know if you have any questions regarding the same . And needless to say many recipes using vegan thai red curry paste will follow.
Do check out the delicious Thai Vegan red curry here made using this curry paste.
Hi how do you make lemongrass paste?
I got a readymade tube of the paste. You can make it by chopping and grinding the lemongrass stem.
I love Thai food. But tried this red curry for first time. I’m in love with your cupcake recipes and that make me go through other recipes of your. For first time the temptation of curry didn’t allow me to wait till making the the curry paste and I used store brought. But the results were soooo amazing. I can’t wait to make this curry paste and store as well. Now I’m a big fan of your recipes. Also tried quinoa mexican quesadilla. Turned super yummy. Next ones on my list are badami paneer, paneer puff pastry, quinoa patty… and many more. Just one question, if I get tomato sauce, can I use them in some other recipes? Thanks again🙏
I am glad that you tried this recipe Samiksha. I hope you enjoy the other ones too. Tomato sauce is very versatile. You can use it to make Indian curries, pasta sauce, quick pizza sauce, add to tomato soup for a robust flavor, add to minestrone, or chili.
This recipe is fantastic. It’s very flavorful. Tried it without the kafir leaves and replaced galanga with ginger. Lemon grass had a lot of fiber, next time I will make it’s paste first like in the recipe and then add other ingredients. thank you for such a great recipe. I will share with my friends.
thank you for this recipe. I am going to try it today. the only ingredient, I don’t have is Kefir leaves. I have been looking for these for the past few years, but no luck so far. Marina and Ranch Markets don’t carry it , In fact they look at me as if I am from another plant, they haven’t heard the name before :-(. I will substitute with lemon zest as you have suggested. If anyone has any luck in finding the Kefir leaves in the Bay Area, CA, please share.
I found kefir lime leaves in a nearby asian store.
Want to try out this recipe but unable to find kaffir lime leaves.. Can you please tell me which store in South Bay area can I look for it?
Hey Shrusti , don’t sweat on finding it. It can be easily substituted as suggested in the post. Any asian chinese grocery store will carry it.
Recipe is amazing ! But i have a query. Is there ate any substitite for lemon grass? Or can it be skipped ?
Thank you. It is readily available in leading departmental stores . Fresh as well as in tubes. If unavailable then use lemin zest and juice.. it won’t taste exact but quiet close
Turned out great. Made the curry.. yummy .. can’t wait to try other recipes. Thanks
Hi. Do you need to add shallots/ onions?
Yes .. Onions are easily available. If you do not consume it then feel free to skip it.
Can we use fresh red chillies instead of dried chillies
Yes , but heat and color will differ .
Thanks again .. Tried ur recipe today and loved it .. My husband liked it very much .. You are great ..
Welcome Sapna 🙂