Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor – Thai Curry Pastes and #recipes

I hope you enjoy making these curry pastes All these recipes are authentic Thai recipes and very easy to make, most ingredients are available at most major stores or Asian shops around the world.

Thai Curry Pastes made from scratch.

Before we start Thai food is all about the TASTE those important flavours of sweet, sour, hot and salty so my advice always taste and taste again, start with less and taste you can always add you cannot take away.

I am lucky in that I can buy these pastes ready made from the local markets but I know only too well from when I lived in the UK that the ones I could buy were not quite the same and obviously have preservatives in them also Coconut milk always check that it is 100% as they are not always and will split when you cook your curry.

Once you have made these pastes from scratch and tasted the difference between store bought pastes you will never buy them again and apart from the Thai Mussamun curry paste they are quite quick to make.

Pad Thai Paste.


• 1 to 1.5 tbsp tamarind paste to taste
• ¼ of a cup of chicken stock
• 3 tbsp Fish Sauce
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• ½ 1 tsp of chilli sauce or 1/3 -3/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
• 1/8 tsp of ground white pepper
• 3-4 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar

Let’s Cook!

Place all ingredients in a cup and stir to dissolve both tamarind paste and sugar (note you will need lots of sugar to balance out the sourness of the tamarind). When taste-testing, keep in mind the following tips: In order to achieve the best results, your pad Thai sauce should taste sweet first, followed by spicy-salty and sour last.

Add more sugar if it tastes too sour to you, or add more chilli for more intense spiciness.

Also note that the sauce will taste almost too strong at this point, but once distributed throughout the noodles, the flavour will be perfect.

Your pad Thai sauce is now ready to be used, or store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Note: this recipe makes 2/3 cup Pad Thai Sauce (enough for 1 batch of Pad Thai, enough for 9 ounces of noodles to serve 2-4 people)

For an authentic pad Thai soak your noodles prior to cooking in sauce.

Next we have…

Thai Yellow Curry Paste.

This is the curry used to make my favourite Khao Soi Noodle Curry.


• 1/2 to 1 stalk lemongrass (minced)
• 1 to 2 yellow chillies (sliced)
• 2 shallots (sliced)
• 1 thumb-size piece of galangal (sliced)
• 4 cloves garlic
• 1 tsp coriander (ground)
• 1 tsp cumin (ground)
• 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• 1/2 tsp shrimp paste
• 3/4 tsp turmeric
• 1 large pinch of white pepper
• 2 tbsp brown sugar
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• 1 tbsp tomato puree
• 3 to 5 oz coconut milk


Place all ingredients in your food processor or blender. Add more coconut milk as needed to blend ingredients to a smooth paste or sauce.

This paste will store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Thai Green Curry

This famous fragrant Thai green curry is sweet and spicy with a touch of bitterness given by the eggplants. It’s virtually known and eaten all over the world but for a truly authentic taste I give you the recipe below.


• 1 tbsp coriander seeds
• 0.5 tbsp cumin seeds
• 1 tbsp white peppercorns
• 3 to 6 green bird-eye chillies (3 chillies for mild, 6 for spicy depending on your spice tolerance or preference.
• 3 tbsp finely chopped galangal
• 1.5 tsp finely chopped coriander root
• 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and stems
• 1 tbsp kaffir lime rind
• 2 lemongrass sticks, minced
• 4 cloves garlic
• 2 small shallots, minced
• 1 tsp shrimp paste


Using a mortar and pestle, grind the ingredients, adding them little by little into the mortar until you’ve achieved a smooth paste. If you don’t have a mortar, use a food processor (add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil if using a food processor).

This paste will keep in a sealed bag or container for at least 2/3 weeks.

Next we have Thai red curry…

The red curry paste is a base for many Thai dishes. It uses small dried red chillies, which means it is very hot. Thai Penang curry is used making this paste or it can be used in a stir fry or to make Thai spicy liver (which is very nice)

The recipe given is enough to use in a curry for 4 people.

If you like a milder curry (adjust) the amount of chillies used… For a medium spicy curry, use half of the chillies.

For just a bit spicy, use a quarter of the chillies (the other ingredients remain unchanged).


• 12 sm dried red chillies stems and seeds removed
• 1 tsp coriander seeds
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tsp white peppercorns
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 stalks lemon grass sliced finely
• 1.5cm galangal chopped
• 1 coriander root
• 4 shallots chopped
• 1 tsp Kaffir lime rind
• 1 tsp fermented shrimp paste.


Rehydrate the chillies in hot water for 10-15 minutes, drain, chop and put to one side.

Dry roast coriander, peppercorns, cumin seeds, garlic and shallots until the flavours are released. Put to one side.

Pound the peppercorn, coriander and cumin seeds and lastly the chillies.

When the mixture is smooth add the other ingredients a little at a time or it will be difficult to pound. Pound until smooth and then add the shrimp paste.

If not using immediately, store the curry paste in the fridge, covered by vegetable oil, to protect from oxidation. It can also be stored in the freezer as well, but first add vegetable oil into the paste and mix well

While red and green curry pastes require hard to find ingredients like kaffir lime zests, Mussamun curry paste’s ingredients are easy to find. Most ingredients are available at most grocery stores, especially at Indian markets or Asian stores around the world…

Thai Mussamun Curry Paste.

Compared to other Thai curries, the distinct characteristics of Massumun curry paste is that all ingredients are roasted prior to pounding/grinding. When all the spices are roasted and the aroma fills your kitchen, the real work begins: pounding. When you finally grind everything in your mortar, I promise you the wonderful fragrance from all the spices will fill your kitchen!


• 4 pods cardamom
• 2 inch piece cinnamon sticks
• 5 cloves
• 1 tbsp of coriander
• 1/3 tbsp cumin
• 4-6 dried whole chillies
• 1/2 inch piece julienne galangal
• 1 head garlic
• 1 stalk lemongrass
• 1/3 tbsp peppercorns
• 1 tbsp salt
• 3 shallots
• 1 tsp shrimp paste
• 1 Mace
• 1 Nutmeg


Grill or roast the garlic and the shallots with the skin on. Here in Thailand the garlic and shallots are buried in the ashes below the fire in the charcoal grill. They are then roasted until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft and cooked. This takes 5-10 minutes depending on the method you use. If you haven’t got the BBQ on then you can put them directly over the gas flame and char them that way.

Once they are cooled, then peel the skin and remove any charred spots.

Tear the chilli stems off and remove the seeds. Cut or tear the chillies into big pieces.

Slice the galangal and julienne. Slice the lemongrass thinly. You will only require about half the stalk and use the softer white piece closer to the root.

In a pan over a medium heat, toast the chillies and the lemongrass until slightly browned 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the pan and set to one side and add the remainder of the spices except for the garlic and shallots and toast tem by moving them around the pan or they will burn…roast until they are fragrant about 2 minutes . Remove the spices from the heat.

Start by grinding the chilli peppers with the salt when roughly ground then add the lemongrass. Pound until the lemongrass is roughly ground add all the other spices except for the roast garlic and shallots. Pound until well blended, this can take up to 30 minutes depending on how strong your arms are and the size of your pestle and mortar…Add the roasted garlic and shallots pound until smooth. Lastly add the shrimp paste and pound.
Mussamun Curry Paste should be dark red from the roasted ingredients.

This paste will keep in the fridge for about a month and a year in the freezer.

I hope you have enjoyed these curry recipes and I will let you into a little secret if I make the Mussamun I use my blender.

Obviously in the villages they don’t have the mod cons and are all hand ground, lovely and fragrant.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and let us know if you make the pastes as we love to hear your comments.

Curry made from scratch has so much more of an authentic aroma and flavour and as Carol had demonstrated the pastes can be kept for quite a long time. Impress your family and friends….

The other posts in the series can be found in this directory:

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol


If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:

Thank you for dropping in today and Carol would be delighted to answer any of your questions and we always enjoy your feedback. Thanks Sally