Fragrant Curry Paste

This is a good choice for an all-purpose curry paste recipe. If your fresh chiles are red, it'll be a red curry paste. If they're green, you'll get a green curry paste. The texture will depend on whether you're pounding the paste in a mortar and pestle or whizzing it in a food processor. If using a food processor, still adhere to the order the ingredients are added, just pulse together instead of pounding.


  • 6 dried Thai red chiles
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (or anchovy paste)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, tender part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 cup shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 5 serrano peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and coarsely chopped


  • Soak the chiles in warm water for 20 minutes, then drain. (Reserve liquid.) Discard stems and seeds, and coarsely chop chiles.
  • In a small skillet, toast coriander, cumin and peppercorns for 2-3 minutes, just until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt and pound until finely ground. Add shrimp paste to the skillet, and toast just until fragrant. Set aside.
  • Add soaked chiles to the mortar with another pinch of salt and pound to a paste.
  • Add lemongrass, ginger, cilantro and lime zest with another pinch of salt, and continue to pound to a paste.
  • Add shallot, serrano peppers and garlic to the mortar with another pinch of salt, and continue pound to a paste.
  • Pound in shrimp paste.
Makes 1-1/2 cups.
Note: This recipe makes enough curry paste to use for several dishes. Store it, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator for up to two months, or in the freezer for up to six months.
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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.

I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!



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