This easy red curry paste is a foundation recipe for cooking better Thai food. Authentic, simple and cheap to make, once you have it on hand, it becomes a very simple process to make gourmet Thai recipes with very little effort on your part.
All you need is a mortar and pestle to pound up the ingredients and you are all set. Once prepared, you can freeze the paste in an ice cube tray and then you have this wonderful paste at your beck and call.
Today we kick off Thai curry week and what better way than this easy red curry paste? Tomorrow we will use this classic paste in a fantastic, Thai appetizer that goes way beyond spring rolls. On Thursday and Friday, we will conclude the week with Thailand’s most famous curry.
We also discuss the benefits of preparing your own basic pastes rather than buying something pre-prepared from a supermarket. It’s something we are very passionate about in our quest to eliminate food dyes, preservatives with strange names and other odd ingredients from our diet. Read on to find out more.
Home Made Foundation Items
One of life’s greatest pleasures for me is eliminating the purchase of pre-prepared food items from the supermarket and making my own instead. Coupled with a veggie garden you can be more in control of your diet. I admit I love cooking my own things and I find it a relaxing exercise.
I’m talking about sauces, pickles, bottled fruits and vegetables, sauerkraut, stocks and easy red curry pastes like this one. Once you have these basic items on hand you can easily make a quick meal that is generally tastier and much healthier than using store bought. Plus, you have the pleasure of knowing that you made it.
There are some very good, high quality, pre-prepared store-bought items out there but they are almost always expensive as they have used real ingredients. If the item is cheap and/or has a long shelf-life, then it is almost certainly containing ingredients I would be steering away from.
How so? I encourage you to read the labels properly on the back of pre-prepared items from the supermarkets. They are often high in salt or sugar, or contain mysterious sounding names. These are usually preservatives or, even worse, food dyes. The bottom line is if you don’t recognize a name or it contains ingredients with numbers then it is almost certainly not good for you.
World-wide labeling laws are a bit of a joke although some jurisdictions are better at it than others. Those laws are for the benefit of the big companies not for your health, dear reader.
Here is a great article about food production in the US. It has relevance for all countries and I encourage you to read it.
Often lack of time is quoted as being the main reason people buy pre-prepared goods. I think that is a furphy sometimes. Take this recipe for easy red curry paste. It’s 20 minutes of work for having a couple of months supply of high quality, red curry paste in your freezer. Or maybe an afternoon’s work for making 6 month’s supply of bottled tomatoes. Involve your family and kids and make a game of it. You never know they might enjoy it and it could be the start of great, new hobby for them! It’s also good for your family’s health.
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Easy Red Curry Paste
And so to our recipe for one of Thailand’s classic curry pastes. Red curry paste is milder than its more famous cousin, green curry paste. The heat rule for chilies is as follows:
- Long red chilies (mildest)
- Short red chilies (warmer)
- Long green chilies (warmer again)
- Short green chilies (hottest)
So today we are using dried, long, red chilies, with the seeds removed, so it is quite a mild chili paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use an electric food processor. If you have both use the mortar and pestle, you will achieve a better result.
Tomorrow we will publish possibly Thailand’s most renowned appetizer. authentic Thai fish cakes. A great recipe where you can use your easy red curry paste to great effect.
Become a subscriber to Compass and Fork and you can download the Asian Cooking Essentials guide. In it we have cataloged many of the Asian ingredients with a description of the item and a color picture to help you identify it. It covers Vietnamese and Thai ingredients. And you can find both Thai and Vietnamese recipes on the Compass & Fork website.
Some More South East Asian Dishes to Warm You Up
Looking for some more warm, South East Asian foods? If so, you might also enjoy these: