Homemade Massaman Curry Paste

Having recently attended a Thai Cooking school, I will be making a lot of Thai food. The course was 12 day course meant for serious amateurs or professional chefs, and taught me well over 100 dishes. In the next few weeks, I plan to post recipes of a few pf those, ones which I end up making at home. One of the surprises for me was how easy it is to make a homemade paste of many of the curries that I so far had been buying ready-made. Having tasted the difference side-by-side, I tend to agree with my teacher that homemade stuff is so much more tastier. I would whole-hearted recommend you to make a few of those pastes and keep them in your fridge for several months. Here is a first of those that I homemade-massaman-curry-paste-1homemade-massaman-curry-paste-2learnt how to make. Only cooking equipment you need for making this paste is mortar and pestle – stone ones. Using food processor or spice mixture just does not produce that smooth a paste or that good a taste.


1/4 cup large dried large chili (about 1/4 cup) – used for giving a red colour, mild hotness
1-3 deep-fried dried small red-hot chillies
1 tbsp. fresh lemongrass chopped finely
2 tsp fresh galangal chopped finely
2 tsp. shallots chopped finely
2 tsp. garlic chopped finely
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
3 cloves of cardamom
1 clove anise
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. salt


  1. Dried large red chili remove the seeds for a milder chili and cut into small pieces with a scissors and soak the pieces in hot water until soft about 20 minutes. Let drain until dry.
  2. Deep fry small dried red hot chilies pepper. Stir fry until fragrant about 20-30 seconds. Remove.
  3. Heat dry a pan or wok and put in the cumin seeds, anise, cardamom. clove, cinnamon stick and black pepper. Stir fry until fragrant. About 1 minute.
  4. Put all spices and salt in the mortar pound and grind to a powder.
  5. Add the chillies and pound to a smooth paste.
  6. Add the lemongrass and galangal, and pound some more.
  7. Add the shallots and garlic and pound again till smooth.

Unused portion – put that in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. Should keep for a long time.



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