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 learnt 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
- 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.
- Deep fry small dried red hot chilies pepper. Stir fry until fragrant about 20-30 seconds. Remove.
- 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.
- Put all spices and salt in the mortar pound and grind to a powder.
- Add the chillies and pound to a smooth paste.
- Add the lemongrass and galangal, and pound some more.
- 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.