How to Make Southern Thai Curry Paste (วิธีทำเครื่องแกงเผ็ดใต้)

The foundation of cooking Thai food is the curry paste. Here’s the full recipe for southern Thai curry paste:

WARNING: If you make this curry paste, you may want to use a glove. My hand did burn for a few hours afterward making it.

Thai curry pastes are used to cook so many different Thai dishes – you’ll find curry pastes used to make curries, stir fry dishes, and soups in Thai cuisine. I think curry pastes are one of my favorites things in the world, mainly because there is so much flavor packed into each and every curry paste. There are many different types of pastes available and used frequently in Thai cuisine, but this is a recipe for the southern style, which is one of my favorites. One of the major distinctions because southern Thai paste and others, is the usage of fresh turmeric which gives everything a beautiful orange color.

Let’s quickly go over the ingredients, and then I’ll just briefly explain the cooking process. But be sure to check out the full recipe (link above) to get all the details about how to cook this for yourself.

Here are the ingredients that you’ll need:
50 g. dried Thai bird chilies – a big handful
30 g. fresh Thai bird chilies – a smaller handful
50 g. garlic – it came to about 2 whole heads of garlic for me
50 g. turmeric – this is the real southern Thai flavor
50 g. galangal – I used about a 2 inch hunk in this video
25 g. shallots – Thai shallots are quite small from ones I’ve seen elsewhere, so be sure to measure out the amount by weight
5 stalks lemongrass – and like you’ll see in the video, throw away the outer few layers
½ kaffir lime – but only the peel of the lime
2 tbsp. dry peppercorns – I used whole peppercorns, but if you have pre-ground pepper already, that should be fine
½ tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. shrimp paste – this is going to give your Thai curry paste saltiness and super flavor

That’s all for the ingredients. For preparing the curry paste, all you really need to do is cut everything into small pieces, and start pounding away. Other than saving the shrimp paste for the very end, you can really add in the ingredients however you like and in whatever order you’d like. I normally like to begin with the dry chilies, as they are the bulkiest of all the ingredients, and then keep on adding as I go along. It could take a while to pound all the ingredients into a paste, for this recipe it took me about 1.5 hours, but you’re looking for a real buttery smooth and oily paste.

The reason to pound Thai curry paste by hand with a mortar and pestle is because when you really work the ingredients slowly, they fully release all their oil – which is where all that beautiful flavor resides. If you make southern Thai curry paste with a blender or food processor, the flavors won’t be as complex. But that being said, if you don’t have the time to pound by hand, this recipe will still taste great blended or processed.

Read the full recipe here:

Music in this video courtesy of Audio Network

This video recipe was made by Mark Wiens and Ying Wiens in Thailand
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Thank you again for watching this video recipe, I hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to give this videos a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Keep enjoying Thai food!

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