Thai curries are not limited in scope to the variegated palette proffered by Thai restaurant menus outside of the kingdom’s borders. For instance there is no such single dish called red curry in Thai cuisine. The designation of red curry is instead unspecific and corresponds to a plethora of dishes made with the base ingredient of one of many kinds of curry paste with the inclusion of dried red chillies.
Nam prik kaeng kua is one type of red curry paste. For students of Thai cuisine it is arguably the most essential to learn because it is the foundation of other red curry pastes. Kaeng pet, panang, kari (yellow curry), and choo chee are just a few examples of Thai curries with pastes that contain the same base ingredients as kaeng kua.
🌶 Basic Vegan Thai red curry paste recipe
Nam prik kaeng kua – พริกแกงคั่ว
- 8 dried long red chillies
- 2 dried bird’s eye chillies
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup thinly sliced lemongrass
- 2 tablespoons chopped galangal
- 1 teaspoon kaffir lime zest
- 1 teaspoon chopped coriander root (3 grams)
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- ¼ cup chopped shallot
- 1 ½ teaspoons shrimp paste or Korean doenjang
- Slice the long dried chilies lengthways and remove the seeds. Cut into chunks and soak in warm water until soft.
- Pound the soaked chilies, dried bird’s eye chilies, and salt using a pestle and mortar until smooth. Add lemongrass and pound into a uniform smooth paste. Continue pounding each ingredient, one at a time, until smooth.
- Use immediately or store for up to a few weeks in the fridge (or you can freeze it for longer).
- Author: Kip Dorrell
- Cuisine: Thai