Red curry is not one single dish, nor is there a universal red curry paste. Personal preference and regional differences play a role in how a curry paste is made, and that isn’t even touching on variations of use to make a meal. Prik gaeng phet forms the base of the flavour profile most non-Thais associate with red curry, and is the type of red curry paste you are most likely to purchase in jars at the supermarket.
This is a straightforward recipe for a medium spiced home made red curry paste that is devoid of shrimp paste. For added heat, pop a few more chillies (especially dried red bird’s eyes) into the mix. If you can’t find coriander root then use stems.
Finding kaffir limes in the UK is difficult, but it is possible to source them dried and/or frozen. If you pound the paste by hand (see tips on making curry pastes), avoid managing to fling chilli into your eye like I did.
Vegan Red Curry Paste (Prik Gaeng Phet)
Red curry encompasses a huge range of dishes, but this is a good universal prik gaeng phet red curry paste. The addition of nutmeg may seem strange, but don’t let it put you off.
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped coriander root
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped galangal
- 5 long red dried chillies, de-seeded and soaked in warm water until soft
- 1 tsp finely sliced kaffir lime rind
- 1 tbsp + 1 teaspoon finely sliced lemongrass
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced shallot
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, ground
- pinch white pepper
- Toast the cumin and coriander seeds over medium heat by shaking them around in a pan for a minute or two until lightly browned and fragrant. Grind to a powder with a pestle and mortar, then remove to a smaller bowl.
- Pound the salt and garlic to a paste in the mortar, followed by the coriander root. Continue in the order of ingredients listed, ensuring each is pounded into a smooth paste before adding the next. Once the shallot has broken down into the paste, add the coriander, cumin, nutmeg, and white pepper.
- by Messy Vegan Cook
- Makes 1/4 cup
- Cuisine: Thai