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Vegan Red Curry Paste (Prik Gaeng Phet) พริกแกงเผ็ด

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 unusual, but don't let it put you off. The addition is based on a recipe given to me by a restaurant outside of Chiang Mai, in the North of Thailand.
Cuisine: Thai


  • Pestle and mortar


  • 5 long red dried chillies
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 white peppercorns
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp + 1 teaspoon finely sliced lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped galangal
  • 1 tsp finely sliced kaffir lime rind
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped coriander root
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced shallot
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg ground (optional)


  • Slice the dried chilies open and remove the seeds. Cut into small chunks and soak in hot water until soft. Drain.
  • Toast the cumin and coriander seeds over medium heat by shaking them around in a pan for a minute or two until lightly toasted and fragrant. Grind to a powder with a pestle and mortar, along with the white peppercorns, then remove to a smaller bowl.
  • Pound the salt and soaked chilies to a paste in the mortar, followed by the lemongrass. 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 previously ground spices and nutmeg, if using.