Red curry paste (as all curry paste) is somewhat labor intensive because there is no adequate substitute for slow grinding with a mortar and pestle. Curry pastes do freeze well, however, so the slow grinding process isn’t necessary every time a dish calls for one. It’s worth making a large batch, freezing it in smaller quantities, and using it as needed.
Dried guajillo chiles are suggested here, but it’s worthwhile experimenting with different dried red chiles to come up with varying nuances and heat.
Shrimp paste, listed here as optional, is traditionally cooked in a skillet before it is combined with the other ingredients. To avoid an aroma that many Western cooks find unpleasant, do this in a well-ventilated kitchen, or simply add the shrimp paste to the curry without cooking it. (Some cooks wrap the shrimp paste in aluminum foil and toast it in a skillet so the aroma doesn’t escape.)
|guajillo or ancho chiles, about
|thai chiles, stemmed and seeded or serrano chiles, stemmed and seeded|
|peeled galangal, sliced
|garlic cloves, peeled|
|cilantro roots or cilantro stems, coarsely chopped|
|shrimp paste (optional)|
Copyright © 2017 by James Peterson. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.