Jungle Curry Paste

Prik Kaeng Bpa

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    ¾ cup

    pounded, slightly more if blended

Appears in

Krachai, a rhizome with oddly attractive appendages lends this curry paste a heady aroma. Notice how simple this curry paste is: no cilantro roots or dried chilies. It is most similar to green curry paste, which could be substituted for it in a pinch.

Ingredients

  • 6 small Thai bird, green chilies
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed and sliced very thin, about 1/16 inch (.1 cm.)
  • 1 Tbsp. Finely grated galangal
  • 1 Tbsp. Chopped Krachai
  • 1 medium Long green chili or other hot green chili
  • 3 small Shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. Thai shrimp paste (gkapi), toasted

Method

Make the Curry Paste

  1. Using a Mortar: Begin by pounding bird chilies and salt; pound until semi-smooth. Add lemongrass, galangal, krachai; pound until lemongrass disintegrates. Add garlic, shallots, and green chilies; pound until a smooth even curry paste is achieved. Pound in toasted shrimp paste. (See for more on using a mortar and pestle.)

    Using a blender: Place following ingredients into the blender vessel this order: shallots, garlic, both types of fresh chilies, salt, and; add ¼ cup water. Puree until semismooth, scraping sides down often to stir in stray bits. BE PATIENT, resist adding more water than needed to make it puree faster. Add lemongrass, galangal, krachai, and shrimp paste. Grind until very smooth.

  2. Transfer to container; press a small swatch of plastic wrap on surface to store in refrigerator. The fresher it’s used, the better, but it keeps for up to one month.