How to make a Thai curry as good as a restaurant?

Thai Green Curry Paste


Answer – make the curry paste yourself! It’s so easy to do, don’t think you need to get all purist and make it in a mortar and pestle, ‘cos even the great David Thompson says a grinder or food processor is fine. This recipe make a paste that outshines anything you can buy, even the most expensive brand, and why?

Because it’s made with fresh herbs and freshly roasted spices and that can’t be duplicated in a jar. Traditionally in Thailand and in the very best restaurants, curry pastes are made to order, that’s why they taste so good. Now you can get that fabulous flavour too – with little more than a bit of chopping, some toasting and some whizzing!

This curry paste is best straight away, but will keep in the fridge, covered with a layer of oil, for two weeks. Best though is to freeze any remaining paste. It keeps really well frozen and is so lovely to have on hand. The extra oil covering will cook out when you use it, with this paste you can make pork, beef, chicken, vegetable/tofu or fish curries – my favourite is Salmon, that will be bursting with authentic Thai flavour!


Nam Prik Gaeng Khiaw           Makes about 1 cup


  • 10 medium green chillies, de-seeded
  • 4 small hot thai chillies (optional – for those who like it really hot!) de-seeded – careful with hands!
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 red asian shallots/ 1 red spanish onion
  • 2 kaffir limes, zested
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, peeled
  • 2 tb greater galangal (Kha in Thai) peeled & chopped
  • small handful chilli leaves, if you have a chilli plant (optional)
  • 6 coriander/cilantro plant roots + 3cm of stalk (if you can’t get roots, use stalks from a handful of coriander, about 5cm/3″long
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tb white peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp mace blades (substitute fresh grated nutmeg if unavailable)
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste ( known as kapi/trassi/blanchan)
  • 2 tsp salt


  1.  Wash herbs & chillies, wash coriander roots and stalks very well, as they are often very sandy. Peel/scrap off skin.
  2. Cut up and put into a blender.
  3. Dry roast the spices in a small frypan until fragrant, lightly golden.Cool and grind finely in a grinder.
  4. Wrap the shrimp paste/kapi in foil and dry roast 2 minutes on each side (will be smelly!)
  5. Add everything to the blender and add enough water to make a paste. Keep blending until paste is utterly smooth and no trace of fibres can be seen. If necessary add a little bit more water.
  6. Store in fridge in screw top jar, covered with a thin layer of oil or freeze excess.
  7. To use, (1) fry paste in a little oil until fragrant and oil separates before adding coconut milk and rest of your curry ingredients –  OR
  8. (2) Boil coconut milk to reduce by half, add paste and simmer until oil separates out of coconut milk and paste is fragrant. Add rest of curry as per recipe.

It’s up to you to use it in whatever Green Curry recipe you want – but my favourite is with fresh salmon – takes curry to a whole other level that is so luxurious and tastes so delicious. Enjoy!

PS If you want my Green Thai Curry recipe – just ask and I’ll add it on!